In this week’s Dispatches from The Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle explores a forgotten work of post-apocalyptic fiction
March opened on a comparatively milder note, but there was still no thaw. Food prices, which had been rising for some time, began to rocket, and there was a wave of strikes throughout the country. … The Government, which had proclaimed a State of Emergency and taken necessary powers, showed no sign of yielding them again. There was strict censorship, and the police were armed. Rationing and price controls were introduced for a wide range of foods; patient queues lengthened in the grubby snow outside provision shops. Press and television called on the people to endure, to show their ancient phlegm. ‘If winter comes,’ quoted the Prime Minister in his clipped and confident voice, ‘can spring be far behind?’
This passage comes near the beginning of Chapter 7 of The World in Winter, a novel, now thankfully back in print as The World in Winter (Penguin Worlds), by a forgotten author who I was switched onto by Christopher Fowler in his brilliant and revelatory The Book of Forgotten Authors (which I reviewed here).