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4.3 out of 5 stars32
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 2 September 2008
I remember this series from the 70s though only got round to seeing it all last year (I only saw a few episodes originally as it was always bed-time!) The book follows the first series quite closely until about two thirds of the way though when it suddenly follows a new tack. Apparently this is the way Terry Nation would have liked the TV series to go but creative differences took over.

It's certainly a page turner and has you thinking how things would be these days if something similar happened. Ideal material for relaxing by the pool on holiday but probably not for the more sensitive reader. Gritty realism is the order of the day and the twist at the end is truly gut-wrenching.
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I never saw the original 1970s TV series, but enjoyed the 2008 version and thought I'd check this out. I'm glad I did.

Rather than being just a tie-in novel to a TV series, this is a great post-apocalyptic survival story in its own right, on a par with (and in some ways with a lot in common with) other classics like "Day Of The Triffids" or "The Last Man".

The characters are rich and believable, and the problems the 'team' face in trying to regress to an electricity-less, telephone-less, leader-less society are strong issues that are just as important as they were 30 years ago, if not more so.

The speed of the story increases almost exponentially- the first half of the book covers only a few weeks' action (and is closely mirrored by both the 70s and 00s TV series), but then it steps into a different gear and before you know it, three years then five years have gone by. In this way the story stays gripping throughout.

Even if you haven't seen or didn't enjoy the TV series, treat this as a great sci-fi novel in its own right, and have a read.
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on 10 December 2008
If you're following the BBC remake series of Survivors it's worth being aware that the Terry Nation Novel has more in common with the 1970s original.

That said, the remade series, (though following similar storylines), is a poor imitation of the original, and the book, (of which both series are based),is again much better and darker than either television adaptations.

In short ... read the book ... (it's very good), but understand it only has passing similarities to the series most current on BBC 1.
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on 8 January 2009
I have really enjoyed this book...it is relevant, thought provoking and well written. It is very stimulating and I kept thinking about issues it raised it long after I read it.I am going to try and enjoy all the luxuries that we take for granted and might get round to trying some gardening!!...just in case I ever need to survive!!! Can't wait to let my son read this...
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on 29 January 2009
This is the original story devised by the original TV series creator. The basic premise is the same rich seam of thought-provoking "what if's", but the plot differs from both the 1970's TV series and the 2008 one (which also differ from one another).
The focus is significantly darker(not least in the shock-ending) than either TV series. Having enjoyed both of those I found this an interesting insight into the original thoughts behind the series as well as a gripping yarn in its own right.
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on 31 January 2013
Terry Nation, a writer to whom the medium of television owes an incalculable debt, presents us with the novelized version of his mid-to-late 1970's TV series, "Survivors" Free of the strictures of broadcast standards or budgetary concerns, Nation is able to re-imagine "Survivors" as a down-and-dirty, nihilistic tale using a better-then-workmanlike style occasionally buttressed by some nice turns of phrase.

In both the 70's and 2000's versions of the television series, we see our heroes building a communal life together while forming a warm, caring human community amidst the calamitous, chaotic aftermath of a global pandemic. They wander about the depopulated landscape, they come together, they form agricultural communities based upon farming and trading while meeting each crises with fortitude and ingenuity. Nation's novel dispenses with such pleasantries, instead depicting these very same characters within in a much bleaker context as they struggle to eke out a barely adequate sustenance existence with precious little time for anything beyond basic survival. In the novel's universe, self interest governs all as nature engulfs the ruins of civilization and legions of unburied corpses rot where they fell. This desolate post-plague landscape is dotted with scattered groups of survivors, none of whom ever come together in any really meaningful way, as they did in the series. Furthermore, the dictatorial National Unity Front -- never truly established as a concrete threat in the series -- comes to the fore as an intrusive, lingering menace not merely to progress, but to life itself.

Despite Nation's seeming detachment from the material, the book is not without human interest. Although short-changed on character development, Abby Grant, Jenny Richards and Greg Preston are much as they appeared on TV, while drifter Tom Price is portrayed with a soupcon more dignity to assuage his shifty, parsimonious nature.

The ending, however, is an unbelievably nasty affair.

"Survivors", the novel, is worth reading as an alternate take on the dark directions in which Nation might've taken the series had he been given a free hand. If possible, snag a copy of the long out-of-print sequel, "Survivors: Genesis of a Hero", since it completes this alternate "Survivors" saga in a much more satisfactory way than this standalone reprint can provide.
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on 3 November 2012
Ok, so I read this book AFTER watching the 2008 BBC series. Loved the series by the way (except the ending, grrrrr) and with all the positive reviews really looked forward to getting stuck into the book. I wasn't disappointed. The book is very different to the telly show from 2008. Different characters, different story lines, different timeline and wow, the ending. Didn't see that one coming. But it worked. It needed that really sharp jolt to 'end' it. But therein lies the rub. See, I don't think the novel has ended. It really could have run to another volume (what happens afterwards etc) and I felt real disappointment that when I closed the book I wouldn't hear from Greg, Jenny etc ever again.The last line of the book could have provided a springboard for Survivors Vol 2. Hence the 4 stars. It read 'short' to me, it read a bit slack on detail and i felt the characters weren't quite as rounded as they could've been. They are only small niggles though. The detail for when society breaks down, now that really caught my imagination. And the theorizing about going back to caveman living, society being forced to return to its agrarian roots, really provided me with food for though. One of the most descriptive and though provoking sections in the book is when Terry Nation describes the roads breaking up and being literally eaten alive by young trees and vegetation, how the team made candles and creating moats for defense.
Read it in about 4 days. I do recommend this book and those who love apocalyptic fiction that is incredibly easy to read, won't be disappointed.
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on 5 February 2009
I read this book in a day - it was such an easy read with a gripping story line. It is different from the TV drama, and not only because the book's setting is back in the 70s before the mass take up of technology, but because it covers a longer time period and there is no conspiracy with people in white coats studying the disease. The book is much more prosaic dealing with the real issues of survival when everything we've known has gone!
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on 10 November 2008
Terry Nation was very critical of the direction the TV series took, and if you read this you can see why. No cosiness, fashion, optimism. A bleak & grim book, not for the suicidally depressive! An existentialist novel of how people reacted positively to the end of the world, with am absurdist end. (How did they react to that? We don't know.) Despite this being one of my fave teenage books, mind you I have caveats. Before SURVIVORS I was a huge fan of John Wyndham, esp. THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS. Survivors is perhaps too reminiscent of Wyndham, although it removes all the beauty & hope. See what happened when both Josella & Jenny leave London? They both find a car with its doors unlocked! And if they don't leave London, "there will be typhoid, cholera and God knows what" - identical plagiarism! And Dr. Emerson's talk to Abby about learning the old crafts & skills is a copy of a speech by Coker! Both books end up with the survivors fleeing ths mainland due to some dodgy, paramilitary organisation. They may both be accused of Cold War propagandism, although SURVIVORS may make a jibe at Arthur Scargill! On the other hand, Wyndham was not the first to write a post-apocolyptic novel. e.g., Earth Abides. You can see that both Wyndham & Nation were influenced by H.G.Wells, too, except I think it's fair to accuse Terry Nation of plagiarism of John Wyndham's work.
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on 27 December 2013
Anyone who has watched the 1975 Survivor series first few episodes will instantly recognise the story although certain minor details were changed for the TV scenes. As ever the juxtaposition of normality with a pandemic is very well done and slowly creeps up on the Survivors. An excellant book, very easy to read.
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