Disturbing satire by the Australian writer Kenneth Cook. It's a very, very short book, almost picture book in length, but very poignant, funny and ironic. The ending, as well, is quite, quite frightening despite its vagueness.

The year is 2000, and God, on a whim, decides to destroy life on Earth, covering the Earth in a layer of ice a few feet thick. In his haste, he leaves a small valley town and two mice. These two mice find a TV station, radio station, car factory and other remnants of the human inhabitants, and decide to reproduce. These newborn mice reproduce, and eventually the first male mouse (learned from Encyclopedia Britannica, the Bible and back issues of the New York Times) sets up a council to oversee the running of the valley. It is not long before the council hits a major problem-population. Within a few years, there will be no space and a lot of problems. Thus, the first mouse sets out to find some population controls. A "headmaster", Logimus, recommends abstinence but this sensible, normal plan is laughed at. Instead, the mice learn methods of killing from the works of man, with their naiivity showing through-firstly comes war, then comes the motor car, then forced consumption of cigarettes and alcohol (and indirectly, air pollution). Along the way, "megadeaths" are mooted-in other words nuclear weapons, but are rejected (because, well, everyone would die). But none of these controls prove effective, and so a terrifying Final Solution is enacted. For the record, we never see it, only Logimus's pained reaction to it.

This is a short read (it took me an hour with my patented method of Skim Reading The Dull Bits) but well worth it. The book has many points to make-Logimus, the sole voice of sanity, is repeatedly ignored in favour of schemes which require less effort or self control (i.e recklessly killing things with a car). The mice see war and the car only as a way of controlling the population-from what we left behind, they can see, in their child like innocence, that there is no other use for it. Indeed, this book (written in the late 70s) has a very bleak outlook.

This is the Dr Strangelove of the book world - biting, moralistic and full of black humour- and I strongly suggest that it, and its core message, is read by all.

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