Nuclear Holocausts: Atomic War in Fiction

by Paul Brians

Nuclear Holocausts Bibliography: P

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P  R S T U V W Y Z

Table of Contents

Padgett, Lewis. See under Kuttner, Henry.

Paine, Lauran. This Time Tomorrow. London: Consul, 1963.
Unavailable for review. See Tuck.

Palmer, David R. Emergence (portions appeared in Analog, January 1981 and February 1983). New York: Bantam, 1984.
Homo superior is the sole survivor of a nuclear holocaust. The first part of the novel concerns the efforts of a brilliant eleven-year-old girl to find others of her kind, and her struggles to defend her virginity from the males she meets. The second part depicts the effort to defuse a Russian doomsday device left in orbit. Most of the novel is narrated by the heroine, supposedly from her shorthand notes (the author is a court reporter), and the style is unpleasantly telegraphic. She is reminiscent of a typically insufferable Heinlein omnicompetent optimistic superhuman. Compare with Henry Kuttner, Mutant. The possibility of nuclear winter is touched on.

Palumbo, Dennis. City Wars. New York: Bantam, l979.
After a nuclear war in which the countryside is devastated (even mountains fall in "The Levelling"), life goes on only in a few surviving cities which secede from the union, becoming city-states. San Francisco and Los Angeles attack Dallas, leading to a catastrophic Great War. The novel is set in Chicago, one of the few remaining urban centers. Mutants, called "lunks," form a new lower class which plots revolt. The protagonist, accompanied by a sort of bionic woman named Cassandra who wreaks havoc and makes love with equal abandon, discovers that the city is being bombed by automatic machinery in New York, and that Chicago's leader is bent on wholesale vengeance which will likely destroy all remaining life. In the end the two protagonists seek shelter in an underground bunker (ironically, an unused radioactive waste disposal receptacle), but there seems little hope that they will survive.

Pangborn, Edgar. The Company of Glory. New York: Pyramid, l975.
Set in the postholocaust world of Davy, forty-seven years after the twenty-minute war. The hero is a storyteller modeled on Mark Twain. His exile with a group of misfits provides the frame for several tales, many of them describing the war and its immediate aftermath. Plenty of horror is depicted: for instance, the ravages of breast cancer with no surgeons available. Slavery and feudalism have been reintroduced. At the end the hero dies, leaving behind his daughter as a hope for the future: . Has the same emphasis on human relationships and feelings as the other books in the series, but less of their humor. [More]

___. Davy (expanded from "The Golden Horn," Fantasy and Science Fiction, February l962, and "A War of No Consequence," Fantasy and Science Fiction, March l962.). New York: St. Martin's Press, l964. New York: Ballantine, l964. London: Dobson, l967.
The first in a series of novels and stories set in a neofeudal, post-nuclear war age. A young, courageous rebel leaves his narrow-minded, bigoted village, and has a long series of adventures. Very humorous, sometimes moving. In Magill, 1, 493-96.

___. "The Freshman Angle." In Roger Elwood, ed. Ten Tomorrows. Greenwich, Conn.: Fawcett, 1973.
Eight centuries after The Collapse, a student is writing a paper on the 20th century. The cause of the nuclear exchange remains a mystery. The Vietnam War is mentioned.

___. The Judgment of Eve. New York: Simon & Schuster, l966. New York: Dell, l966. London: Rapp & Whiting, l968.
Part of the Davy series. Set much earlier than Davy. Based on a familiar fairy tale motif. A woman who survived the nuclear war sends three suitors for her daughter's hand into the world to discover what love is. The daughter is none too subtly named Eve Newman. Manages to be both slightly sentimental and tough-minded, conveying the desolation and loss caused by the war even while it explores its love theme.

___. "Mam Sola's House." In Roger Elwood, ed. Continuum 4. New York: Berkley, l975.
A bawdy trifle set in the world of Davy, with no particular bearing on nuclear war.

___. "A Master of Babylon" (originally "The Music Master of Babylon," Galaxy, November 1954). In H. L. Gold, ed. The World That Couldn't Be and Eight Other Novelets from Galaxy. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1959. Also in James Blish, ed. New Dreams This Morning. New York: Ballantine, 1966. Also in Edmund Crispin, ed. Best SF 7. London: Faber, 1970. Also in Walter M. Miller, Jr. and Martin H. Greenberg, eds. Beyond Armageddon: Twenty-one Sermons to the Dead. New York: Donald I. Fine, 1985.
In 2096 an aged concert pianist has lived in solitude for twenty-five years in the Hall of Music of the Manhattan Museum of Natural History in the wake of a devastating civil war involving nuclear weapons and neurotoxins. A primitive young boy and girl appear, seeking an elder to marry them. Instead, he performs for them the great sonata of a twentieth century master, but they flee. He pursues them in a canoe and the story ends with him drifting helplessly out to sea, doomed to die. The cult of Abraham and his wheel which is featured in the Davy cycle is touched on.

___. Still I Persist in Wondering. New York: Dell, l978.
Collects several stories from the Davy series.
     "The Children's Crusade." Originally in Roger Elwood, ed. Continuum l. New York: Putnam, 1974. New York: Berkley, 1975. The story of the founder of the anti-technological religion which dominates the world of Davy. Preacher Abraham is a saintly protector of mutated children who faces martyrdom, nailed to a wheel. We know from reading the other tales that his beliefs are later perverted into their opposite, with "mues" (mutants) being relentlessly exterminated.
     "Harper Conan and Singer David." Originally in George Zebrowski, ed. Tomorrow Today. Santa Cruz, Calif.: Unity Press, l975. A young singer leads his blind harper friend in search of rumored healers in Binton Ruins. The doctors there confess that the knowledge they need to heal him and others was lost during the war and that resentful would-be patients hound them from place to place. Conan soothes the waiting mob with his playing, and one of them who ascribes her cure to his music writes a famous song in praise of him; but the song's theme is resignation rather than triumph.
     "The Legend of Hombas." Originally in Roger Elwood, ed. Continuum II. New York: Putnam, 1974. New York: Berkley, 1975). A century and a half after the war an old man grieves over the death of a newborn baby and is haunted by thoughts of the Red Bear, death. When he finds the Red Bear, it is caught in a pit trap and he concludes that death being vanquished, he will live forever. Unwilling to face this prospect, he frees the bear and waits for it to kill him.
     "Tiger Boy." Originally in Terry Carr, ed. Universe 2. New York: Ace, l972). The mute boy Bruno is charmed away by the mysterious boy who wanders with a tiger, playing his pipes, leading to death those he thinks desire it. The boy and the tiger are hunted down and killed.
     "The Witches of Nupal." Originally in Roger Elwood, ed. Continuum III. New York: Putnam, l974. New York: Berkley, 1975. Three centuries after the nuclear war an old man recalls his participation in a teenage witches' coven. The villagers fell prey to hysteria like that which caused the Salem witch trials. The idealistic young adepts rescued a harmless old woman accused of witchcraft. When they learned that their leader has killed one girl and wants to sacrifice another, they rebelled and stoned him to death.
     "My Brother Leopold." Originally in Terry Carr, ed. An Exaltation of Stars. New York: Simon & Schuster, l973. New York: Pocket Books, l974). Orphaned when his mother gives birth to a deformed child, a boy grows up to become a pacifist and spiritual leader. His life, martyrdom, and beatification are closely patterned after those of Joan of Arc. This story contains the phrase used as the epigraph for the volume: "And still I persist in wondering whether folly must always be our nemesis."
     "The Night Wind." (Originally in Terry Carr, ed. Universe 5. New York: Random House, l973. New York: Popular Library, l975). A fifteen-year-old boy despised as a "mue" (mutant) simply because he is a homosexual seeks death until he learns through aiding an elderly woman that life is worth living.

___. "The World Is a Sphere." Originally in Terry Carr, ed. Universe 3. New York: Random House, l973. New York: Popular Library, l975.
Intelligent, long-lived, dwarfed "musons" are held in slavery in the southern empire of Misipa. Hope for a voyage of exploration based on the discovery of an ancient globe revealing that the world is round is dashed as the ignorant, bigoted Emperor consoldiates his power and destroys the last remnants of the preceding Republic in a sequence parallel to the history of ancient Rome. Set in the Davy world.

Pausewang, Gudrun. The Last Children of Schevenborn. Trans. from the German by Norman Watt. (Orig. Ravensburg: Otto Maier Verlag, 1983 as Die Letzten Kinder von Schewenborn.) Saskatoon, Saskatchewan: Western Producer Prairie Books, 1988. Reprinted as The Last Children. London: Julia MacRae, 1989. London: Walker, 1990.
Though seemingly aimed at young readers, this is the most harrowing, detailed, and scientifically accurate fictional picture of nuclear war ever written. Tells of a German family's sufferings after a nuclear holocaust. Highly recommended.

Parvin, Brian. The Singing Tree. London: Robert Hale, 1985. London: Arrow, 1986.
A fantasy for young readers depicting a quest undertaken years after the Great Death by a pair of foxes. The protagonist rescues a beautiful mutant white vixen from a bomb crater and accompanies her on a long journey to the south in search of a fabled singing tree in a land of health and plenty. Among the many hazards they encounter are primitive human villagers, some of them deformed by genetic damage.

Paxson, Diana L. "The Phoenix Garden." In Janet Morris, ed. Afterwar. New York: Baen, 1985.
Ten thousand atomic bombs have caused a moderate nuclear winter and the destruction of the ozone layer. People protect themselves from ultraviolet light by wearing ponchos out of doors. The crops are ruined by fallout. In Mendocino County, California, people cooperate to survive, battling birth defects, sterility, marauding gangs, and self-destructiveness. A woman with mystical powers arrives who is able to get the garden to prosper, promising rebirth.

Pei, Mario. "l976." In Tales of the Natural and Supernatural. Old Greenwich, Conn.: Devin-Adair, l97l.
The Federal People's Republic of Caribia suddenly attacks and conquers the United States, and Russia and the Chinese take over the rest of the world. The narrator, having briefly served as translator to the assistant secretary of state who is now the head of state and who refuses to collaborate with the invaders, flees to join a preplanned underground network of scientists organizing resistance. This story is so bizarre and improbable that one is tempted to read it as a satire, but the fact that Pei wrote a series of anti-Communist articles for the Saturday Evening Post in the late fifties and early sixties makes that interpretation unlikely.

Penny, David G. The Sunset People. London: Robert Hale, 1975.
Radiation-induced mutants called the "Nant" are destined to inherit the world long ago devastated by a nuclear holocaust. Toward the end of the novel, an ancient cache of thermonuclear bombs is used against them.

Pereira, W[ilfred] D[ennis]. Aftermath l5. London: Robert Hale, l973.
Fourteen years after a nuclear attack and an ensuing race war have devastated the U.S., its inhabitants are divided into three major classes according to their degree of exposure to radioactivity. The Red Tags are enslaved by the Blue Tags, and the White Tags live in a monolithic conurbation one hundred stories high on the site of old Los Angeles. The hero is a slave who revolts, makes his way to the top of White Tag society where he discovers the fantastic realm of the ruling Gold Tags. He becomes the sexual slave of their female leader and then escapes once more, only to be chased by polar bears, then pulled mysteriously to safety over a high white wall. During the course of the novel it is revealed that the war began when the Chinese invaded Russia and the two bombed each other. The U.S. East Coast was devastated, not by a foreign attack, but by bombs set off by terrorist Ph.D.s--a bizarre touch no doubt suggested by the wave of bombings following the campus revolts of the early seventies. The novel's abrupt conclusion reflects the fact that it was planned as the first volume in a trilogy which was never completed. According to the publisher, the sequels were to have been titled Aftermath l6 and Aftermath l7.

Petesch, Natalie L. M. "How I Saved Mickey from the Bomb." In After the First Death There Is No Other. Iowa City: Univ. of Iowa Press: l974.
A comic tale narrated by a dog who objects to the claims of a speaker on surviving nuclear war that there will be no room in the shelters for pets. Drugged by his mistress to keep him quiet, he dreams of helping her search for shelter during the bombing, finding one on fire, and fighting the fire by urinating on it. He awakes to find he has urinated on the speaker's shoe and is ejected from the meeting. One of the more interesting aspects of this story is the way in which the audience responds to a lecture, mostly composed of reassurances that some measure of survival is possible, by voicing its horror that so much devastation will result. The speaker defeats his own purpose.

Phillips, A. M. "An Enemy of Knowledge." Astounding, April l947.
A boy and his grandmother (who was alive in the period before the war, but displays remarkable gaps in her memory) have a thirst for books which they are able to satisfy when the roaming band they are with conquers a fortress. The boy is horrified by the scenes of war he finds in picture magazines and wants to destroy all the printed materials they have found, but his grandmother discreetly chooses some to be preserved.

Phillips, Rog [pseud. of Roger P. Graham]. "Atom War." Amazing, May 1946.
A mysterious attacker drops atomic bombs on U.S. cities, demanding immediate surrender, refusing to reveal its identity. New Chicago, built to replace Washington, D.C., as a capital less vulnerable to atomic attack, is hit anyway, as its ray-defenses allow one bomb through which destroys communications. The attacking country is identified as Xsylvania, too late to prevent a holocaust from breaking out all over the Earth. The story ends with an upbeat view of the mutations in store for irradiated humanity: chances of their being favorable are 50-50. Radio hounds busily assemble inexpensive defensive "sterio rays" which will prevent future atomic wars.

___. "The Mutants." Amazing, July 1946.
The dictatorial U.S. government is trying to round up and kill a generation of telepathic mutant children with the power to control other people's minds. The mutants are suspected to be the result of an "atom war" not otherwise described. It transpires that they are actually the result of intervention by alien beings seeking to bring "justice and humanity" to Earth. As in Kuttner's Mutant (1953), which it closely resembles, there are good and bad telepaths, and we are expected to identify with the superbeings who will one day replace humanity.

Phillips, Tony. Turbo Cowboys. No. 1: Jump Start. New York: Ballantine, 1988.
Four boys run away from a government youth camp set up after the Big Bang which destroyed civilization, and flee into the surrounding Mojave desert. They rebuild motorcycles, join with an Indian lad skilled in survival techniques, and organize themselves as a free-spirited biker gang living in a cave and battling outlaws. This postholocaust series for young readers contains a good deal of violence, but the bad guys are seldom killed. Compare with Barbara and Scott Siegel: Firebrats.

___ . Turbo Cowboys. No. 2: Spin Out. New York: Ballantine, 1988.
Survivors have colonized the ruins of Edwards Air Force Base, where the wreckage of Air Force One (the Presidential plane) lies. They help the leader of the colony a former test pilot battle vicious raiders. He blames the generals on both sides for the war.

___ . Turbo Cowboys. No.3: Full Throttle. New York: Ballantine, 1988.
Captured by a community living off the contents of an abandoned freight train, the Turbo Cowboys earn their freedom by fixing the old engine and using it to defeat a band of attacking Takers (bandits).

Pierce, William. See MacDonald, Andrew.

Piller, Emanuel S., and Leonard Engel. See Engel.

Piper, H. Beam. "The Answer" (Fantastic Universe, December l959). In John F. Carr, ed. The Worlds of H. Beam Piper. New York: Ace, l983.
A nuclear war which destroyed the Northern Hemisphere began when a mysterious explosion struck Auburn, New York. A Russian and an American scientist working on an antimatter device debate who caused the war, but realize when they test their invention that the destruction of Auburn had been caused not by an incoming missile, but by the impact of an anti-matter meteor.

___. "Flight from Tomorrow" (Future Science Fiction, September, October l950). In John Carr, ed. The Worlds of H. Beam Piper. New York: Ace, l983.
A beleaguered dictator flees the post nuclear war future in a time machine, hoping to recruit an army from the past with which he can dominate his own time. But, due to sabotage by his enemies, he arrives too early, in l952. He causes sickness and death wherever he goes because his body, adapted to the postholocaust environment, is intensely radioactive. His body must be disposed of in a concrete tomb which has become a monument in his own time.

___. "Time and Time Again" (Astounding, April l947). In John F. Carr, ed. The Worlds of H. Beam Piper. New York: Ace, l983. In Groff Conklin, ed. A Treasury of Science Fiction. New York: Crown, l948 (omitted from the l957 Berkley paperback edition). Also in Isaac Asimov, ed. The Great Science Fiction Stories: 9 (1947). New York DAW, 1983.
A man wounded in the Third World War (in l975) finds himself bounced back in time to his boyhood, to the day before Hiroshima. He sets himself the task of preventing the nuclear war he has experienced.

___. Uller Uprising. Originally bound inThe Petrified Planet with Judith Merril, Daughters of Earth and Fletcher Pratt, The Long View. New York: Twayne, l952. Abridged, Space Science Fiction, February, March l953. Complete version with the introduction by John D. Clark from the original edition, New York: Ace, l983.
Humans are faced with colonial rebels who have built atomic bombs from designs the aliens learned when they worked with scientists on a mining project: triggering volcanic eruptions of heavy metals with nuclear explosives. A series of nuclear wars destroyed Earth's Northern Hemisphere centuries before, but civilization was rebuilt in the South. Mere Hiroshima-style weapons have been surpassed, but no one on Uller knows how to re-invent them until the crucial details are discovered in a pornographic historical novel. The rebels are defeated with a combination of tactics from Machiavelli and Hitler and three atomic bombs. A science fiction version of the White Man's Burden: "You either went on to the inevitable catastrophe, or you realized, in time, that nuclear armament and nationalism cannot exist together on the same planet, and it is easier to banish a habit of thought than a piece of knowledge. Uller was not ready for membership in the Terran Federation; then its people must bow to the Terran Pax." John F. Carr calls the novel a variation on the history of the Sepoy Rebellion, but it reads more like a heavy-handed parody written by a Marxist bent on satirizing Capitalist Imperialism. Naive Paul Quinton, field-agent for the Extraterrestrials' Rights Association, learns to call the natives "geeks" and aids enthusiastically in their destruction, eventually finding true love with the ruthless general in charge of the operation.

Piper, H. Beam, and Michael Kurland. First Cycle. New York: Ace, 1982.
The history of cultural evolution on two neighboring planets culminating in a devastating nuclear holocaust involving both thermonuclear and cobalt bombs. Explorers in the ruins ages later find a few wretched survivors. Most of the course of the evolution of these two supposedly alien civilizations parallels Earth's history to a remarkable degree.

Piper, H. Beam, and John J. McGuire. "Null-ABC." Astounding, February, March l953.
After several atomic wars the illiterate majority blames knowledge for the damage. An intrigue by the literate minority leads to a civil war aiming at the eventual restoration of universal literacy.

Piper, H. Beam, and John J. McGuire. "The Return" (Astounding, January l954). In H. Beam Piper. Empire. New York: Ace, l98l.
Two centuries after a war in which cobalt bombs were used, explorers from Fort Ridgway, Arizona seek out groups of survivors, hoping to pass on the technology of Old Times, including atomic engines. They encounter a group which has developed a religion based on the Sherlock Holmes stories--the only books they have. The explorers seek out a microfilm library buried in Pittsburgh and are attacked by savage Scowrers who associate their helicopter with the aircraft which dropped the bombs.

Pohl, Frederik. Black Star Rising. New York: Ballantine, 1989. London: Orbit, 1987.

___. The Cool War (portions appeared in somewhat different form in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, August 1979). New York: Ballantine, 1981
A comic adventure story in which a hapless Unitarian minister becomes entangled in government-sponsored international sabotage conducted as an alternative to "hot" war, since the destruction of Arab oil fields by Israeli atomic bombs has made the latter too dangerous.

___. Homegoing. New York: Ballantine: 1989.
In part a critique of space-based missile defenses. A young man raised by aliens is used by them as a spy in their attempt to colonize earth. He is educated using old television broadcasts; but his education turns out to be outdated, since Earth has been devastated decades earlier by a series of disasters including a nuclear war starting in the Middle East. Although American antimissile defenses were relatively successful, the fifteen missiles that did get through devastated society, and the ensuing plagues (including AIDS) and famines around the world killed five billion people. The space debris left in orbit by the antimissile defense system has so cluttered near-space orbits that it has made impossible the launching of further space-based systems and all space travel. Like the Gulf War, the ³Star War² made for a spectacular show on television; but the aftermath was devastating.

___. "The Knights of Arthur" (Galaxy, January 1958). In Tomorrow Times Seven. New York: Ballantine, 1959. Also in The Frederik Pohl Omnibus. London: Gollancz, 1966.
A comic adventure in which two friends and a disembodied brain escape a New York--depopulated by nuclear war and ruled over by a petty tyrant--by hijacking the Queen Mary with 109 women on board. A fairly detailed barter system run by gangsters is described.

___. "Let the Ants Try" (as James MacCreigh, Planet Stories, Winter, l949). In Frederik Pohl, ed., [story listed as by James MacCreigh]. Beyond the End of Time. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1952. Also in Robert Silverberg, ed. Mutants: Eleven Stories of Science Fiction. Nashville: Nelson, l974.
A wild time-travel story which begins soberly enough as a scientist mourns the death of his wife and children in the Three-Hour War. He had traveled to the summer camp where his children had been staying to be with them while they died of radiation disease. He develops a time-travel device which he refuses to share with the military he uses it himself to transport mutated meat-eating ants forty million years into the past, hoping they will provide chastening competition for combatative humanity. He returns to find their descendants have taken over, preventing the rise of the human race altogether; he goes back in time once more only to find the monsters he has created have built their own time travel machine and are waiting to kill him to prevent their own extermination.

___. Slave Ship (Galaxy, March, May, 1956). New York: Ballantine, 1957. London: Dobson, 1961. London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1961. London: Four Square, 1963.
After Russia has been conquered in the Short War, it has allied itself with the U.S. against an oriental religious cult which menaces the whole world. Trainers who can speak their language are preparing to use animals in combat. They are betrayed by a vicious pacifist who seeks to end war by obliterating the combatants. "Satellite bombs"--eighty fusion weapons--are dropped by both sidesin an outburst of violence that proves futile as it revealed that the true source of the attacks the two sides have been responding to is an extraterrestrial life form. Telepathy plays a minor role in the novel, but it is not the radiation-induced variety.

___. "The Wizards of Pung's Corners" (Galaxy, October 1958). In The Man Who Ate the World. New York: Ballantine, 1960. Also in The Frederik Pohl Omnibus. London: Gollancz, 1966. Also in Tom Boardman, Jr., ed. Connoisseur's SF. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1964. Also in Charles W. Sullivan, ed. As Tomorrow Becomes Today. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1974. Retranslated from the Chinese translation of Li Yongpo as "The Wizard-Masters of Peng-Shi Angle," by F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre. In Frederik Pohl. Pohlstars. New York: Ballantine, 1984.
A small town spared in a widely destructive nuclear war clings to the past by watching only reruns on television. An ad man from outside smuggles subliminal commercials into their TV system. Most cities are underground, the use of nuclear weapons has been banned, infantry with superarms make up the armies. The army is defeated by its own red tape. Typical Pohl satire.

___ and C[yril] M. Kornbluth. "Nightmare with Zeppelins" (Galaxy, December l958). In The Wonder Effect. New York: Ballantine, l962. Also in Critical Mass. New York: Bantam, l977. Also in H. L. Gold, ed. The Fifth Galaxy Reader. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, l96l. New York: Pocket Books, l963.
In a parallel world the atomic bomb is discovered in the twenties. The narrator is sure it could never be used because bombing from zeppelins would be unthinkably horrible. Satire.

___. "The Quaker Cannon" (Astounding, August l96l). In The Wonder Effect. New York: Ballantine, l962. Also in Critical Mass. New York: Bantam, l977. Also in Judith Merril, ed. 7th Annual Edition: The Year's Best S-F. New York: Simon & Schuster, l962. New York: Dell, l963. Rpt. as The Best of Science Fiction 2. London: Mayflower, l964. Also in Bill Pronzini and Barry N. Malzberg, eds. Shared Tomorrows: Science Fiction in Collaboration. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1979.
The Allies fight the Utilitarians with small atomic weapons in a war which began with the retaking of mainland China. A captured lieutenant is placed in an isolation tank and cracks; but, it is revealed that he was set up to give false information with the knowledge that he could not withstand torture. The title seems to refer to the long-running claim of the Quaker Oats company that its Puffed Wheat breakfast cereal was "shot from guns" (it wasn't).

Pohl, Frederik and Lester del Rey. See McCann, Edson.

Porges, Arthur. "The Rats" (Man's World, February l95l). In E. F. Bleiler and T. E. Dikty, eds. The Best Science-Fiction Stories l952. New York: Fell, l952.
A scientist who seeks refuge from an impending nuclear war in an abandoned atomic test site finds himself besieged by mutated, intelligent rats which are a product of test radiation. They trap him in a shed which they are about to burn to the ground when he hears bombs go off in the distance. He shouts, "You win, damn you! You may be the only ones left this time next month. It's all yours now. And what will you do with it?" Then he shoots himself in the head.

Porter, Joe Ashby. "Nadine, The Supermarket, The Story Ends." In The Kentucky Stories. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1983. [Despite an editorial note to the contrary in this volume, the story was not previously published in New Directions in Poetry and Prose.
Three linked stories, the last of which concerns a nuclear holocaust which results from an escalating war in Asia. Eventually only North America remains habitable, until rioting and civil war produce nuclear bombing even there, with only the town of Verdant Park, Kentucky being spared, of all the places on Earth.

Potok, Chaim. The Book of Lights. New York: Knopf, 1981. New York: Fawcett, 1982. London: Heinemann, 1982.
A thoughtful novel exploring the relationships between Jews and the atomic bomb. The protagonist, a brilliant but inept rabbinical student fascinated by Kabbalah, gradually comes to understand the obsession of his roommate with Hiroshima. It is revealed that his father worked on the bomb at Los Alamos, that he saw the first test, and that he is consumed with the desire to make a penetential pilgrimage to Hiroshima. His mother was influential in deterring the military from using the bomb against Kyoto. Einstein, Fermi, and Szilard all appear briefly in the novel, which returns again and again to the question of the responsibility of physicists who worked on the Manhattan Project. It is also suggested that Israel's conflicts with its neighbors may be the precipitating cause of an atomic war.

Pournelle, Jerry. Escape from the Planet of the Apes. New York: Award, 1973.
Chimpanzees from the distant future escaped Earth just as it was destroyed in a cataclysm produced when gorillas set off a doomsday device. The President's science advisor hounds them to death, thinking he can prevent the future enslavement of the human race, but the last scene shows that apes are destined to become more intelligent. The future evidently cannot be altered. A crucial bit of information, that civilization was destroyed in a human war, is unknown to both apes and humans, and makes the plot possible.

___ and Larry Niven: see Niven.

Powell, John S. The Nostradamus Prophecy. Burlington, NC: Belladonna Press, 1998.
Chechen sepratists working with a renegade North Korean officer smuggle nuclear weapons into the U.S. to use as blackmail, setting one of them off in Manhattan's financial district. The description of the explosion is one of the more carefully detailed such accounts in a work of fiction. The bulk of this thriller is devoted to tracking down and disarming the remaining bombs. In addition, tactical nuclear weapons are used against the North Korean officer and a planned invasion of South Korea deterred. The political leadership chooses to cover up the Chechen involvement fearing that Americans will insist on nuclear retaliation which might escalate to an all-out nuclear war with Russia.

Powers, Richard. Prisoner's Dilemma. New York: William Morrow, 1988.
A powerful, intelligent novel depicting the narrator's father, a brilliant, eccentric teacher who has been haunted all his life by a secret which is discovered by his family only shortly before his death that he witnessed the Trinity test at Alamagordo and there lost all hope for the future. The narrative is interwoven with excerpts from the father's taped fantasies, which connect a fictional Walt Disney project to create the ultimate propaganda film with the internment of the Japanese during World War II.

Powers, Tim: Dinner at Deviant's Palace. New York: Ace, 1985. London?: Crafton, 1987.
A violent tale of drugs and mysticism set in postholocaust Los Angeles long after the war which altered the California coastline. A highly imaginative and original work which deals only slightly with the subject of nuclear war.

Poyer, D. C. Stepfather Bank. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1987.
Struggle against a world-ruling computer set after the multilateral Last War, which resulted in the nuclear winter called the Big Overcast. China attacked the USSR, and Taiwan, the Soviet Union and the U.S. all attacked Japan. Soviet undersea missile bases are still radioactive. The plot to free humanity and prevent the sun from going nova slights the effects of the long-distant war.

Powys, John Cowper. "Up and Out: A Mystery Tale." In Up and Out. London: MacDonald, l957.
An antivivisectionist tract leading into a theological fantasy in which a nuclear war serves mainly to blast the narrator and three companions into another realm where they can discuss the merits of suicide with various gods. Seems a hymn to human annihilation. See Harry Coombes, "John Cowper Powys: A Modern Merlin," Southern Review 11 (1976): 779-93.

Price, E. Hoffman. Operation Exile. New York: Ballantine, 1986.
A rare instance of a postholocaust utopia. A ruthless American leader deliberately triggers a nuclear conflict during a Communist invasion partly to rid himself of cowardly civilians. After the war there is a return to subsistence farming, frontier-style justice and the simple life. "Anti-nuke fanatics are no longer allowed to demonstrate, so there is plenty of atomic power. The author, an old-time SF writer, was born in 1898.

Priest, Christopher. Fugue for a Darkening Island. London: Faber, l972. As Darkening Island. New York: Harper & Row, l972.
Britain is invaded by hordes of refugees fleeing the aftermath of a nuclear war in Africa, creating a racist backlash and a civil war. The initially liberal protagonist abandons his convictions when his wife and daughter are kidnapped, prostituted, and killed by the black invaders. Interwoven with a detailed history of the character's sex life.

Priestly, J[ohn] B[oynton]. "The Curtain Rises . . ." See under >Collier's.

___. The Doomsday Men. London: Heinemann, l938. London: Pan, l949. London: Corgi, l963. New York: Harper, l938. New York: Popular Library, l962.
Plot to destroy Earth foiled.

Pritchard, William Thomas. See Dexter, William.

Prochnau, William. Trinity's Child. New York: Putnam, 1983. New York: Berkley, 1985.
Under heavy pressure from the hawks around him, the Russian premier launches a preemptive, limited first strike against military targets in the U.S., hoping to avoid a wider war. But a series of malfunctions and errors causes the war to escalate until the world is brought to the brink of a full-scale holocaust. Prochnau has carefully researched his subject, and he makes the likelihood of such a disaster seem very high, the likelihood of our escaping it very low. A well-written page-turner. Made into a TV-movie entitled By Dawn's Early Light, 1990.

Pursell, J. J. Okna. New York: Carlton, 1986.
An inept spy thriller concerning the adventures of a fisherman with a nymphomaniac CIA agent battling a Moscow-inspired peace group. The Israelis use nuclear missiles on a Soviet aircraft carrier, and the Russians retaliate with a nuclear strike. The Israelis bomb Azerbaijan, and the Russians attack selected sites in the U.S. Although the U.S. retaliates, the nuclear conflict stays limited, producing nuclear disarmament. However, the war causes the world economy to collapse. The author is a former Navy man whose ideas about the Midgetman missile led to his retirement, and to the writing of this book.

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