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3.6 out of 5 stars
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3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 21 May 2016
I read this about 8 years ago and was blown away by it. 1984 2.0 and bored everyone stiff, even buying a copy for our high church parish priest who dismissed it as atheist tosh (he would wouldnt he!)

I've just seen a Facebook post by an old old friend. An old hippy if ever there was one who has since married and divorced and had break downs on every continent and tonight announced she was unfriending people she didn't like enough.

The irony. I thought she'd unfriended me years ago.

This book is a book of our time. Now as then.

The only thing that seems to our people off is the authors name sominrately reveal it until the end of my pitch.

I've enjoyed just about every Ben Wlton book which continue to be poignant, entertaining and unput downable commentaries of our troubled times.

This book is no exception.
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on 14 August 2017
Brilliant book, it could in fact, have been describing today's world
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on 31 March 2008
Not many words but most of them are placed in the right order.
Elton's book bangs on about the dumbing down of culture - ironic since this is not high-brow literature. Most of the targets he lines up are obvious and this time disappointingly few laughs.
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on 11 August 2008
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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on 17 December 2010
Many science fiction fans will attest that the genre is the best for authors looking to investigate society's ills. Throughout the history of the genre authors have displaced their location so that they can openly attack what they think in wrong in their current world. Ben Elton does exactly this with `Blind Faith'; a book that is large part `1984', and small parts `Wall E' and `A Clockwork Orange'. We are talking a dystopian future where the sinister Temple control all of society and make them stick to a bizarre set of rules that are distortions of some of the worst elements of 21st Century Britain. The cult of celebrity and of the self has been blown up to huge proportions.

`Blind Faith' is a very unpleasant book to read, as the people of future Britain are so vain and ignorant that you soon hate them. Trafford is the hero and one of a few people who can see the flaws in the society. The story itself is far too close to `1984' to be considered original, but the world itself is pretty unique, painting a gross possible future for us all. Some would suggest that Elton is using the novel to push his liberal middle class agenda - books are good, TV bad. However, to suggest that working class means a lack of intelligence, penchant for mindless entertainment and false sympathy is an insult. Elton is attacking a portion of modern society that could be of any `class' (an outdated concept in its own right). Where I come from Working Class is in no way negative, but suggests hard work and a strong sense of family.

With such a harsh world `Blind Faith' is perhaps not an entertaining read, but an interesting one. There is too much emphasis on nudity et al, but it is in keeping with his dystopia. I for one applaud an author who would write such a vehement attack on anyone, be they right or wrong. At least he is saying something and posing a few questions.
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on 21 April 2017
A disturbing book with many elements already in existence in society today. I thought it was extreme in its outlook and I did not find the writing particularly good, with sensationalism used to keep the reader on side. Nevertheless despite not liking it there were as stated before elements that are already prevalent in our society and it did make me think and worry. I did not like the parody of religion I thought this was unfair as it was notable that one faith had been left out of this satire. Is the author only willing to parody those who will not hit back - is this a display of cowardice on his part. I also got the feeling that he did not like women very much as his society seemed to enjoy victimising them and displaying for public view their very private and intimate moments. I know this was to some extent true in the society he created but women seemed to be particularly hard hit. This however is only my opinion. I did not personally like the book or the style and content of writing. Others have made the same points and done it better.
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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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on 9 May 2008
Not Ben's usual side splitting rip-roarer this one. BUT that's not a bad thing. There is some dark humour, and some incredible obervations of life today. Ben has extrapolated our obsessions with fame and ourselves and our seeming need to tell everyone we meet about what we are doing right now, however small and meaningless.

You will enjoy this book, and Ben just seems to be unstoppable. He has so much in his head and seems to be able to manipulate it in so many different ways. From WWI to the unimaginable future in his last two books alone, how many other authors can achieve this?
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on 2 January 2008
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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on 1 October 2012
Ben Elton
Blind Faith

`The Lord made Heaven and Earth. The Lord made us. The Lord does this, the Lord wants that. We don't know how or why, we don't need to know, it just happens. There's never any explanation, it's all a miracle. Children are born, some die, it's God's will, we can't change it. Don't you think that, in a way, that's sort of ... sort of ...?' Thus Trafford, the hero of Elton's Blind Faith, puts the question to his wife Chantorria, a terrified conformist in the insane world of London several centuries after a global warming disaster has driven humanity back into an age of faith. Yes, this is a cautionary tale, a savage exposure of man's need to believe and conform.

The novel harks back to Orwell's 1984, but with a lighter touch and emphasis on religion rather than politics. In place of Big Brother and The Party we have The Temple, the authority that never fails, one that through the power of The Love controls cyberspace and individual thinking. Reason is subordinated to faith, science merely a manifestation of the Lord's power; democracy is the will of the people, but a people brainwashed, threatened and in terror of non-conformity. Huge wallscreens in every apartment and public space monitor behaviour, with leaders demanding displays of faith in The Love, in which personal revelations of one's indulgence in, say, feasting or oral sex, are mandatory. Pleasures must be shared, as must pain and grief caused by the perpetual child mortality rate - the water is polluted, London a reeking sewer, commuting replaced by Fizzy Coff - a physical appearance at the office, a necessarily rare occurrence in the overheated congested city.

Despite the parallels with Orwell - incipient paranoia when indulging in Own Life for example - Blind Faith's totalitarianism encourages, nay, demands, self exposure. There is no Puritanism here: nakedness and sexual activity at all times, especially in public, are de rigueur. In fact, abstinence or reticence in these matters suggests a dearth of respect for The Love and is a serious concern of the local Confessor or the apartment censor Barbieheart, `the principle eyes and ears of the building, an enormous, globular, housebound sentinel who, although too big to leave her apartment, occupied every room.' Like Winston Smith, Trafford falls secretly in love with a dissident, but ultimately with wider consequences when his viral email causes millions to receive their first Humanist mail shot.

Blind Faith is an exuberant and gripping novel that pillories evangelism and political correctness, delighting in exposing People Power and the cant and hypocrisy at the heart of belief. From obligatory local Hug-ins to massive pop-style congregations at the New Wembley Stadium, where The Love rules and you'd better not only believe it, but say it loud, shout it Big Time, and never betray a scruple of doubt. For heretics the torture chamber and the stake await! Books are out and wallscreens are in. Birthing videos must be posted, as must one's private sex life. After all, what's to be ashamed of? The Lord gave us genitals that we may celebrate Him, Big Time! Darwin is the Devil's agent and science is merely the Lord's way of reminding us of His power. Vaccination and those who support or practise it are defying the Lord's will and must be hunted out, tied to the stake and burned over a pile of seditious books, any that may yet be found floating in the upper stories of deserted houses.

Of course this is all over the top, but very funny and not so far-fetched that it doesn't chime with certain tendencies in our insidious world of what Elton calls `infotainment', where cheerful idiocy rules the airwaves and cyberspace, and privacy and modesty are heretical.
At the end of the book, when Trafford's daughter, Caitlin Happymeal, is the sole infant survivor in the latest smallpox epidemic (because of her covert vaccination) he is `ordered to stand on that stage at Wembley and credit divine intervention ... to give thanks to a stupid, vicious, capricious, illogical, immoral, maniacal deity who clearly exists only in the imaginations of idiots and bullies.' Will he conform or be a recusant and face the consequences? Elton's nail-biting plot has several more twists and turns before we know whether Trafford, like Orwell's Winston Smith, will become yet another victim of orthodoxy.
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