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A Wrinkle in the Skin

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  453 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
A Wrinkle in the Skin (aka The Ragged Edge) is a 1965 post-apocalyptic science fiction novel written by the British author Samuel Youd under the pen name of John Christopher.
A massive series of earthquakes on a worldwide scale reduce cities to rubble, plunging survivors into barbarism. Most of western Europe is dramatically uplifted, transforming the English Channel into
Paperback, 256 pages
Published December 20th 2000 by Cosmos Books (PA) (first published January 1st 1965)
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(showing 1-30)
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John Wiltshire
Nov 28, 2015 John Wiltshire rated it it was amazing
I'm surprised I haven't come across this book before. Not only is is a superb little post-apocalyptic novel, it's exceptionally well written and interesting. Set and written in the 1960s, it's also a fascinating slice of a life gone by--attitudes that are surprising, even to those of us who remember living this era. I've been sharing this story with my teenage creative writing class and causing quite a stir. Lots of furious teenage girls claiming that Katniss Everdeen is a more realistic represe ...more
Raegan Butcher
Apr 28, 2008 Raegan Butcher rated it liked it
John Christopher writes exciting sci fi novels about catastrophic shifts in the world order. He has tackled everything from mass starvation (The Death Of Grass) to epic changes in the earth's weather (The Long Winter) to alien invasions(The Tripod trilogy) to giant earthquakes, which is the central catastrophe of this book.

After an enormous series of cataclysmic earthquakes wipes out modern civilization, a group of survivors struggle to stay alive in the ruins of the British Isles.
This is one of
Dec 09, 2016 Sandy rated it really liked it
Although most of us probably deem earthquakes to be relatively infrequent phenomena, the truth is that, as of this writing in late November, almost 150 such seismic events, ranging from relatively minor to completely devastating, have transpired somewhere in the world in 2016 alone. That's an average of one earthquake every two or three days! But although these events are not only, uh, earth-shattering for those in the areas directly affected, few would deem them a possible concern for long-term ...more
Althea Ann
As a kid, I very much enjoyed John Christopher's books: the Tripods Trilogy ("The White Mountains", "The City of Gold and Lead", and "The Pool of Fire") as well as the related book "When The Tripods Came"; and also his Sword of the Spirits Trilogy - "The Prince is Waiting", "Beyond the Burning Lands" and "The Sword of the Spirits".
The first trilogy is a sort of "War of the Worlds" scenario where human survivalists struggle against the alien Tripods that have taken over Earth. The second trilogy
Steve Dewey
Oct 01, 2015 Steve Dewey rated it really liked it
This is another enjoyable slab of post-apocalyptic cosy catastrophe from John Christopher.

Earlier in the year, I read Christopher's The Death of Grass. That was lean, taut, and gripping, with a particular grey bleakness. This book follows a similar pattern -- ordinary people surviving a catastrophe -- but here the catastrophe has a more unlikely cause: worldwide earthquakes that cause severe damage and disruption. Of course, the book was written in the early 1960s, when much less was known abou
Apr 05, 2015 Simon rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
Another powerfully told apocalyptic adventure story told by John Christopher, this time it's a rapid and severe bout of geological activity that overnight wipes out most of humanity (as far as we know) and completely destroys every standing structure.

The narrative follows the experience of our protagonist Matthew who's living on the island of Guernsey. He manages to survive the night of violent earthquakes by being out in the garden investigating a strange noise and being protected by the stron
Oct 14, 2014 Andrew rated it liked it
This book dates back to the 60s and some of the language and nuances do show themselves up but considering this books limitations it just goes to show how compelling the storyline is and the imagery used if it can stand the test of time. This book was labelled part of the "cosy catastrophe" the story is intended to be down beat and show the darker sides of human nature. Never intended to be used as a vehicle to horrify its readers the book still has some strong images such as the walk across the ...more
Feb 03, 2009 Susan rated it liked it
Another apocalypse science fiction book. I read two books of this genre in January 2009 (Happy New Year). The other one was "Alas, Babylon." I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed both of these books. This book made me want to be a better walker.
Oct 06, 2015 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another of Samuel Youd's (a.k.a John Crhistopher) post-apocalypitc survival tales.

A series of massive catastrophic earthquakes (along with associated mega-tsunamis) strike around the world, leading to massive flooding
of land areas and the apparent destruction of civilization around the world. A British man goes on a desperate journey in search of his daughter across Islands near the UK and the bared dried sea-bed itself. On the way, he encounters various pockets of survivors, many of who
Dec 14, 2015 Adrian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was an uncompromising read - the darkest Christopher I have read. Main issue was I thought the main characters gave up on society a bit quick, and assumed everyone else was without redemption. Maybe this was the correct decision based on what happens later.
Aline Baldwinalinebaldwin
One of my all time favorites. No monsters - except believable humans run amok and a hopeful ending. I wish there were a sequal.
Mar 01, 2009 Rachel rated it did not like it
this could've been good, if the main character didn't have his head shoved so far up his ass. nothing can compare to The Stand, for my money.
Ember Stone-pierce
Sep 05, 2013 Ember Stone-pierce rated it it was amazing
Excellent Post -Apocalyptic thriller, as real and relevant today as when it as written in 1965.
Nov 15, 2012 Jason rated it really liked it
I always seem to find a little comfort in apocalyptic fiction. Granted, it's not the most original genre, but in almost every case I'm reminded of the huge depths of compassion that the human heart is capable of. This type of novel is a great platform to present that tenderness. It only reinforces my conviction that love and concern for other people is truly the only good reason for being alive, and not for personal gain or success. In my view, personal gain and success is something which is int ...more
Jan 25, 2016 jjonas rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, apocalypse
2.5 tähteä.

Lyhyt ja ytimekäs maailmanloppujuttu II.

Eräs aiempi John Christopherilta lukemani kirja ( Nälkäkuolema ) oli myös "lyhyt ja ytimekäs maailmanloppujuttu". Viimeisten ihmisten teema oli täysin sama, ja kirjanakin samaa luokkaa, joten yhteenvetokin saa olla sama.

Valtavat maanjäristykset tuhoavat kaikki rakennukset ja jostain syystä kuivattavat Englannin kanaalin. Syitä ei sen kummemmin pohdita, ja vähän hämäräksi jäi sekin, mikä voi kuivattaa kanaalin silmänräpäyksessä, mutta mitäpä nois
Jan 13, 2014 Stuart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I am discovering that the 1950s and 60s has a wealth of post-apocalyptic science fiction of high quality. John Christopher, like his contemporary, John Wyndham, has an easygoing style that takes you from the perspective of an ordinary life and moves you into a world that gets progressively more broken and barbaric as you go along.

In Ragged Edge, Matthew Cotter, living on Guernsey in the Channel Islands, finds himself one of the few survivors of a devastating earthquake. The disaster is not just
Seth Lynch
Feb 28, 2012 Seth Lynch rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
British Sci-Fi survivor novel – first published 1965. It’s a format I enjoy and John Christopher is good at it – HG Wells pretty much invented this sub-genre and Christopher turned it into the format we know now. With HG Wells it is about forming a better world after the destruction of the old. With Christopher it is about lowest common denominators, gangs getting together being told what to do by the most brutal of leaders. Intelligence is no match for force – in the short term at least. Longer ...more
Oct 28, 2011 Tina rated it liked it
Recommends it for: post-apoc lovers
Shelves: post-apoc
An interesting non-nuclear post-apocalyptic novel. The novel is very linear (no flashbacks or postmodern elements), given that it was published in 1965. This didn't really detract from the novel, as the pace was quick and there wasn't too much description. The novel also had a strong female character at once point, which was nice to see in a novel from the 60s, and the novel provided instances of both awful people and kind ones which was also realistic. Most of the staples of post-apocalyptic wa ...more
Dec 02, 2013 Fence rated it liked it
Shelves: sff
In the 1960s a wave of earthquakes brings destruction around the globe. Isolated off the British coast Matthew Cotter thinks that they will be okay, Britain is far from any earthquake zone, pity the poor devils on a fault, but that’s all happening far away. But of course you can’t have a post-apocalyptic sci-fi story without the apocalypse can you?

One night while Matthew is outside, waiting for a dog that has been attacking his chickens the quake hits. Outside, protected by a bamboo thicket Matt
Feb 03, 2016 Jayme rated it it was amazing
John Christopher is a superb author of apocalyptic fiction. I have now read two of his books (the other is The Death of Grass) and can't wait to read the next.

A Wrinkle in the Skin tells the story of a man who after a massive, Earth changing earthquake sets out to find his daughter who lives on her own back on the mainland of England. As he makes his way across the changed landscapes he is joined by a boy who has no family and the two continue his quest to find his daughter.

The book is heartwar
Joe Stamber
Feb 22, 2011 Joe Stamber rated it liked it
Shelves: paper, read-2012
Some time ago I read another of JC's novels, The Death of Grass, which I enjoyed, so I thought I'd give this one a try. Like The Death of Grass, it's a sort of post apocalyptic road trip. However, instead of all the crops dying, the disaster is caused by massive worldwide earthquakes.

At over 40 years old, A Wrinkle in the Skin is obviously a little dated, but JC doesn't shy away from the nastier side of things - although they are not described as graphically as they might be today. The reader ta
Shaun Johnson
Jan 16, 2016 Shaun Johnson rated it really liked it
It was a fun ride, with a strong beginning and end, and overall quality material between.

I would definitely call it a "soft" post-apocalyptic science fiction. Very character driven, even though it only focuses on two.

I'd say the major theme is "journeys." The whole novel is filled with them, and the protagonist is often torn over which is the right one to embark on. When should you give up? Is it more costly keep going, or turn back and miss out on something better? The Ragged Edge explores th
Martine Taylor
Aug 06, 2011 Martine Taylor rated it it was amazing
I love John Christopher's books, and wish they were easier to find. Every one of them I've read has hard to put down. You can't get better sci fi than the tripod series, and I devoured "No Blade of Grass". It is a bummer in a way that it is so easy to compare "A Wrinkle in the Skin" to "The Road" because of the father/child relationship and similar themes in a post apocalyptic world; they are both great reads in their own rights, but I found "The Road" more haunting and more touching in it's por ...more
Jul 15, 2014 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book. Yes, it was written in the 1960s so the people do not have cell phones. And it is unlikely that this geological disaster would ever happen. But forget that and read in the moment. Imagine being on a island when an earthquake takes away the ocean. Now, imagine that journey across the former ocean floor. There is no drinking water and only small pools with few fish. There is deep mud and shipwrecks. And the surviving population on both the island and mainland (England) a ...more
Gordon Houghton
Sep 24, 2012 Gordon Houghton rated it liked it
A terrific Boy's Own story, packed with incident, and dominated by a strong (and slightly selfish) male lead, at times this story matches the quality of Christopher's wonderful The Death of Grass. But not quite. It's gritty, hopeless, gruesome, emotionally bare - in short, a wonderfully realistic tale of post-apocalyptic survival... But it throws away all that hard-earned realism with a conclusion that just feels out of place. A shame; but well worth reading nonetheless.
May 28, 2014 David rated it liked it
Enjoyed this book, reminded me to an extent of 'The Road' with the journey they took in this. Or rather 'The Road' would remind me of this as it was the later book. Would describe this as an ok story. By the end was hoping for things to turn out well for them. Not as enjoyable as 'The Death of Grass' for me, but glad i read it.
Sep 09, 2009 Samuel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Christopher has the habit of taking a world-wide catastrophe scenerio and using it as a tool to examine human nature in such conditions. This dead horse gets whipped by him over and over again in his novels. And it is engaging each time as well. Definitely his cup of tea when writing. This was another thoroughly enjoyable entree in the genre.
Aug 08, 2012 Samuel rated it liked it

This only just pulled out of a two star rating in the last two pages. Before that it was dragging the reader through nothing but despair and hopelessness.

I for one do not believe in hopelessness.
Jan 08, 2009 Allison rated it liked it
Cheery compared to some of the other 'end of the world' stories out there. It takes place in England and you can imagine a country like England after an Earthquake that changes the shape of the Continents. No more cute little stone cottages.
Gwen Veazey
Oct 31, 2014 Gwen Veazey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this post-apocalyptic "hero's journey" tale, set in the English Channel Islands and first published in 1965. I'm a big fan of Christopher's YA Tripods Trilogy, and it was interesting to read an adult tale from him. Reminded me of a more recent novel of survival, The Road.
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Sam Youd was born in Lancashire in April 1922, during an unseasonable snowstorm.

As a boy, he was devoted to the newly emergent genre of science-fiction: ‘In the early thirties,’ he later wrote, ‘we knew just enough about the solar system for its possibilities to be a magnet to the imagination.’

Over the following decades, his imagination flowed from science-fiction into general novels, cricket nove
More about John Christopher...

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