BOOK REPORT: LOGAN'S RUN
William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson
In a successful bid to pass the time during a recent flight to Boston, I read the futuristic science fiction thriller Logan's Run by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson. To my surprise, the book bares little resemblance to the 1976 movie version starring Michael York and Jenny Agutter. Even more surprising is how little that bothered me.
Watching the movie has always been about camp, an exercise in kitch-appreciation. Logan's ever- escalating panic, the improbable fashions, the sparking and exploding cardboard sets make us laugh because they seem so ludicrous. One imagines the filmmakers feeling really good about themselves, congratulating each other on their ability to create a startling new world, horrifying in its efficiencies. Ooooo! Maybe it's the clarity that time's intervention provides that makes the movie seem silly and fun rather than insightful and deep.
Come to think of it, the movie is really just about seeing Agutter and Farrah Fawcett in those skimpy see-through shred-threads.
The book is cool. It's most successful when it paints a picture of life in the 23rd century. Logan, a policeman committed to the pursuit of runners, citizens who upon the occasion of their 21st birthday defy the law by fleeing their compulsory state-ordered execution, decides to become a runner himself. He meets up with Jessica, another runner, and together they set off in search of the possibly mythical "Sanctuary" where people are free to grow old. Before they tip their hands and become known fugitives, Logan and Jessica weave their way through a society committed solely to the physical pleasures of youthful folly, ducking into peeping-tom parties, bars where hallucinogens are served, and weird glass brothels. It's the detailed descriptions of these venues and the people who frequent them that kept my interest. In such a setting, just about any story would be compelling.
There are a couple of odd twists at the end of the book that don't add much to the story and seem a bit clumsy but for page-turning purposes, this book fits the bill.