Nuclear Holocausts: Atomic War in Fiction

by Paul Brians

Nuclear Holocausts Bibliography: G

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Table of Contents

Gallion, Jane. Biker. North Hollywood: Essex House, 1969.
Essex House published experimental hard-core pornography in the late sixties, including a great deal of extremely sadistic material. This book belongs to that category, being largely a concatenation of rape scenes of the utmost brutality. Motorcycle gangs roam the postholocaust wasteland, indicated as caused by nuclear bombs only by a brief mention of plants mutated by radiation. The protagonist is a female biker and speed freak who has been repeatedly gang-raped. The sex scenes are narrated in a deliberately repulsive way, stressing her hatred of the acts, the pain she experiences, and the filth of her assailants. A gentler young man called "Bear" who takes the trouble to seduce her later betrays her to a vicious drifter for drugs. Toward the end of the novel she joins a hippie sex commune called the Temple of Love led by a spiritual young man, Chris, garbed in white robes. He preaches that women should be feminine, wear dresses, and have plenty of children. In the end the protagonist rebels against the commune's gentle sensuality and rides off with the more exciting Bear. Presumably intended as a sadistic fantasy, it reads in places almost like a feminist anti-rape tract.

___. "Magician of Dream Valley" (Astounding, October 1938). In The Best of Raymond Z. Gallun. New York: Ballantine, 1978.
The manufacture of dangerous radioactive rocket fuel is carried out on the moon, but proves hazardous to the Hexagon Lights which inhabit it. A mad scientist plots to set off an atomic device to exterminate all human life on the moon and allow these alien creatures to take over their home world again; but he is foiled the the hero, who turns the weapon on the aliens instead.

Galouye, Daniel F[rancis]. Dark Universe. New York: Bantam, 1961. Boston: Gregg, 1976. London: Gollancz, 1962. London: Sphere, 1967.
Generations after a war, survivors living in cave-shelters have forgotten the meaning of light. Most get around by acutely developed hearing; others "ziv"--see infrared light--and a few, like the hero, have ESP. They have developed an elaborate religion which must be cast aside as they emerge into the now safe aboveground world. The novel depicts the triumph of science over superstition. Rather sensitive, with imaginative creation of sensations, points of view. In Magill, 1, 474-79. [More, More, More & More]

Garden, Donald J. Dawn Chorus. London: Robert Hale, 1975.
In this inept account of World War III, Russia and the U.S. annihilate each other and China attacks both, leaving Europe relatively untouched. A British super defense computer is used to combat the gigantic tornado which results and which threatens to do more damage than the war.

Gardner, Alan. The Escalator. London: Muller, 1963. London: Consul, 1965.
The "father of the A-bomb" joins a group of conspirators, including the pilot who dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, within the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and hijacks a Polaris submarine. The captain thinks in alarm: "He had aboard, in the vitals of America's most secret war weapon, a bunch of stop-at-nothing pacifists." They threaten to launch a nuclear attack unless the world rids itself of atomic weapons. Mobs assault various military facilities in response. Over twenty-three hundred Russian protesters are shot. When NATO decides to carpet-bomb the sea near the Azores to destroy the sub, the Russians proclaim that this is an excuse to violate the atomic test-ban treaty. The rebel physicist fires the first missile at his own home in White Plains, but it fails to explode. Leningrad is to be next. The Russians and Americans agree to go along with the pacifists to gain time, although the French are recalcitrant. Fortunately, a heroic officer on board the sub succeeds in arming one of its bombs and setting it off, ending the threat. The Russians renege on the agreement and the danger of disarmament is past.

Gardner, Craig Shaw. "Bar and Grill." In Afterwar. New York: Baen, 1985.
A powerful story in which people exchange their healthy body parts for food, drink and companionship. They reminisce about ordinary life before the war.

Garrett, Randall. "Fighting Division" (Analog, August 1965). In John W. Campbell, ed. Analog 5. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1967. Also in Martin H. Greenberg and Joseph D. Olander, eds. International Relations Through Science Fiction. New York: Franklin Watts, 1978.
After a period of worldwide disarmament, a scout ship from an alien world attacks Guadalcanal and the crew is killed by U.S. H-bombs. The incident is covered up, and the world is told a nuclear accident has occurred. When the truth is revealed, the world unites and rearms to destroy the invaders still on the way in the mother ship. Compare Theodore Sturgeon, "Unite and Conquer."

Gayle, Henry K. Spawn of the Vortex. New York: Comet, 1957.
Unavailable for review. See Tuck.

Gee, Maggie. The Burning Book. London: Faber, 1983. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1983.
A powerfully drawn family chronicle set among England's working classes repeatedly punctuated by references to Hiroshima and to the nuclear holocaust which will end the lives of many of the characters. Most of the novel has little to do with atomic war, but the last generation represents varying attitudes toward the subject. One, killed in an accident before the holocaust, is a right-wing fanatic obsessed by the nuclear combat video game, "Missile Command." His older brother joins the army out of patriotic motives and is sent to Germany. Their sister grows increasingly concerned with the danger of nuclear war, and joins in the protest movement. In the final chapter, "The Chapter of Burning," the latter two and their parents die in the holocaust. The account of their deaths is followed by three pages of gray paper and a poetic epilogue. Mention is made of the Greenham Common women's encampment. This novel represents a highly unusual and effective use of impending nuclear war as the background for a depiction of contemporary life.

George, Peter. Commander-1. London: Heinemann, 1965. London: Pan, 1966. New York: Delacourt, 1965. New York: Dell, 1966.
George tries to correct errors that critics had pointed out in his Two Hours to Doom(see below). He specifically corrects the supposition that a runaway bomber could start a nuclear war, since bombs are armed by a signal from the ground. In this work, the fiendish Chinese trigger an all-out nuclear war between the U.S. and USSR using a half-dozen smuggled-in bombs. Bacteriological warfare wipes out most of the survivors. Most of the book concentrates on James Geraghty, the crazy submarine commander who appoints himself ruler of the world. Despite George's attempts to avoid repeating his earlier mistakes, the novel has an even more incredible plot, concluding with the only survivors being the hypnotized slaves of the mad commander. The novel ends abruptly but portentously with a blank page containing only the words "the end." [More]

___. Dr. Strangelove, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. London: Corgi, 1963. New York: Bantam, 1964. Boston: Gregg, 1979.
Faithful novelization of the classic 1963 film. Richard Gid Powers, in his introduction to the Gregg Press edition, suggests that the writing is too good for George and should be attributed instead to the film's co-author, Terry Southern; but the novel follows the filmscript so closely that it makes more sense to attribute its merits to the fact that George simply adapted Southern and Kubrik's script without major changes. (Powers's essay is, by the way, well worth reading.) Lacking the visual element, the novel is much less humorous than the film, but it still demonstrates how the rigid devotion to duty which makes deterrence credible can all too easily increase the danger of an accidental war. At the end, a doomsday device goes off, ending the world. The film is a comic adaptation of George's 1958 novel Two Hours to Doom, published in the U.S. as Red Alert. [More, More & More]

___. Red Alert. See Two Hours to Doom.

___ (as Peter Bryant).Two Hours to Doom. London: Boardman, 1958. London: Corgi, 1961. As Red Alert. New York: Ace, 1958.
A fanatical general launches a preemptive strike against the USSR, unaware that the Russians have built a doomsday device which will destroy the world if they are attacked. Disaster is averted at the last moment by pure luck as the attacking bomber crashes. The novel places faith in improving the balance of terror as the ultimate solution to the threat of nuclear war. Source for Dr. Strangelove(see above).

Gerrold, David. Battle for the Planet of the Apes. New York: Award, 1973.
Apes have taken over the Earth after a devastating nuclear war called "the Fires," subordinated human beings, and imposed on them a vegetarian pacifist regime. Travelers from the future bring back a tape showing that gorillas will destroy the world in 3950. An uprising of human mutants led by a warlike gorilla is ruthlessly crushed by the apes. They realize that they are as violent as the humans, and accept them as equals. At the end of the novel there remains in the city an ominous doomsday device which may yet fulfill the prophecy of the tape.

Geston, Mark S. Out of the Mouth of the Dragon. New York: Ace, 1969. London: Michael Joseph, 1972.
The novel describes a long series of wars and catastrophes seemingly including the use of some nuclear weapons. The constant wars are called "false Armageddons." Humankind had spread to the stars, but returns to Earth to fight endless battles. These highly skilled returnees are hated by the barbaric inhabitants of the ruined planet, and they find themselves forced to destroy the remnants of ancient civilization in self-defense. The protagonist goes mad periodically, has a vision of the futility of it all, and plants himself to face eternity (it is hinted he will engage in an unending vigil). Sequel to Lords of the Starship. New York: Ace, 1967.

Gibson, Colin. The Pepper Leaf. London: Chatto & Windus, 1971.
The publisher's note fairly adequately describes this bizarre novel: "Not many years from now an organization is formed in New Zealand to combat the [anticipated] effects of [possible] nuclear fallout. The Decontamination Farms society is mainly nudist and vegetarian. When an earthquake [possibly, but not certainly, caused by nuclear bombs] occurs and [there] is a subsequent rise in the sea level, four members of this community are cut off on a newly formed island--two elderly men, a Maori and a young girl [fourteen] called the Smart. It is she who proves most adept in the techniques of survival. Reverting to the savage in herself, she acquires almost total ascendency over her companions, whom she deals with in the most horrifying and ruthless way. Those that survive are finally rescued by a weird mob of tourists who have put ashore on the island." Significantly omitted is any mention of the fact that some of the girl's violent acts are reactions to vicious attempts at rape.

Giles, Gordon A. [pseud. of Otto Binder]. "The Atom Smasher," Amazing, October 1938.
Asian invaders using atomic rays devastate Seattle, but are defeated by a device which destroys all atomic power.

Glasser, Vernon W. "The Bodyguard."Astounding, August 1951.
Two generations after the Wars of the Old Men, foolish survivors oppose learning and technology. Because they fear radioactivity in the ruins of the cities they overlook the books buried there. The enlightened few look forward to rebuilding civilization.

Godfrey, Hollis. The Man Who Ended War. Boston: Little, Brown, 1908.
A man uses a gas which intensely emits radioactivity to destroy, one by one, the world's battleships, blackmailing the nations into disarming. He commits suicide after he has succeeded to preserve the secret of the gas. It is not clear how peace is to be preserved after his death in the absence of the threat posed by his weapon. The hero is compared to Verne's Captain Nemo.

Godwin, Tom. "You Created Us" (Fantastic Universe,  October 1955). In T. E. Dikty, ed. Best Science Fiction Stories and Novels 1956. New York: Fell, 1956. Rpt. as 6 From Worlds Beyond. New York: Fawcett, 1958.
Mutant telepathic lizardmen evolved from nuclear test effects have developed an immunity to radiation and are plotting to encourage a nuclear war so that they can take over the Earth. The story criticizes the obsession with security. The expected war has not yet broken out, but seems inevitable.

Gold, Herbert. "The Day They Got Boston" (Fantasy and Science Fiction,  September 1961). In Groff Conklin, ed. 17 X Infinity. New York: Dell, 1963.
A very amusing satire in which the USSR accidentally destroys Boston and then pleads frantically with the U.S. not to retaliate. Negotiations result in the Russians permitting the destruction of Leningrad in return (although Finland is also wiped out, accidentally). This new method of settling international dispute is referred to in the title of a popular book as Potlatch for the Millions. Unfortunately, the Russians decide they are not even, and demand Southern California as well. Although this reads like a satire on the conclusion of Burdick and Wheeler's Fail-Safe, it preceded the latter's publication by a year; it was probably aimed at the limited-war scenarios of Herman Kahn.

Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. London: Faber, 1954. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1960. New York: Coward-McCann, 1962. New York: Capricorn, 1959.
In the first chapter of this famous parable of the collapse of civilization, it is made clear that the plane which crashed on the island was evacuating a group of boys from a nuclear war which had just broken out. Their speculation that all adults have died proves to be false, of course; but the occurrence of the war itself is never denied. Made into a film in 1963 and again in 1990.

Good, Charles H. The Wheel Comes a Turn: A Novel Based on Scientific Study of War of the Sexes. New York: Vantage, 1963.
Bilateral disarmament causes economic dislocation and depression in the West, but prosperity in the East. Most of the world goes Communist as a result, and frigid women, led by a fanatical man-hater, take control of the Soviet bloc, . After rearmament has taken place, the women launch a cobalt bomb attack on America which sterilizes almost everyone on the planet, and most children die of leukemia. The U.S. chooses not to retaliate. A handful of fertile humans is sent to colonize a planet circling Alpha Centauri, but succeeds in having only girl children because God wills them to return to Earth for males in order to unite the races of humanity in a harmonious civlization on the new planet. They do so, learning during their visit that a rebellion against the Russian dictatorship has been put down by more cobalt bombs and the balance of terror has been restored by the threat of the U.S. to use its weapons. The various atomic explosions have rendered the Earth's axis less inclined, creating milder weather in the temperate zone. Much use is made of fusion power created by a newly discovered "Moon metal."Other important themes in the book include religion and the ethics of artificial insemination.

Gordon, Rex. See under Hough, S. B.

Gordon, Stuart. Smile on the Void. New York: Putnam, 1981. New York: Berkley, 1982.
A messianic fantasy in which nuclear war is an aside. Here is the only reference in the book, when a war occurs in the Middle East: "Tactical nuclear warfare broke out. Several cities and their populations were reduced to hot radioactive ash, though Jerusalem was spared because of its religious importance to both sides."

Graham, David. Down to a Sunless Sea. London: Robert Hale, 1979. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1981. New York: Fawcett, 1982.
In 1985 an oil shortage causes the collapse of the U.S. A planeload of refugees is stranded in the air when the Israelis--retaliating for the poisoning of the Tel Aviv water supply by Arabs--launch a nuclear missile attack on Cairo, Beirut and Damascus (killing eighteen million), precipitating a full-scale atomic war which wipes out most life on Earth. The novel becomes the ultimate Airportsequel as the crew searches for an intact field on which to land. Finally the American 797 lands at a military base in the Azores which has been neutron-bombed, killing all but one of the personnel but leaving the buildings and supplies intact.

Graham, Roger P. See Phillips, Rog.

Green, Martin. The Earth Again Redeemed: May 26 to July 1, 1984. New York: Basic Books, 1977. London: Sphere, 1979.
An alternate Earth fantasy in which the sole survivor of the human race, a cyborg composed largely of artificial parts designed to let him survive in space, comes into contact with a world whose history diverged from ours in 1665. The novel is set mostly in Africa where religious tensions between Muslim, Christian, and native religions are building toward war. In this version of history, the Catholic Church has suppressed science and technology and colonialism has never developed. (Compare with Keith Roberts, Pavane.) On our own Earth the Chinese began the holocaust in 1984 by bombing the U.S. fleet during a dispute in the Middle East. It appears that the alternate Earth is about to go down the path of world war traveled by our own planet. A highly intellectual work featuring some interesting characters and pleasing style, but unfocused and almost plotless.

Gresham, William Lindsay. "The Star Gypsies." Fantasy and Science Fiction,July 1953.
Gypsies roam the postholocaust landscape, guided by an old woman who can sense radioactive hotspots. They hold "civilization-as-we-know-it" in reverence, but survive through their ancient wisdom.

Gridban, Volsted [pseud. of John Russell Fearn]. Scourge of the Atom. London: Scion, 1953.
As the world teeters of the brink of nuclear war, scientist Martin Bond travels mentally to the distant past to discover that humanity's ancient ancestors on the Moon destroyed that world in a war caused by their inability to restrict atomic energy to peaceful uses. In the aftermath, civilization collapsed and humanity lost all memory of atomic power. Bond then enters a intra-atomic micro-universe where humans manage to use the atom peacefully only because they reign supreme and unchallenged there; let competitors enter and they too would resort to atomic weapons. The descendants of the Moon-humans on Mars essentially repeated their ancestors' experience, laying waste their world with atomic warfare. Returning to the present, Bond hopes with the help of his wife Ada to read and alter the mind of the evil Asian mastermind Dr. Lao Ming by x-raying his brain; but the Ming deduces their plan and defies them, wherepon they kill him. Using a volunteer convict as a subject, Bond experiments on him with all manner of rays, seeking one that will make him peaceful; but instead the man turns violent. Finally, atomic war breaks out on Earth. Bond and others are oddly preserved by the weapons, awakening a decade later to find the world taken over by deformed but peaceful mutants who mature to adulthood in a fortnight after birth, created by the bomb. These "Gargoyles" condemn Bond and his wife, who may have thought of themselves as seeking to prevent war, but who engaged in violent experiments.

See also I. F. Clarke, Tale of the Future.

Griffith, George. The Lord of Labour. London: F. V. White, 1911.
The Germans attack Europe with a metal-disintegrating ray; the British retaliate with radium-helium bullets.

Griffiths, John. The Survivors. London: Collins, 1965.
A newsman forces his way into a supershelter planned as a utopia for a chosen twelve led by a charismatic pacifist. They have been living underground for six months before the war begins. He wins the trust of all except the vile Jude, who--envious of his success with one of the women--tries to kill the newsman and succeeds in another murder, attempts rape, and almost betrays them to the Chinese who have invaded. All life is exterminated by the radioactivity, including insects, and the foolish Chinese, who, although they have lost 60 percent of their population, disregard the danger. Jude's vicious behavior and the retaliatory violence which results in his death disillusion the utopian leader, who seems to despair of building a better world after all. The gospel parallel is strengthened by the names of two of the other shelter inhabitants, James and Andrew.

Groom, Pelham. The Purple Twilight. London: Werner Laurie, 1948.
An old-fashioned fantasy in which the first voyagers to Mars learn that Atlantis was destroyed by telepathic Martians when their scheme for world conquest was frustrated by a rebellious queen. In the aftermath, Mars was devastated by a nuclear war which pitted men and women against each other; the result was universal female sterilization. In order to preserve the race, the Martians have indefinitely prolonged their lifespans and must wait for twenty-five thousand years to recover their fertility. When the human visitors return to Earth, determined to prevent their planet from meeting the same fate as Mars, they find a frenzied arms race in progress, including the development of a sterilizing ray like that used by the Martians. Their attempt to warn humanity fails; no one will listen. Compare Herman Wouk: The Lomokome Papers.

Gunn, James. "The Boy with Five Fingers" (Startling Stories, January 1953). In Isaac Asimov, Martin Harry Greenberg and Joseph D. Olander, eds. Microcosmic Tales: 100 Wondrous Science Fiction Short-Short Stories. New York: Taplinger, 1980.
Centuries after the holocaust the odd one in the class is the boy without mutated limbs or organs.

Gueritz, E. F. See Bidwell, Shelford.

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