Blocks: They are alive in name only. They can’t move, talk, or do anything voluntarily. They have no significant brain activity. Within a short period of time every human pregnancy produces a Block. The population ages and no normal children are born to replace them.
“That’s how the world (at least as man sees it) will end. Not with armies conquering other nations, not with race wars or religious wars, but with people who can’t love or wish, people who can’t give you a hug when you need it, can’t offer advice when called upon. These silent masses will continue to age until the last generation of regular adults gets too old to take care of them, and then everyone will just fade away.”
Needless to say this is a really break (albeit thought provoking) premise and I felt the sadness and hopelessness of the narrator, as he cares for his totally dependent Block brother, Andrew, on a visceral level. This is no doubt due to the superb writing.
The story is told as journal entries written by Andrew’s brother. He constantly worries what will happen to Andrew if he outlives him. With no one to feed him Andrew will starve to death. The narrator watches as his neighborhood empties out with people going south. He wishes they had gone with them, but now it is too late and they are the last residents in Camelot.
The book reminded me a bit of The Last Policeman, in the sense that he keeps going (because it is the only thing to do) despite the imminent end of the world.