Escape from reality: How to Survive Everything, by Ewan Morrison, reviewed

Ewan Morrison is an intellectually nimble writer with a penchant for provocation. His work has included the novels, Distance, Ménage and Swung, which looked at the conditions of desire, normality and love under capitalism, and a hybrid collection of essays, reportage and fiction, Tales From the Mall. This new novel forms the final part of a loose trilogy, which is concerned with various forms of eccentric utopias. Close Your Eyes involved a spiritual commune with strict rules; Nina X was an uplifting book about a young woman freed from a Maoist cult and bemused by modernity. How to Survive Everything is narrated by teenage Haley, who has been abducted, along

Should we all be prepping for the end of days?

In the Covid-19 crisis the calamity-howlers have found a vindication: go back to survival mode and bunker down because nobody believed Noah until it was way too late. Bunker: Building for the End Times, a hybrid of reportage and philosophical musing, considers contemporary survivalist culture in all its manifest craziness, from the doomsday realtors who sell bomb-proof, virus-free bunker space to the Bible-belt survivalists who pack their INCH bags (I’m Never Coming Home) and bug out to bunker encampments in Wyoming in anticipation of the Final Judgment. In the modern concrete bunker Bradley Garrett sees an extreme expression of our fear of nuclear, chemical, biological and climatic calamity. Never before

Our recent stockpiling is nothing to what ‘preppers’ lay in store

This book could not have been published at a better time — nor, in a way, at a worse time. Better, because we are now living with the threat of disaster looming over us and society is being radically transformed; worse, because the apocalyptic scenarios Mark O’Connell writes about include such quaint, marginal topics as catastrophic climate change, nuclear devastation and the concern of ‘preppers’. These are the men who build bunkers in the countryside and fill them with enough tins of protein sludge to keep them going through whatever unspecified calamity brings about the end of the rule of law. There’s not a great deal here about a global