Nuclear Holocausts: Atomic War in Fiction

by Paul Brians

Nuclear Holocausts Bibliography: J

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Jackson, William. The Alternative Third World War: 1985-2035. London: Brassey's Defence Publishers, 1987.
An alternative scenario to that presented in The Third World War: A Future History (1978) and The Third World War: August 1985, The Untold Story (1982) by Sir John Hackett. Jackson argues that World War III will not be the East-West confrontation envisioned by his compatriot, but a prolonged North-South conflict. No nuclear weapons are used in this struggle, but at the end of the novel, the Asian powers united by Japan force world-wide nuclear disarmament. The author states that this novel is a partial sequel to his nonfiction Withdrawal from Empire: A Military View (1985). See Harold Coyle: Team Yankee.

Jakes, John. Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. New York: Award, 1974.
Novelization of the film by the same name. Surviving descends of time-travelling apes plan to take over the earth. Caesar predicts a coming nuclear war which will result in their supremacy.

Jakubowski, Maxim. "Just Another End of the World." In After the Fall, ed. Robert Sheckley. New York: Ace, 1980.
A spoof of postapocalyptic fiction which concludes a collection of "upbeat end-of-the-world stories." A group of science fiction writers at a convention are the only survivors of World War Three, fought with non-radioactive superweapons. They gleefully set about reproducing the human race in the rubble, the decide to amuse themselves by writing a collection of downbeat end-of-the-world stories.

Jameson, Storm [pen-name of Margaret Storm Jameson Chapman, also known as Mrs. Guy Chapman-Tuck]. The Moment of Truth. London: Macmillan, 1949. New York: Macmillan, 1949.
A study of the relationships among members of a group of refugees vying for the five seats available to fly them from a Britain conquered by the Russians. One of them turns out to be a Communist spy, but he is set free as a gesture toward maintaining civilized ideals. The atomic war which devastated Europe is mentioned only in passing.

Janvier, Ivan [pseud. of Algis Budrys]. "Thing" (Fantastic Universe, March 1955). In T. E. Dikty, ed. Best Science Fiction Stories and Novels 1956. New York: Frederick Fell, 1956.
Begins with the image of the dangerously radioactive Statue of Liberty being cut up to be towed out and dumped at sea. After a nuclear war which has destroyed half the country, children are born who have higher resistance to radioactivity. A supposed superman turns out to be an alien who takes over the bodies of prominent Earthlings to prevent further nuclear combat.

Jenkins, Will[iam] F[itzgerald] [as Murray Leinster]. Fight for Life: A Complete Novel of the Atomic Age (originally "The Laws of Chance," Startling Stories, March 1947). New York: Crestwood, 1947. Rpt. in Fantastic Stories Magazine, Spring 1954.
After a worldwide nuclear holocaust begun by an unknown power, the battle continues with conventional bombs when the supply of atomic weapons is exhausted. Airborne conquerors work with roving bands of "guerillas" to suppress all attempts at rebuilding civilization. The two-fisted physicist hero discovers a form of uranium irradiated by the atomic bombing which gives its possessor good luck. Duplicating the effect mechanically, he and his allies defeat the guerillas and the mysterious enemy, which--as in The Murder of the U.S.A.--remains unidentified. A classic case of making a silk purse out of a radioactive sow's ear.

___ . The Murder of the U.S.A. New York: Crown, 1946. [According to Tuck, originally in Argosy, 1946.
A surprisingly far-sighted presentation of the theory of deterrence and a system of underground bunkers called "burrows" from which ICBMs and SPAMs ("Self-Propelled Atomic Missiles") are launched. Some nation launches a surprise attack against the U.S., which cannot retaliate until it determines who the aggressor is. The story is told from within one of the burrows. A subordinate mystery is created when the old girlfriend of the protagonist shows up at his burrow and is accused of being a spy (she turns out to be a counterspy). Although this is written in the form of a mystery novel, the mystery focuses on the means by which the guilty nation is identified; but Jenkins never actually names the nation, which saves him the difficulty of providing the solution to a seemingly insoluble problem. Its technical aspects are well thought out; but it is very nationalistic, strongly justifying retaliation, and is not really a good novel.

___ [as Murray Leinster]. "West Wind" (Astounding, March 1948). In Leo Margulies, ed. 3 in l. New York: Pyramid, 1963.
Faced with the prospect of a devastating nuclear war, a small nation decides to evacuate its cities and retreat in the face of the enemy; but the victims have a secret weapon. The conquering troops die horribly from radioactive dust blown silently over them by the west wind.

Jersild, P[er] C. After the Flood. Originally Efter Floden. Albert Bonniers, 1982. Translated from the Swedish by Lö ne Thygesen Blecher and George Blecher. New York: Morrow, 1986.
The thirty-three year-old narrator was born after the holocaust into a depopulated, brutalized world. His harelip is his only deformity in a world in which most of the few surviving women are either infertile or give birth only to terribly deformed babies. He escapes from the gang of pirates where he was forced to have sex with the captain, seeking a better life, but is pursued by them relentlessly. He takes a fertile nun as his lover, but she dies in childbirth. There is a glimmer of hope as a seemingly well-adapted tribe of dark-skinned reindeer herders appear, but they succumb to disease. It seems at the end of the novel that all humans and most other life forms are doomed to extinction. Damage to the ozone layer is described. The author is a physician who says he was deeply impressed by the instructions given him in medical school for dealing with the more serious victims of a nuclear attack: put them out of their misery with an injection. At the Seventh World Congress of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (1987), Jersild spoke movingly of the responsibility of authors to depict accurately the consequences of nuclear war. The novel was an international best-seller, translated into many languages.

Johnson, Annabel and Edgar. The Danger Quotient. New York: Harper & Row, 1984.
A juvenile adventure story set 130 years after World War III, which took place in 1996. A youngster experimentally bred for intelligence is supposed to be at work on the solution of restoring the depleted ozone layer, destroyed by the holocaust. Instead, he invents a time machine which allows him to explore his own ancestry and discover that he himself had been the founder of the project which allowed civilization to survive underground. Both world wars and the Vietnam War are woven into this unusually intelligent exploration of the concept of responsibility.

Johnson, Denis. Fiskadoro. New York: Knopf, 1985.
Man years after "the End of the World" a thirteen-year-old boy is growing up in the quarantined Florida Keys, studying the clarinet with Mr. Cheung, whose messy house looks like a bomb crater, and who suffers from seizures in which an atomic bomb seems to explode in his head. He runs off to join tribe of black mutants, and is initiated by them through penile subincision. He is returned home with most of his memory destroyed by a drug he has been given, and has to be taught to recognize his own mother, who soon thereafter dies agonizingly of breast cancer, which is called "killme" because that is what its victims cry. Most people are unaware of the nuclear war, although one group is reading Frank W. Chinnock's Nagasaki: The Forgotten Bomb. There is a passing reference to "the time when it was cold" which is probably meant to suggest a nuclear winter. Key West is called Twicetown because defective missiles fell there twice and failed to explode. People wear talismans against radioactivity. Mutant beggars roam the landscape. The boy s half-Chinese grandmother who is more than a century old remembers vividly the fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War; and the book ends with her memories of floating in the China Sea, waiting to be rescued. In the background looms th e threat of Cubans, who may invade and take over.

Johnson, George Clayton, and William Nolan. See under Nolan.

Johnson, Ray W. Astera: The Planet That Committed Suicide. New York: Exposition, 1960.
This brief yellow-peril fable is little more than a racist sketch in which a great white scientist learns that the asteroid belt is the aftermath of a suicidal explosion set off by the whites of the planet Astera who had made the mistake of letting their bloodthirsty inferior races achieve enough knowledge and power to threaten them. The Astera scientists had moved beyond ordinary nuclear weapons, however, using "cosmic" energy.

Johnson, S[imon] S[igvart]. "The House by the Crab Apple Tree" (Fantasy and Science Fiction, February, 1964). In Avram Davidson, ed. The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction, l4th Series. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1965. New York: Ace, 1968. London: Gollancz, 1966. Also in James Sallis, ed. The War Book. London: Hart-Davis, 1969.
A woman and her daughter are besieged by brutal men in a barbaric postholocaust future (probably the result of a nuclear war, since one of the men is horribly deformed, but the war is not otherwise specified). The story is more effective than most stories of its type because its sadism, rape, and cannibalism are not softened by the sort of fake medieval trappings common to New Dark Age fiction. This is not a new culture, but the end of culture.

Johnstone, William W. [Ashes #1]: Out of the Ashes. New York: Zebra, 1983.
The first in a series of survivalist novels even more poorly written than Jerry Ahern's, made up of equal parts combat, sex (much of it rape), and right-wing editorializing against gun control, the IRS and Big Government in general, the ACLU, unions, welfare, and disarmament. When a stringent gun control act is passed, a conspiracy is hatched by a portion of the army to precipitate a Russo-Chinese atomic war. The result is a holocaust, but the leader of the conspiracy envisions a better, sterner world reborn from the ashes of the old. Indeed, his heir apparent, the hero of the series, assembles an army and sets up a redneck utopia in the west. There he deals out frontier justice, prescribes universal military service, and reorganizes the economy along lines that purport to be conservative, but which remarkably resemble socialism in many respects: he bans unions but endorses worker-ownership and profit-sharing. The author creates a set of enemies to his right who are bigoted racists, including the formerly liberal senator who now leads what is left of the legitimate government. Although Johnstone constantly denounces racism, he seems unable to write about the subject in any but the most rigidly stereotypical ways. His utopian ideals are an odd conglomeration: stern discipline of the young, legalized prostitution and pornography, equal rights for women, mandatory government identification cards, capital punishment, and strict control of the press to guarantee objectivity. On the issue of religion in the public schools he is inconsistent: in this volume he seems to favor it, in the sequel to oppose it. As in most sexually oriented action fiction, rape is deplored but pruriently depicted in graphic detail. The hero has pretensions to culture: he enjoys classical music such as the "symphony" "Wagner's Ring" and is capable of recognizing a volume of verse by the famous poet "Wadsworth." In the end the vicious U.S. government conquers the utopia, and the struggle must begin anew.

___ . [Ashes #2]: Fire in the Ashes. New York: Zebra, 1984.
Incorporating long quotations from Out of the Ashes. this sequel consists mostly of battles between the utopians and the government, leading to the triumph of the right-wing leader, who attempts to impose a larger version of his utopian experiment on the rest of the country. His enemies build atomic bombs and set one off in Iowa. As the nation collapses into chaos, giant rats and mutated human monsters menace the survivors.

___ [Ashes #3]: Anarchy in the Ashes New York: Zebra, 1984.
In 2001 Ben Raines has established a new tri-state utopia in the South. He forms a coalition with black separatists and a Chicano group to battle a bizarre Communist-Fascist-Klan axis whose main force consists of the International Peace Force from Russia by way of Iceland. The villains plot to breed most minorities out of existence, retaining only a few to be mated with mutants, their offspring to provide a subhuman slave race. Toward the end of the novel Raines begins to be widely worshipped. Underground refugees called the "People of Darkness" are referred to for the first time. As usual, there is abundant sadistic sex, especially directed against children, graphically depicted and fervently deplored. A fourth volume, Blood in the Ashes, appeared in 1985.

___ . [Ashes #3]: Blood in the Ashes New York: Zebra, 1985.
Fourth volume in the Ashes series. Ben Raines battles thugs led by a vicious pedophile who is allied with a religious cult led by a sadistic former prostitute. He also has to deal forcefully with subversion in his own ranks. He becomes involved in a Florida slave revolt and then he ads out on his own to write a book.

___ . [Ashes #5]: Alone in the Ashes New York: Zebra, 1985.
Fifth volume in the Ashes series. Ben links up with a young woman battling gangs in the Southwest. He kills hordes of villains--most of them child rapists--single-handed. Sam Hartline, now allied with the Russian General Striganov, attacks his hideout, wounds Ben and seizes his woman friend. Several efforts are made to refute the impression that the hero is a racist.

___ . [Ashes #6]: Wind in the Ashes New York: Zebra, 1986.
Sixth volume in the Ashes series. Ben battles three groups: the Islamic People's Army (terrorists idealizing Khaddafi), Sam Hartline, and the Russians. The residents of Santa Rosa, California, bluff would-be attackers using empty missile silos. Ben wins his battles and personally kills Hartline. As usual, there is an enormous amount of child rape and sodomy.

___ . [Ashes #7]: Smoke from the Ashes New York: Zebra, 1987.

___ . [Ashes #8]: Danger in the Ashes New York: Zebra, 1988.

___ . [Ashes #9]: Valor in the Ashes. New York: Zebra, 1988.

___ . [Ashes #10]: Trapped in the Ashes. New York: Zebra, 1989.

___ . [Ashes #11]: Death in the Ashes. New York: Zebra, 1989.

___ . [Ashes #12]: Survival in the Ashes. New York: Zebra, 1990.

___ . [Ashes #13]: Fury in the Ashes. New York: Zebra, 1991.

___ . [Ashes #14]: Courage in the Ashes. New York: Zebra, 1991.

___ . [Ashes #15]: Terror in the Ashes. New York: Zebra, 1992.

___ . [Ashes #16]: Vengeance in the Ashes. New York: Zebra, 1993.

___ . [Ashes #17]: Battle in the Ashes. New York: Zebra, 1993.

___ . [Ashes #18]: Flames from the Ashes. New York: Zebra, 1993.

___ . [Ashes #19]: Treason in the Ashes. New York: Zebra, 1993.

___ . [Ashes #20]: Treason in the Ashes. New York: Zebra, 1994.

___ . [Ashes #21]: Treason in the Ashes. New York: Zebra, 1994.

___ . [Ashes #22]: Chaos in the Ashes. New York: Zebra, 1996.

___ . [Ashes #23]: Slaughter in the Ashes. New York: Zebra, 1997.

___ . [Ashes #24]: Judgement in the Ashes. New York: Zebra, 1997.

___ . [Ashes #25]: Ambush in the Ashes. New York: Zebra, 1998.

___ . [Ashes #26]: From the Ashes: America Reborn: The Complete Guide to the Ashes Series and the Tri-States Manifesto. New York: Zebra, 1998.

___ . [Ashes #27]: Triumph in the Ashes: America Reborn. New York: Zebra, 1998.

___ . [Ashes #28]: Hatred in the Ashes: America Reborn. New York: Zebra, 1999.

___ . [Ashes #29]: Standoff in the Ashes: America Reborn. New York: Zebra, 1999.

___ . [Ashes #30]: Tyranny in the Ashes: America Reborn. New York: Zebra, 2000.

Jones, Alice Eleanor. "Created He Them" (Fantasy and Science Fiction, June 1955).In Anthony Boucher, ed. The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction, Fifth Series. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1956. New York: Ace, 1961.
In a "bombed-out world" where most people are sterile or can produce only deformed offspring, normal children are rounded up at age three to be raised by the state. A woman who can bear such children barters with less fortunate women, letting them hug the children in exchange for groceries and household goods to satisfy her brutal, selfish husband.

Jones, Dennis. Barbarossa Red. Boston: Little, Brown, 1985.
In the wake of the negotiated mutual withdrawal of Russian and American intermediate-range nuclear missiles from Europe, the KGB, using its agents placed high in the West German government, maneuvers the General Secretary of the Soviet Union into launching a conventional assault on Germany. After a brief period of success, punctuated by the use of one battlefield nuclear weapon on each side, the plot is uncovered and foiled.

___. Rubicon One. New York: Beaufort, 1983. London: Hutchinson, 1983.
The Pakistanis have cruise missiles armed with nuclear bombs, which they share with Libya, which it in turn shares with Syria. Meanwhile, the KGB chief seizes control of the USSR. Syria launches a nuclear attack on Israel. Two bombs explode but not on target. The Israelis halt supporting Russian tank attack with a nuclear weapon. Another warhead is detonated in Damascus. The American President ignores a Pentagon supercomputer s advice to launch a first strike, and instead in order to gain time for negotiation uses the Air Force to shoot down Israeli planes which are on their way to attack Syria. An all-out holocaust is averted at the last minute.

Jones, Dennis Feltham. Colossus. London: Hart-Davis, 1966. London: Pan, 1968. New York: Putnam, 1967. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1967. New York: Berkley, 1967.
A supercomputer is put in complete charge of the nation's nuclear arms but promptly links up with its Russian counterpart and determines to rule the Earth. It punishes attempts to tamper with it by launching nuclear warheads, some of which are harmlessly intercepted. Two thousands Siberians die, however, and Los Angeles is annihilated. The film version is entitled The Forbin Project (1970). Compare Albert Compton Friborg, "Careless Love." There are two sequels with themes unrelated to nuclear war: The Fall of Colossus (New York: Putnam, 1974; New York: Berkley, 1975), and Colossus and the Crab (New York: Berkley, 1977).

Jones, Gwyneth. Divine Endurance. English ed.? New York: Arbor House, 1987.
A young girl raised in a land surrounded by poisonous deserts and glass mountains is led by her intelligent and immortal cat on a long quest in a neo-medieval far-future Southeast Asia, searching for her twin brother. Only a few reminiscences by the cat near the beginning of the novel suggest that the radically transformed world which provides the setting for these adventures developed in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust.

Jones, Mervyn. On the Last Day. London: Cape, 1958.
Set in 1959. Britain has been conquered by the USSR and China after tactical nuclear weapons failed to stop them. No one dared to use the strategic weapons for fear of setting off a holocaust. The story is set among the officials of the British government in exile in Canada. The scientist hero falls in love with a young woman who turns out to be an agent for a revolutionary Qubecois group called the Fils de Montcalm (FM). He discovers that Britain has completed the building of nuclear-armed ICBMs which it plans to launch against the enemy, beginning--he is sure--a full-scale nuclear war. The young woman meditates eloquently on the futility and stupidity of nuclear war while she is in prison, arguing that war has lost its meaning in the nuclear age; the bomb is a weapon of genocide, comparable to the Nazi gas chambers, but more efficient. A nuclear war is self-defeating, she points out, since it destroys the very assets one tries to gain through conquest in a conventional war. But she rests her case on her insistence that nuclear war is not war at all, but mere mass murder on a global scale. It is commonplace in popular fiction generally and nuclear war fiction in particular for an older man to be seduced by a sexually active, attractive younger woman; but in this case the affair is revealed to have been in part motivated by the desire of the FM to infiltrate the ranks of the scientists. However, the young woman genuinely falls in love with the scientist, while he in turn is more than half persuaded by her arguments. In the end, they remain on opposite sides, the uprising of the FM fails, and the ICBMs are launched, with what result we do not learn.

Jones, Raymond F. "Pete Can Fix It" (Astounding, February 1947). In Groff Conklin, ed. Science Fiction Adventures in Dimension. New York: Vanguard, 1953. New York: Berkley, 1965. As Adventures in Dimension. London: Grayson, 1955.
A man from fifteen years in the future tries to prevent the nuclear holocaust of his own time by transporting unwary travelers into that devastated era to see for themselves what lies in store for the world unless the course of events is altered.

___ . Renaissance (Astounding, July, August, September, October 1944). New York: Gnome, 1951. Rpt. as Man of Two Worlds. New York: Pyramid, 1963.
Following the great war that ended civilization, Earth scientists established contact with Kronweld, a parallel world where the best human minds were sent to preserve and develop scientific knowledge, but where--twelve hundred years later--such knowledge, including the knowledge of atomic power, is the monopoly of a dictatorial elite. This enclave of brilliant but enslaved humanity is surrounded by a belt of lethally radioactive wasteland, and the people themselves are rendered sterile by radioactivity. The vicious Statists who dominate Earth decide to destroy Kronweld, and an all-out war ensues which involves the use of atomic beam weapons. Many are killed by radiation which "put them to sleep by mercifully burning out their nerve cells before it baked their bodies to lumps of carbon." Kronweld retaliates, als using atomic weapons. At its height the conflict sets off a volcano on Kronweld which sends "radioactive radiation" flaming across the landscape. The lesson of this struggle is said to be the necessity to revive and develop science and reactivate the ancient technology.

___ . The Secret People. London: Avalon, 1956. As The Deviates. Boston: Beacon, 1959.
Deliberately spread radioactive dust causes widespread mutations after a nuclear war, resulting in a strict dictatorship which imposes genetic screening and compulsory conception by artificial insemination of those few women capable of breeding. Only 1 percent of the men are fertile and only 12 percent of the women, who are forced to bear twelve babies each. Large areas of the cities are permanently radioactive, and the inhabitable regions are filled with rampant crime and violence. One of the most common forms of crime is the kidnapping and sale of children. In an emotional reaction to the violence of the nuclear war, firearms have been banned, but crossbows and knives are common. The protagonist is a telepathic mutant. He manages to smuggle his semen into sperm banks and create a whole new race called "The Children" who have set up a colony under his direction with a view to gradually phasing out and replacing the human race. His offspring rebel, however, deciding instead to construct atomic-powered rockets with which they can leave Earth and colonize space. The ideals of the protagonist, who sees The Children as the caretakers and heirs of humanity even as he plots humanity's extinction, are confused to say the least. The climax of the novel, in which he blows up the rocket and kills his son in a duel, only to decide that he has been wrong all along, is equally ambiguous. In a rage, he concludes that the two forms of humanity cannot coexist. Nonetheless, the work ends with a mysterious psychic message from the spirit of his dead son, reinforcing his own earlier point of view: "The Earth is man's, not the stars. Not until he has made the earth his own. He would die amid the splendor of the golden worlds if he went out to them before he learned to walk upon the clay that is his own." The sentiment seems noble enough, but in the context of the narrative it is quite arbitrary. The antagonists seem to have adopted each other's views for no very good reason other than that they feel sorry for what they have done; the author apparently has no strong convictions on these issues and simply thrashes about for a means of concluding his novel. Yet with whichever side of the debate the reader chooses to identify, not for a moment does the novel grant the possibility of siding with ordinary people against The Children. The human race is either villainous or pathetic: it is not admirable. The Frankenstein myth undergoes a strange transformation in such works: the hubris involved in the creation of a new type of human being is punished, but the experiment is successful nevertheless.

Joshi, Ruchir: The Last Jet-Engine Laugh. London: Flamingo, 2001.
As part of the furturistic frame-story of this complex novel about an Indian photographer it is mentioned in passing that in 2012 a terrorist nuclear bomb destroyed South Bombay, prompting a rogue Indian missile to retaliate with a bomb against Karachi. Both sides have been forced into nuclear disarmament by international pressures, but continue their conflict by conventional means.

Judge Dredd. See Mills, Pat, The Cursed Earth.

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