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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Enjoyable than You Might Expect
I thought in recent novels that Ben Elton has gone off the boil somewhat, so I was pleasantly surprised to find another biting satire on life and the universe.

Mind you getting through the jacket blurb as a bit like wading through porridge. "Ben Elton's dark, savagely comic novel imagines a post-apocalyptic society" and that's enough to put you off for...
Published on 2 July 2008 by Mr. Peter Steward

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a dark, dark dystopian satire
Purely by chance, I read this novel shortly after completing The Book Of Dave by Will Self. Both novels use an imagined dystopian future England, decimated after severe flooding covers half the country, for a satire about the state of the nation today. As both novels appeared around the same time, this is clearly a coincidence; both Self and Elton aim at many of the same...
Published on 11 Aug 2008 by Amazon Customer


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a dark, dark dystopian satire, 11 Aug 2008
By 
Amazon Customer (cheltenham, england) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blind Faith (Paperback)
Purely by chance, I read this novel shortly after completing The Book Of Dave by Will Self. Both novels use an imagined dystopian future England, decimated after severe flooding covers half the country, for a satire about the state of the nation today. As both novels appeared around the same time, this is clearly a coincidence; both Self and Elton aim at many of the same targets, but while Self's satire is like the point of a dagger skilfully skewering his targets, Ben Elton prefers the repeated hammering over the head with a blunt instrument.

Not that there is anything wrong with this. Elton has addressed the vacuousness of modern life before, and he doesn't spare his anger here. Ben Elton, like Will Self, sets his aim squarely at religious dogmatism. He is clearly horrified by the rise in creationism in the USA, which is starting to make its presence felt in the UK, and takes this to its logical conclusion, where science and rationality are rejected in favour of the titular 'blind faith' and a 'me' culture.

The first thing you should know about this novel is that it isn't funny. At all. Anyone familiar with Ben Elton's work will know that he uses comic situations to address serious issues; there is precious little to laugh about in Blind Faith, just a growing horror as the fast-paced plot drags you in.

It is about 100 years in the future. After a flood, Britain has become a much smaller country. People not only live and work in extraordinary proximity to one another, but are ruled by a religious fanaticism where privacy is frowned upon and belief in evolution- in reason of any kind- is banned. Furthermore, every aspect of one's life is required to be posted online. But Trafford, our protagonist, has the makings of a dangerous subversive- he has a secret.

The plot similarity to 1984 is obvious, and Elton doesn't try to hide it, namechecking Orwell's work more than once. This is not a problem for me; the updating for a modern world is perfect, each target bringing a knowing nod from the reader. Ultimately, the despair in the story is equal to anything Orwell could think up; Elton does show us a chink of light at the close, but be warned it arrives at the end of a very long, dark tunnel.

As always with Elton, Blind Faith is a well-plotted easy read. However, for me the jaunty tone of the early chapters sits uneasily with the dark and cruel nature of the concluding section and as such I would not place it amongst his best work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Enjoyable than You Might Expect, 2 July 2008
By 
Mr. Peter Steward "petersteward" (Norwich, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Blind Faith (Paperback)
I thought in recent novels that Ben Elton has gone off the boil somewhat, so I was pleasantly surprised to find another biting satire on life and the universe.

Mind you getting through the jacket blurb as a bit like wading through porridge. "Ben Elton's dark, savagely comic novel imagines a post-apocalyptic society" and that's enough to put you off for starters. My initial thought was "oh no not another 1984 rip off."

Thankfully Elton stretched the bounds of 1984 with some delicious black humour and a wicked ending that brings no real surprises but certainly makes you think about inclusive and exclusive societies. Basically Elton's world occurs after the second great flood when the world (and in this case London) is celebrity and sexually obsessive - so much so that a decree goes out that everyone is famous. It is very much a 21st century view of the future.

The central character doesn't want to conform and sets out to find like minds - people who can think for themselves as opposed to the current Big Brother generation of vacuous me generation self obsessed youngsters.
We meet Cassius who is employed simply to keep up the government's targets for eliminating age discrimination Then Elton has the following to say about the internet "The internet was supposed to liberate knowledge, but in fact it buried it, first under a vast sewer of ignorance, laziness, bigotry, superstition and filth and then beneath the cloak of political surveillance."

In Elton's grave new world virtually everything that happens to a citizen is shared with everyone else through blogs, vids and other electronic means. Nothing is secret. But of course underneath it all lurks squalor and corruption. The thirst for knowledge backfires. And really anybody who uses the internet could be already part of this frightening concept (myself included).

This book is an enjoyable vision of a strange world that hopefully will never exist but at least it's more entertaining than the usual apocalypse fodder from authors that take themselves far too seriously.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fundamentalism taken to the ultimate conclusion, 2 Jan 2008
By 
H "H" (Ancient kingdom of Northumbria) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blind Faith (Hardcover)
Many of the other reviewers have compared this book with Orwell's 1984 and without a doubt there are parallels. But what Elton also brings into play is an analysis of the current rise of religious fundamentalism and its rejection of science and logic. As well as being set in a post apocalypse police state this novel is also set in a world that has reverted to the dark ages where science is outlawed and faith is all that is to be believed.

A preview of a post global-warming world. The possible conclusion of today's FaceBook/You Tube and reality TV fixation. And a total denunciation of the mindlessness of reactionary religion. All in an easy to read and fast paced novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good points, but far too derivative ., 15 Mar 2008
By 
A. Miles (Al Khor, Qatar) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Blind Faith (Hardcover)
The world is going to hell in a handbasket, of course - Our government gets more totalitarian and manipulative by the day, the ecology destroyed way past saving - and instead of worrying about this, we write trivial nonsense about ourselves on our blogs, obsess over inconsequential reality shows, continue to consume vast amounts of electronic crap. Elton nails our social ills accurately - the pointless government jobs so many of us do, focus-group government, the obsession with public demonstrations of grief, the decline in public manners. However, he really comes unstuck when trying to shoehorn all these issues into the good old post-apocalyptic dystopia. His post-global warming London has absolutely nothing new to offer, lifting themes and plots wholesale from a raft of science fiction classics - The plot is a mixture of '1984' and 'Farenheit 411', The descriptions of London living lifted from 'Make Room, Make Room' and 'The Machine Stops', etc. etc.

I'm presuming Elton thinks you haven't read any of these, which brings up my main criticsm of him as an author - his books constantly rail against the dumbing down of the culture: however, with books like this, he isn't really aiming too high himself. There are no original ideas whatsoever here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars YAHOO, 3 Jan 2008
By 
Dave (Holmfirth, Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Blind Faith (Hardcover)
This (surely conscious) retelling of Orwell's 1984 strikes me as different to most of Elton's other novels. Firstly it is not funny, and though this author has never been notable for his subtlety he has previously displayed a talent for drawing sympathetic characters that softens the undoubted anger of his satires and makes them a pleasure to read.
If anything this book is bleaker than it's famously bleak prototype. If Orwell sees hope in his downtrodden and brutalised proles Elton seems to view their bigged up sexualised cousins with nothing less than open disgust. These characters are Swiftian Yahoos and as such are profoundly depressing, for the first time one senses a streak of genuine misanthropy and it is not at all attractive.
This may well be a good book, it probably deserves a second reading, just don't buy it if you want a good laugh.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Blind Faith, Ben Elton - A bit of a mish mash, 12 Oct 2009
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Blind Faith (Paperback)
The release of the latest Ben Elton is always an eagerly awaited event in our house. And, as this book tackles some of my own pet hates, religion and the CCTV society, I was really looking forward to this. However it was a bit of a letdown.

One of Elton's strengths has always been his originality. This seems to have deserted him here. It felt very much like a cross between 1984 and Logan's Run with more swearing and black humour. I found the characters unengaging and the whole thing a little bland, not as replete with the visceral wit as his past works.

Having said that, it was an OK read and engaging enough that I managed to finish it. It just didn't hit the same heights as previous works. I'd recommend you go to `Dead Famous' or `First Casualty' instead.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Keep The Faith, 21 Feb 2014
This review is from: Blind Faith (Kindle Edition)
Blind Faith is set in the future, sometime after a flood came and wiped out half of humanity. Since then civilisation has been rebuilt upon a landscape of religious insanity. The rules at some point have been rewritten so that England is now being run by a collection of lunatic preachers who believe that everything happens for a reason--GOD'S reason. And everybody else believes that, too, because if they don't believe it they'll be killed. But not just that--their beliefs and interpretation of The Bible are ridiculous, and they've somehow managed to implement a law which compels people to be open about everything. Privacy is a sin. People have to blog their entire life, and upload videos of their babies being born, or their cherry getting popped, or their christening, or whatever. Their whole life should be uploaded onto their Face Space page (an amalgamation of Facebook and MySpace, I presume). Also, all their videos have to be put onto the WorldTube.

Anyway, so there's a man, our main man, who dares to defy this and be a heretic (although not openly; he is trying to stay off the government's murderous radar for fear of being burned at the stake as God would want), a man who merely wants to have some private thoughts every now and then. Maybe have sex with his wife without half the world watching. So the story's told from his perspective, and I guess Ben Elton is mocking not just overly religious people who believe that every single thing that happens is because God made it happen, but also the inconsistencies of religion, and our Facebook culture, in which everybody uploads their life story complete with pictures on the net for everybody to see. He's taken what we're like now and just stretched it to the extreme.

And it works.

Humorous, ironic, thought provoking, and with way more depth than some of his previous efforts such as Dead Famous (a straightforward satire of a reality show). However, humour aside, Blind Faith also has a dark undertone running through it, and shares similar themes to Stephen King's Running Man, which was also a satire of reality TV and what the future could become.

Anyway, there's a strong central character, a few twists, all the scenes are written well--Ben Elton has polished his prose to almost perfection; the scenes are tightly written and lean--and the dialogue is nice as well (especially the mocking dialogue which involves the word "babes" being thrown around like a tampon in a Stephen King novel).

He's a great writer, and that's the truth of it.

So read the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Oh Brave New(ish) World, 26 Dec 2012
This review is from: Blind Faith (Paperback)
When God gave out "subtlety" Ben was at the end of the queue. However, he didn't have to wait long at the "cynicism" line, and he uses both to maximum effect in "Blind Faith". Elton sets this book in the future so that he can take a swipe, or a sledgehammer, at the way our current society is going. He invents a world that takes Orwell's 1984, crosses it with Big Brother (TV version), Jerry Springer, the Evangelical Right, the X Factor, our fast food culture, the self-help industry....you name a small annoyance in our current shallow and vacuous Western World and Elton pours bile and scorn over the lot if it. And entertaining it is too, but it's a bit of a Curate's Egg. It's not difficult to believe that in the near future the Virgin Mary will be replaced by Lady Diana in the religious canon, nor that parents will name their kids something like Caitlain Happymeal, but the relentless succession of such constructs begins to irritate after a while. So does his portrayal of the rebellion against this society. Guess what? Intelligent people like real books, revere science above religion, hate mindless television and prefer solitary reflection to the crush of crowd.
If you're thinking of reading this, then you probably know what to expect from the author. Ben Elton, it seems to me, would like to write a modern day "Crime and Punishment" or "Brave New World" but just wouldn't be able to resist slipping in a few fart and knob gags. He also lays on his message with a trowel, and it's a trowel the size of a football pitch. If you can forgive him this, then you'll enjoy "Blind Faith".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could do better..., 2 Dec 2008
This review is from: Blind Faith (Paperback)
The world that this book occupies is such a stereotype that its hard not to find it ridiculous. I get the point he's making, that we're not so far from that reality, but the truth is we are a million miles from bishops wearing hotpants!

I felt it was a disappointing re-write of 1984.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, Thought-provoking, and Brave., 29 Dec 2007
By 
Dave Thompson (Shoreham-by-Sea, England.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Blind Faith (Hardcover)
In his latest novel, Ben Elton sticks his neck out as fearlessly as if he was The Lernaean Hydra on the cusp of a beheading by Islamic extremists who have `blind faith'. Well, almost as fearlessly, because instead of attacking the bigotry of Islamic fundamentalism by name, Elton cleverly bundles all religious bigotry together into an intolerant, New Age Christianity in which Princess Diana rules heaven beside Jesus and the Virgin Mary. He doesn't mention that other God who's Great, compassionate, and merciful. This is very wise, as it increases Elton's chance of staying alive to write more novels.

`Blind Faith' uses Orwell's `Nineteen Eighty-Four' as a launch pad into a future in which people with aesthetic sensibilities have been replaced by fat uneducated Chavs with an overdeveloped sense of their right to consume. The Church has as much power in the water-logged Britain of the future, as radical Islam has in present-day Iran. The difference is that instead of being whipped for showing an ankle in public, women are expected to expose their bodies as an expression of their spirituality - and to show off their tattoos.

Elton takes current issues such as hypocrisy over paedophilia, obesity, and childhood inoculations, and imagines them taken to extremes. The result is a society in which all food contains sugar, and if you don't upload porn videos of yourself onto the net, you're depraved. The book is a hilarious satire in which the stupidity of denying education and rational argument is exposed, whilst elegantly mocking the superficial, fame-obsessed culture that results. As well as making us laugh, Elton scares us in two ways. Firstly by pointing further along the path we walk, and showing us the place we're going to. Secondly by reflecting us when we least expect it, so we can see how far we've already come. Just as I'm laughing at the way people I see as `them' are portrayed, I come across an equally poignant passage that describes my failings perfectly. I swallow my pride and admit "It's a fair cop, Ben. I'm a wanker too." `Blind Faith' presents us with a future that is worse than today. Ironically, it will be the future when Ben Elton is given the appreciation he deserves (but doesn't get) today. He's compassionate, he's merciful, and a he's great writer!
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Blind Faith
Blind Faith by Ben Elton (Paperback - 16 May 2008)
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