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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
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...
Published on 2 Jan 2008 by H

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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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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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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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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blind Faith or a law to share everything, 29 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Blind Faith (Paperback)
Excellent book! Easy to read, with a suprising ending. Makes you think about our addiction to share everything on certain social networks.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Steamy Windows or NesTea Whopper?, 10 Feb 2013
By 
P Newman "from the pen of pgn!" (Derry, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Blind Faith (Kindle Edition)
Trafford Sewell has a secret. Actually, that is only one of his secrets. In a post-diluvian London, flooded circa 2029 - give or take - things have changed. Space is at a premium; most of London is covered in water, leaving buildings like St. Paul's Cathedral exposed from the cupola-up (known by Trafford's contemporaries as "The Booby"). Religion has a new face in "the Temple", with Confessors and Inquisitors, ranked as Brothers or Bishops in either case, and total faith in The Lord and The Love, or Jesus and Diana. Everything, yes everything, is a matter of public knowledge - get married, have a baby: post the birthing video on a blog for all to see; no blog, your Confessor will want to know why. The marriage video, the wedding night - all gets posted, in gory detail. Marriages are cursory affairs, 2 years being the average "good run" before husband and wife separate and find other opposite-sex partners with whom to pair up.

Everything has to be "bigged up" - breast enhancements are the norm, and the tropical heat in the malarial swamp that makes up parts of London means the normal mode of dress is nothing plus a G-string. As a child grows, the youngster is entitled to be "enhanced" to become attractive - breast enlargement is the norm for girls, it would seem, and woe betide any parent who denies their child the opportunity... assuming the child makes it out of infancy, let alone into to puberty.

Some of the practices from Before The Flood (BTF) have been shunned - immunization is a sin, so a child is lucky to make it through the normal childhood ailments: mumps, measles, and the like have become killers. And the mourning for a lost child, so frequent an occurrence as mini-epidemics ravage the densely-populated tenement blocks, is also so public. Vaccinators are an undercurrent, sought out and forced to confess, reviled as poisoners and abusers of little children. Science and Reason don't get a look-in.

Books exist, but none of the material from BTF is legal; self-help and self-exposure are really the only topics that make it into print. Consumerism rules - everyone is eating, all the time, whilst watching or being watched by anyone else, all the time. Visiscreens are everywhere, and anyone can put anything on those screens, using the omnipresent communitainers, video-enabled personal communicator and entertainment devices. Chicken and sweeteners seem to pervade; trying to drink or eat something without sugar in it is almost unheard-of.

Work happens, but from the tiny, cramped, one- or two-roomed apartments that house mother, father and any outcome of the public sexual coupling that is demanded of a couple in such a steady relationship. One day a week is Fizzy Coff day - brave the masses using public transport to get, eventually, to an office where Gr'ugs, praise and doughnuts start the day - common sharing of The Lord and The Love, and for anyone who does not partake, the public branding of "Weirdo" soon follows... to be the focus of a Confessor for such a misdemeanour is not a comfortable position in which to be. Political correctness gone mad would be an adequate description! Office bullying is a group event - and woe betide anyone who even so much as glances wrongly at another, for group retribution is swift and definitive.

Wholesome names, like Gucci KitKat or Princess Lovebud or Cresta Fiesta, are the norm. These wholesome names very often have the wholesome physique to match, as a proper meal in a proper high-class eating establishment like McDonalds is supersized par-excellence. The heaving crowd being squeezed, inch by fleshy inch, onto the overcrowded transports still running on the Underground system (yes, it remains operational!) is always eating - put a foot wrong and a partly-eaten chicken drumstick or a surgically-enhanced mammary could very easily end up smeared across your cheek...

I found the book to be a gripping read, but a bit depressing in an exaggerated sort of way. Trafford, his wife Chantorria, their daughter Caitlin Happymeal, their Confessor and the interactions between them and the people in their apartment block or Trafford's office in the DepSeg section of NatDet - the huge databank of everyone's most intimate and inconsequential details - become a little tedious. The light which Elton throws on some of the litigious practices today is cast in sharp relief in this story of the mundane and the hum-drum in post-global-warming London. Gross revulsion follows a meagre snippet of exhibitionist titillation, and no single character really shows any depth. That, perhaps, is part of the novel's appeal - are we so interested in what others think that we never develop our own persona? Is this a future that could have piqued Orwell's interest? Read it, certainly, but don't buy into it - I got mine from the local public library, and that's where it rightfully belongs.

Revised Feb-2013 for Amazon.co.uk, from the author's original review posted elsewhere (c) Jan-2009
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ok read, 30 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Blind Faith (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed this book. Its different however had a political message that talks to the current hedonistic lifestyle people pursue. I wouldn't call it blind faith as faith in evolution is equally blind and science the new temple.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should appear on the secondary school syllabus, 2 Jun 2012
This review is from: Blind Faith (Hardcover)
Every century should have its dystopian novel. The 21st century now has its. Addressing the very issues which are eroding the accomplishments of civilization, Elton's novel is a searing insight into the future of 'dumbed down' Britain. My only slight unease is the acceptance of the Global Warming faith. (No, I'm not a denier -climate change seems a strong possibility- but the science for global warming is beginning to resemble a religion in which doubters are pillioried rather than countered with fact.) If the book has a weakness then it lies in failing to note that faiths can arise over secular issues also.

Nonetheless, this is a book that should act as an antedote to the rising swarm of ignorance. Aside from that it's also a damn good read!
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