Nuclear Holocausts: Atomic War in Fiction

by Paul Brians

Nuclear Holocausts Bibliography: N

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Neal, H. C. "Who Shall Dwell . . ." (Playboy, July 1962). In Editors of Playboy. Last Train to Limbo. Chicago?: Playboy Press, 1971. Also in Editors of Playboy. Playboy Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Chicago: Playboy Press, 1966. Also in Leo P. Kelley, ed. Themes in Science Fiction. McGraw-Hill, 1972.
A man and his wife heroically give up their places in their fallout shelter to neighborhood children. It is revealed in the last two paragraphs that they are Russians. They are killed by an American counterattack launched in response to a first strike by the USSR.
Neville, Kris. "Cold War" (Astounding, October l949). In John W. Campbell Jr., ed. The Astounding Science Fiction Anthology. New York: Simon & Schuster, l952. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, l953. New York: Berkley, l956. Also in John W. Campbell, ed. The Second Astounding Science Fiction Anthology. London: Grayson, l954. London: Four Square, l965. New York: Berkley, l965. Also in John W. Campbell, ed. Analog 5. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, l966. London: Dobson, l968. Rpt. as Countercommandment. New York: Curtis, n. d. Also in Robert Hoskins, ed. First Step Outward. New York: Dell, l969. Also in Anthony R. Lewis, ed. The Best of Astounding. New York: Baronet, 1978
Nuclear-armed space stations prove to be a dangerous deterrent because the men who have the power to destroy the world tend to crack under the strain, feeling a compulsion to set off a nuclear war. [More & More]
Nevins, Allan. "Free Thoughts, Free Words." See under Collier's
Newman, Bernard. The Blue Ants: The First Authentic Account of the Russian-Chinese War of l970. London: Robert Hale, l962. London: Digit, 1963
An atomic age Fu Manchu named Feng Fong plots a war between the United States and USSR in which each will destroy the other. The first half of the novel is essentially a survey of post-World War II history, and much of the rest is a plotless recounting of international incidents such as a nuclear attack on Egypt by the Israelis and a Russian attempt to destroy the economy of the West by cutting off all imports. The Russians are at first too canny to fall into the Chinese trap, ordering their commanders to refrain from the use of tactical nuclear weapons for fear of precipitating a holocaust; but when the Chinese conquer Kirghiz, torturing and publically strangling the Russian leaders there, the USSR bombs Peking. This is just what Feng Fong wanted, because some Americans in Peking are also killed, along with millions of Chinese, and he is convinced the United States will enter the war to avenge their deaths. The Chinese have perfected a dastardly technique of disabling Russian rockets en route so that their bombs explode over their own territory. Small aircraft then spray atomic dust over Russian cities, nuclear suitcase bombs are planted, and the oil fields treated with radioactive cobalt dust. In a now familiar motif, Russia's empire begins to break up as her satellites rebel. When the Russians appeal for aid to NATO, the United States dictates the breakup of the Soviet bloc through universal free elections, including in Russia. A young woman, revolted at being used as a breeder in a Communist eugenics plan, escapes with her lover to reveal to the world that Feng Fong had deliberately allowed the bombs to fall on China. The fiend is foiled as "protonic bombs" are dropped from American satellites on Feng Fong's headquarters and the escaping villain is assassinated by two Chinese airmen. Their will to resist sapped by news of his perfidy, the Chinese collapse and the country is taken over by the United Nations. All of Newman's novels are anti-Communist to an extreme degree, but nothing surpasses the cold war hysteria of The Blue Ants. Compare Hackett's Third World War books.
___ . Draw the Dragon's Teeth. London: Robert Hale, l967.
After Egypt and Israel hit each other with nuclear bombs, the United Nations decides on world disarmament. A secret organization is formed to smuggle nuclear bombs into a reluctant China to destroy its plutonium plant. A typical example of the muscular disarmament school of spy thriller in which conventional pacifists are relentlessly mocked and peace is achieved by the use of overwhelming force. [38]
___ . Shoot! London: Gollancz, l949
A classic and complex cold war scenario which begins with sabotage at Oak Ridge by secret Russian agents including one named Rosenbaum. (In l952 Newman published Soviet Atomic Spies, which includes a detailed account of the Rosenberg affair.) The plot is complicated by the fact that the Germans are planning to cause an East-West war which will leave them masters of Europe. The Russians have the bomb but can't control it, so they launch a conventional invasion of Western Europe, overrunning France and Germany and invading Ireland by submarine. Many Americans advocate use of the atomic bomb; others protest, misled by subversive-backed pacifist groups. An American war correspondent, witnessing the result of an earthquake in a Turkish oil field, mistakenly tells the world that the Russians have used nuclear weapons, a report which causes the U.S. to retaliate with a bomber strike against the Soviet Union. One of the bomber crews consists of a Communist cell, however, and they deliver a sample weapon into Russian hands, where it becomes the prototype of the bombs they use later in the war. When their oil fields were bombed, the Russians spread propaganda emphasizing the horror of atomic warfare, but hastily withdraw it when they learn that the population is becoming fearful rather than angry. The president rejects bacteriological weapons because they cannot be controlled. The Russians, lacking ICBMs, destroy most of New York with an atomic bomb smuggled into the harbor aboard a submarine, and planes hit English cities. Only "Communist fellow travelers" protest the use of the bomb after this point.
     The conventional war drags on for months in Europe, featuring many similarities to World War II, including an American invasion in the south, a ferocious underground French resistance, and a treasonous Englishman broadcasting for the Russians modelled on Lord Haw Haw. The Americans play a dominant role in the war, with the British very much subordinate. U.S. technology develops apace, with atomic grenades, anti-aircraft shells and rifle bullets being introduced before the war's end. A bizarre twist is given to the plot as Hitler's voice is heard on German radio, urging resistance (it is never made clear whether or not the voice is an impersonator's). Crop failures and widespread cancer are mentioned, but little detail is given on the effects of atomic warfare. Like Hackett's books, this is a bare strategic outline without real characters. A decisive tactic is the release of Russian prisoners, who carry word of the Good Life back to the motherland, prompting dissension. The British take Paris, Russia proclaims a parliamentary democracy, and the West is triumphant. In a bizarre final chapter the story we have just read turns out to be the outline of a just-completed film which is being discussed by representatives of various groups. This twist allows the author to review his own book, quite favorably. The courageous filmmaker stands up to the censors, pacifists, and cowardly executives and will release his movie, warning of the danger of atomic war. Like the Collier's scenario, Shoot! is more a fantasy than a warning. Although this is not made explicit, the novel's firm rejection of arms control and its portrayal of the Reds as suicidally fanatical villains suggest that the "solution" to the danger of such a war is a preemptive strike before the Russians have acquired the ability to retaliate

Newton, Julius P. The Forgotten Race. London: Brown, Watson, 1963. New York: Arcadia, 1967.
An amateurish, old-fashioned novel which tells how the inhabitants of the fifth planet of the sun launched settlements on Mars and Venus just before their home world was blown into fragments by a nuclear war, creating the asteroid belt. The survivors establish utopias on their new worlds. Thousands of years later Earth people visiting Mars are told they must learn the philosophy of these creatures to prevent them from blowing themselves up in a nuclear war. Compare Alfred Michael Young, The Aster Disaster: A Tale of Two Planets.

Nichols, Robert [Malise Bowyer] and Maurice Browne. Wings Over Europe: A Dramatic Extravaganza On a Pressing Theme. New York: Covici Friede, 1929. London: Chatto & Windus, 1932. Also in Montrose J. Moses, ed. Dramas of Modernism and Their Forerunners. Boston: Little, Brown, 1931. Also in Virginia Woodson Church, ed. Curtain! A Book of Modern Plays. New York: Harper, 1932. First staged in New York, 1928.
The son of the prime minister discovers how to liberate atomic energy, but the cabinet tries to suppress his efforts. He decides to destroy the Earth, but is killed by a truck. [More]

Nicolson, Harold [George]. Public Faces. London: Constable, l932. Harmondsworth: Penguin, l944. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, l933
In the midst of a Middle Eastern power struggle, the British develop unexpectedly powerful bombs and intercontinental rockets. The latter are sent over enemy and allied territories alike to demonstrate Britain's might, and a test bomb accidentally destroys a U.S. cruiser, a United Fruit ship, and much of Florida. A renegade minister boldly seizes the initiative in the furor which follows and imposes universal disarmament. The earliest atomic muscular disarmament novel.

Niesewand, Peter. Scimitar. London: Granada, 1983. Rowman and Littlefield, 1984.
Russians use neutron bombs in Afghanistan.

Nilsson, Troy. The Hiroshima Stones. Brentwood, Tenn.: Nilsson Media Mission, 2002.
An earnest but amateurish and incoherent self-published protest novel featuring a reluctant Nazi who experiences the Hiroshima bombing and later goes on a crusade to prevent nuclear war by intervening at crucial points in the Cold War, using Nazi loot to finance his efforts. The back cover bears enthusiastic blurbs attributed to nonexistent publications.

Nishizaki, Yoshinobu. Star Blazers. Originally Space Cruiser Yamato. Trans. William Ross. Tokyo: West Cape Co., 1983
A series of volumes reproducing frames from a highly popular Japanese animated television science fiction series in which Earth is viciously bombed in 2199 by aliens, forcing humanity to move underground. The story concerns the mission of the space cruiser Argo to fetch cosmic DNA which will remove the plague of radiation from the planet. The first three volumes, published in 1983, are l: Message from Iscandar, 2: Battle of Pluto, and 3: The Argo Undergoes Severe Trials. The Star Blazers serial has frequently been shown on American television

Niven, Larry and Jerry Pournelle. Lucifer's Hammer. New York: Playboy Press, 1977. New York: Fawcett, 1979. London: Futura, 1978
When a massive comet strikes the Earth, it is feared that an East-West nuclear war will be triggered; but instead the Chinese launch their missiles against the Soviet Union, which retaliates in kind. The U.S. joins the USSR in its attack on China. This conflict is a very minor incident in the catastrophe created by the collision. The novel editorializes in favor of nuclear power and against environmentalism, justifies authoritarianism and slavery in extreme circumstances

___. The Mote in God's Eye. New York: Simon & Schuster, l974. New York: Pocket Books, l975. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, l975. London: Orbit, l976
It is suggested late in the novel that a race of aliens called "Moties" must have fought with atomic weapons in the distant past

Nolan, William F. Logan's World. New York: Bantam, 1977. Sequel to Logan's Run.
Ten years later Logan, his wife, and their son return to Earth to find the cities have been destroyed and that vicious gangs roam the landscape. The son is killed, and Logan believes his wife dead as well, when he seeks out a glowing radioactive psychic named Andan near the ruins of San Francisco, which sank beneath the waves in the great earthquake of 1988. Andan's blind daughters tempt Logan to gain inner sight by blinding himself, but he resists when he learns his wife is still alive. The rest of the book is a series of chase and capture scenes ending in their reunion and the definitive destruction of The Thinker, which the villain has sought to restore. Much emphasis on psychedelic drugs

Nolan, William and George Clayton Johnson. Logan's Run. New York: Dial, 1967. New York: Bantam, 1976. Sequel: Logan's World
Although the cover of the book mentions the twenty-third century as the novel's setting, the only date given in the text is 2072, which seems more probable. A youth rebellion in the year 2000 led to the dropping of a tactical bomb on the Smithsonian Institution (the area has been rendered tropical by the lingering radiation stored in tidal salts under Washington, D.C.). Aside from this one inexplicable act, no nuclear weapons were used. Young people prevailed in their war with older people, but, then faced with an overpopulation problem, they instituted a bizarre regime in which everyone is killed at age twenty-one. Those who try to escape this fate are called "runners"; the plot concerns a police agent who becomes a runner himself. Society is ruled over by a supercomputer called "The Thinker." The hero defeats The Thinker and flees with his lover to a space station near Mars which provides sanctuary. A typical crackpot dystopia crossed with a Wizard of Oz-like quest story, loaded with inconsistencies. The novel is more violent, more sexual, and more varied in setting than the 1976 film based on it. The paperback edition contains colored stills from the movie.

Norton, André [born Alice Mary Norton]. Sea Siege. New York: Harcourt Brace, l957. New York: Ace, l962. Bound with The Eye of the Monster. N.Y.: Fawcett, l980
During a nuclear war, scientists in the Caribbean battle mutated sea monsters which may have been created by earlier atomic bomb testing. Strictly a view of the Apocalypse from the periphery; but one character pauses to muse, "It's the little things you miss first . . . no more zippers, coke, or disk jockeys--not in this lifetime. The very props of civilization come to dust!" Americans rescue the crew of a Russian sub. When a Caribbean native objects to the learning which created the bombs a scientist replies that human curiosity is innate and necessary: "That knowledge which made the bombs gave us the atomic motors which have kept this base going on since the bust-up." It is suggested that the battle against amphibious octopi and other new monsters may unite humanity

___ . Star Man's Son. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1952. New York: Fawcett, 1978. London: Staples, 1952. London: Gollancz, 1968. Rpt. as Daybreak--2250 A.D. New York: Ace, n.d. Bound with Lewis Padgett, Beyond Earth's Gates. New York: Ace, 1962
Two hundred years after the Great Blow-up a young mutant (silver hair, night vision, superkeen hearing), persecuted by his tribe, sets out to prove himself worthy of being a Star Man (guide to the plunder of ruined cities). He battles with wild pigs, is wounded in the leg by a boar's tusk like Odysseus, and finds an apparently unlooted city. He roams the streets clogged with rusting wrecks, scorning coins and spoiled foods but prizing books, maps, pencils, and art objects. He rescues a man of an enemy tribe from a pit-trap, only to discover that they are under attack by the ferocious mutants called "beast-things" who inhabit the city, and are caught in a battle between the latter and mutated lizards. Freed by a fire, they are captured again by a rival tribe. The novel ends as the idea of a pan-human alliance against the beast-things is accepted and he is at last granted the recognition he has sought. The law banning mutants like himself is changed

Norway, Nevil Shute. See Shute, Nevil

Nourse, Alan E. Raiders from the Rings. New York: McKay, 1962. New York: Pyramid, 1963. London: Faber, 1965
A juvenile novel in which descendants of the crews of space stations belonging to Russia and America and who refused to participate in the Great War on Earth have become Viking-style raiders after supplies and women (all space children are born male). It is finally revealed that aliens called the "Searchers" who roam the universe, fostering intelligence are responsible for influencing the spacers to abstain from participating in the ancient nuclear war. The two sides are finally reconciled

Nowlan, Philip Francis. Armageddon 2419. (originally "Armageddon 2419," Amazing, August 1928, and "The Airlords of Han," Amazing, March 1929). New York: Avalon, 1962. New York: Ace, 1963.
The original source for the Buck Rogers comic strip. Includes a variety of atomic weapons and devices in the battle against the evil oriental Han.

Noyes, Pierrepont B[urt]. The Pallid Giant: A Tale of Yesterday and Tomorrow. New York: Revell, 1927.
As scientists develop a new death ray which threatens contemporary civilization, explorers discover an account of the destruction of an earlier civilization through an atomic weapon called "Klepton-Holorif." At the novel's end the explorers wonder whether the lesson of this ancient tragedy will prevent another cataclysmic war

Nunes, Claude. Inherit the Earth. Bound with Mack Reynolds: Dawnman Planet. New York: Ace, 1966
Miniature radiation-resistant telepathic androids inherit the Earth after a nuclear war, when the remnants of humanity have fled for the stars. They slowly learn to be self-sufficient and survive, despite their lack of humanity's aggressive instincts. When they discover a few surviving humans on an island, they abandon them. In the end they have plans to go to the stars themselves, perhaps to find humans and teach them true maturity.

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