Shades of grey – novel

It was nice to stroll into Leeds today and see all the green grass after all this snow we have had. All I have seen for the last 3-4 weeks is white – or rather, shades of grey as the snow melted, refroze and melted etc. So speaking of shades of grey, I came across a novel today in Waterstones of that very name – Shades of grey by Jasper Fforde – published in Dec 09. This novel is a sci-fi vision of the future where democracy has been replaced by colourtocracy; a social hierarchy based on your colour vision. Sounds interesting but it could take me some weeks to read it so if anyone has read it please reply to this post with a brief review.

Notice how the cover has red, yellow and blue on it. A further indication that the notion of red, yellow and blue as the primary colours is well and truly embedded in the general consciousness of the population (whether it is true or not that these are the primaries!).

Out of interest, I also bought The rain before it falls by Jonathan Coe (I love everything by this author) and Gateway by Frederik Pohl. Not of colour interest … but could be good reads.

2 thoughts on “Shades of grey – novel

  1. Hi,

    I’m as late as anything (just found you via a facebook link to the “indigo” post), but can recommend the book, as a novel, if you’ve not already read it – it’s Fforde’s best to date, in my opinion, and I enjoyed it a lot.
    I don’t know the Munsell system well enough to comment on his use of it (we use CIE-Lab), but I found the idea of single-colour vision for ‘natural’ colours, with a separate ‘Universal’ (or was it ‘univisual’? I can’t check, I borrowed the copy I read, sorry) system of artificial colours quite confusing. I’m relatively new to colour science though, and very much from a practical, in-work-trained base, so I wasn’t sure how much confusion to attribute to my own ignorance. I’d be interested in reading your opinion when you finish the book (sod’s law says the next post I see will be your finished review).

    1. Hi, I did finish the book but forgot to leave a review here (though I did put one on facebook). I thoroughly enjoyed it. I seem to recall that a sequel was promised though I have not seen that yet!!

      The use of Munsell was accurate and I thought a good choice (CIELAB can do the same job but would be more difficult for general readers to understand). I agree that the natural and uni-visual distinction was confusing and not based on any factual information as far as I can see. But the idea of social stratification based upon types of colour vision was a really clever one. Overall, I really liked the novel and I am glad you did too!

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