Nuclear Holocausts: Atomic War in Fiction
Nuclear Holocausts Bibliography: R
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
Rankin, Robert. Armageddon: The Musical. London: Bloomsbury, 1990. London: Corgi, 1991. New York: Dell, 1991.
___ . Armageddon 2: They Came and Ate Us. London: Bloomsbury, 1991.
Rayer, F[rancis] G[eorge]. Tomorrow Sometimes Comes.
London: Home & Van Thal, l95l. London: Sidgwick & Jackson, l953.
The general who
mistakenly ordered the strike which began the nuclear holocaust is accidentally
preserved by an experimental anesthetic in a hospital and emerges generations
later to find that his name is anathema among normal humans but that he is
worshipped by vicious telepathic mutants who aim to inherit the Earth. He
struggles against the scheme of a supercomputer named "Mens Magna"
which has decided to destroy humanity with a doomsday weapon; but at the last
moment, he is able to travel back to the past and alter his decision,
preventing the fatal war from ever happening.
Reed, Robert. "Winemaster" (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, July 1999). Rept. in in Gardner Dozois, ed.: The Year's Best Science Fiction: Seventeenth Annual Collection. New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 2000, pp. 59-77.
In a struggle between normal humans and miniaturized nanotech ones a tiny atomic weapon has been used to destroy a "nest" of them.
Rein, Harold. Few Were Left. New York: John Day, l955. London:
Methuen, l955. Manchester: World Distributors, l957.
The story of a long
trek of a group of travelers seeking an unblocked exit from the New York subway
when an apparent nuclear attack traps them below ground. The protagonist was
ironically attempting to commit suicide on the tracks when the bombs struck.
The survivors live on newsstand candy and finally encounter a large group
attempting to dig its way out under the rule of a dictatorial leadership. The
protagonist tries to foment a revolt, is stoned for his efforts, but ultimately
the mob turns on the tyrants. The novel ends with everyone still trapped in the
subway, unlikely to escape.
Resnick, Michael. Redbeard. New York: Lancer, 1969.
thousand years after civilization was destroyed by a nuclear war mutants who
have evolved in New York City's subways battle normals. The mutants are
dominated by a nigh-immortal being who breeds special talents into his minions.
A routine combat novel.
"Free Men at Work." See under Collier's.
Reynolds, Mack. "Isolationist" (Fantastic Adventures, April 1950). In Groff Conklin, ed. Big Book of Science Fiction.
New York: Crown, 1950. New York: Berkley, 1957. Rpt. as The Classic
Book of Science Fiction. New York: Bonanza,
Aldeberan seeking to guide humanity in the ways of peace encounter a crusty old
farmer who detests all technical innovations and abruptly rejects their offers
of aid. The reader is told in a final note that their advice would have
prevented the human race from wiping itself out in "several atomic
Reynolds, Philip. When and If (originally serialized in Ce
Matin as "Ce pourrait se passer comme
ça"). Trans. Joseph F. McCrindle. New York: Sloane, l952. Rpt. as
It Happened Like This. London: Spottiswood,
thriller based on the premise that the coming war against Soviet Union will
strongly resemble World War II. The hero is a member of the resistance to a
Russian conquest of Western Europe, and his adventures are the primary focus of
the novel. Both the U.S. and the USSR refrain from using nuclear weapons until
after the continent has been subdued. Not until the Russians bomb London,
Liverpool, New York, and Boston, near the novel's end, does the United States
retaliate with what must have seemed at the time like a large number of bombs:
eighteen. Rockets are realistically depicted as being of relatively short range
in this story written several years before the first operational
intercontinental ballistic missiles. During the nuclear phase of the war, most
American cities are destroyed. The enemy is vanquished with an all- out
thermonuclear bomb strike, forcing the Russians to ban all future use of
"superbombs" in a violent form of disarmament negotiation. The Allies
invade the defeated Soviet Union in conventional World War II fashion, and most
of the deaths which ensue result from a famine created by a shortage of field
hands to gather the harvest. Four million Russians die--a modest figure even by
World War II standards, but still impressive. Underground agents discover in
the nick of time bombs set to destroy Paris which have been left behind by the
vengeful Russians. Poland revolts, followed by other East European nations, and
the Soviet Republics break away from the USSR, removing the Communist menace
from the Earth, since the Chinese are preoccupied with feeding themselves.
Korea becomes an American protectorate. The war ends on a symbolically positive
note, with the birth of the hero's son.
Rhinehart, Luke. Long
Voyage Back. New York: Delacorte, l983. New
York: Dell, 1984. London: Granada, l983.
Basically a sea
adventure story in which a Russian nuclear attack stemming from a
Middle-Eastern conflict provides the backdrop for a tale of terror, piracy, and
sex aboard a trimaran on Chesapeake Bay and in the Atlantic Ocean. The crew
must deal with fallout, desperate refugees, food shortages, the U.S. Army
(which has become a haven providing food and shelter for those in it and a
menace to everyone else), disease, the resentment of nonwhite Caribbean people,
bomb-caused tidal waves, plagues, dissension, rebellion, and jealousy. At last
they sail through the Straits of Magellan where they find Rumanian and Dutch
refugees who have similarly sought refuge on the coast of Chile, and join
forces with them. Although this novel is essentially little more than Alas,
Babylon Goes to Sea, its argument that loyalty to a government engaged in the destruction of its own citizens is folly is unusual. Long Voyage Back is in this regard reminiscent of Helen Clarkson's The Last Day. As in Whitley Strieber and James Kunetka's Warday, the Vietnam experience of veterans proves valuable.
Richmond, Mary. The Grim Tomorrow. London: Wright & Brown, [l953].
A preface presents
the work as a serious warning against atomic war despite the fact that the
author claims "no pretensions to scientific knowledge or
technicalities," as well she should. Much of the novel is a rather clumsy
and old-fashioned spy story of an attempt by British agents to halt the schemes
of the Hitleresque ruler of the newly-formed nation of Nordenfeld, who plans to
conquer the world with super A-bombs. One of the Britishers and his fiancee are
among the few survivors on an airplane cum spaceship which survives the ensuing
holocaust. They witness the world being rent asunder by an apocalyptic
"chain reaction," and land on a mysterious planet which turns out to
be that part of Earth containing the remnants of England. They meet another
party of survivors who weathered the disaster in a submarine
"bathosphere," but everyone else seems to have perished. One of them
proclaims: "We are being punished because we were a people who had
forgotten God"--the only religious reference in the novel. The pacifist
convictions of the heroine are allowed to prevail, and the villain is spared by
his companions, only to be destroyed satisfyingly by a giant squid.
"THERE'LL ALWAYS BE AN ENGLAND," proclaims the woman; and indeed the
prologue establishes that a utopia will be constructed on the ruins of old
Ridenour, Louis Nicot. " Pilot Lights of the Apocalypse: A Playlet in One Act"
January l946. Rpt. in Senior Scholastic, April l946). In Groff Conklin, ed. Great Science Fiction by
Scientists. New York: Collier, l962. Also
in The Atomic Age: Scientists in National and World Affairs, ed. Morton Grodzins and Eugene Rabinowitch. New York:
Basic Books, 1963.
The president tours
an underground western regional defense post, learning that major world cities
have been mined with bombs, and others in satellites orbiting the Earth can be
brought down at will. An earthquake in San Francisco then misleads the colonel
in charge into ordering a strike against Denmark, which results in a worldwide
war. Says the colonel: "Dark Ages, here I come." Ends with the
defense post being hit and collapsing. According to Carpenter, this play was
inspired by Norman Corwin's broadcast prose poem about the surrender of Japan,
entitled "14 August" (in "Untitled" and Other Radio Dramas. New York: Holt, 1945, pp. 499-504). Ridenour had published an earlier nonfiction article about the atomic bomb: "Military Security and the Atomic Bomb," fortune, 32 (November 1945): 170-171, 216-223. See Carpenter 31-33.
Rigg, Robert B. War--1974. Harrisburg, Pa.: Military Service Publishing, 1958.
A detailed account
of war in the future intended, like Walter Karig's War in the Atomic
Age?(1946), to prove that conventional warfare has not been rendered
obsolete by atomic weapons. Russia's ICBM bases are disabled by daring U.S.
commando raids. A panoply of mechanized and electronic weapons is used in a
prolonged world war which demonstrates the technical superiority of American
know-how. A good deal of emphasis is based on satellite reconnaissance. Small
battlefield nuclear weapons are used freely, but their effects are not
stressed. Lightweight battle cloaks ward off radiation. A variety of aerial
vehicles, many of them nuclear-powered, is depicted. Profusely illustrated by
___ . Endworld [#1]: The Fox Run New York: Leisure, 1986.
First volume in this postholocaust adventure series.
Robbins, David. Endworld #2: Thief River Falls Run. New York: Leisure, 1986.
The Alpha Triad accompanied by a cowardly pacifist battle men, rats, and giant cockroaches in the wasteland created by the Big Blast on their way to Minneapolis, in quest of supplies for the Home. At the end of the novel they encounter renegade troops using radio-controlled mutates and the pacifist learns to kill and survive.
Robbins, David. Endworld #3: Twin Cities Run New York: Leisure, 1986.
___. Endworld #4: The Kalispell Run New York: Leisure, 1987.
___. Endworld #5: Dakota Run New York: Leisure, 1987.
___. Endworld #6: Citadel Run New York: Leisure, 1987.
___. Endworld #7: Armageddon Run New York: Leisure, 1987.
___. Endworld #8: Denver Run New York: Leisure, 1987.
___ . Endworld #9: Capital Run. New York: Leisure, 1988.
___ . Endworld #10: New York Run. New York: Leisure, 1988.
___ . Endworld #11: Liberty Run. New York: Leisure, 1988.
___ . Endworld #12: Houston Run. New York: Leisure, 1988.
___ . Endworld #13: Anaheim Run. New York: Leisure, 1988.
___ . Endworld #14: Seattle Run. New York: Leisure, 1988.
___ . Endworld #15: Nevada Run. New York: Leisure, 1989.
___ . Endworld #16: Miami Run New York: Leisure, 1989.
___ . Endworld #17: Atlanta Run New York: Leisure, 1989.
___ . Endworld #18: Memphis Run New York: Leisure, 1989.
___ . Endworld #19: Cincinnati Run New York: Leisure, 1990.
___ . Endworld #20: Dallas Run New York: Leisure, 1990.
___ . Endworld #21: Boston Run New York: Leisure, 1990.
___ . Endworld #22: Green Bay Run New York: Leisure, 1990.
___ . Endworld #23: Yellowstone Run New York: Leisure, 1990.
___ . Endworld #24: New Orleans Run New York: Leisure, 1990.
___ . Endworld #25: Spartan Run New York: Leisure, 1991.
___ . Endworld #26: Madman Run New York: Leisure, 1991.
___ . Endworld #27: Chicago Run New York: Leisure, 1991.
Roberts, Keith. The
Chalk Giants. London: Hutchinson, l974.
London: Panther, l975. Abridged version. New York: Putnam, l975.
A series of
stories, all dealing with barbaric future Britain, loosely linked together as
the dreams of a refugee during a nuclear war. The first two, "The Sun Over
a Low Hill" and "Fragments," depict the thoughts of two
interrelated groups of characters, mostly about each other and sometimes about
the war; this seems to serve mainly as an apocalyptic background for their love
lives. The writing is impressionistic, reminiscent of Virginia Woolf. The point
is made that the enemy has probably not used ground bursts in order to avoid
contaminating the territory it plans to invade with fallout. "Monkey and
Pru and Sal" (originally published in New Worlds, February l97l) depicts the wanderings of a brutish
character whose cart is pulled by two beast-women. He teaches himself to read,
but cannot relate the world he finds depicted in prewar publications to his own
surroundings. "The God House" (New
Worlds, January l97l), "The Beautiful
One" (New Worlds, May l973),
"Rand, Rat and the Dancing Man," and "Usk the Jokeman" are
typical neobarbarian adventure stories which focus on the sufferings and
struggles of women in a cruel fertility religion. The first part of the work contains
some extraordinarily beautiful if difficult writing; but the disparate parts
fail to coalesce into a true novel.
___ . Pavane (all except two sections printed in Impulse,
March, April, May, June, July l966). Garden
City, N.Y.: Doubleday, l966. New York: Ace, l982.
history novel in which the Catholic church averts nuclear war. The story is
told through linked narratives featuring various characters, emphasizing the
chain of chance and circumstance. [
Roberts, Terence [pseud. of Ivan Terence Sanderson]. Report on the Status Quo. New York: Merlin, l955. Illustrated.
After World War III
in l958, when the Russians occupied Europe and invaded Africa, the climate
reverted to that of the Mesozoic Era. When a layer of well-preserved eggs,
spores, and seeds was uncovered in Hispaniola, the dinosaurs returned. Although
the war is not specified as nuclear, it seems likely that it was. Written as a
brief report dated May, l96l.
Stanley. "The Lucky Strike." In Terry Carr, ed. Universe l4, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1984. Reprinted in Harry Turtledove & Martin H. Greenberg, eds.: The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century. New York: Del Rey, 2001.
history story in which the plane assigned to drop the bomb on Hiroshima
crashes, killing its crew. The substitute bombardier has qualms about the
mission and deliberately misses the city, hoping a demonstration will end the
war without causing more deaths. His scheme works, but he is sentenced to be
shot for disobeying orders. At the end of the story it is stated that
disarmament will be successful thanks to the chain of events begun by his act.
Compare with Alfred Coppel, The Burning Mountain.
___ . The Wild Shore. New York: Ace, 1984.
original postholocaust Bildungsroman
concerning the adventures of a teenager in a California fishing village. When a
Russian-inspired sneak attack destroyed most of the U.S. with neutron bombs
smuggled into the country in Chevy vans, the government failed to retaliate
(evidently because without incoming missiles, the military was unable to
determine which power was attacking). The rest of the world has imposed a
quarantine on the country and interdicted reunification and recovery. Humanity
survived a decade of nuclear winter, but alterations in the jet stream have
wreaked havoc with the world's climate, creating snowstorms in July in southern
California and tornados in Siberia. The villagers have developed an uneasy
relationship with the Scavengers, who live in the ruins and retail bits of the
old technology at the weekly "swap meet." Defective infants are
killed, but this is not generally a harsh society. People care for each other,
and life can be good at times. The villagers make contact with a resistance
movement seeking to strike back at the Japanese who control the West Coast, but
an attempted ambush ends tragically. Although this is an adventure story, it is
atypical, emphasizing compassion, peace, cooperation, and love. In some ways it
resembles Edgar Pangborn's Davy,
but without the latter's preoccupation with sex and with a more sophisticated
understanding of how cultures evolve and adapt themselves to changing
conditions. As in Russell Hoban's Riddley Walker, the rebirth of civilization is viewed with alarm. See Helen J. Burgess, "'Road of Giants': Nostalgia and the Ruins of the Superhighway in Kim Stanley Robinson's Three Californias Trilogy," Science Fiction Studies vol. 33, no. 2 (July 2006): 275-290.
"Ching Witch." In Harlan Ellison, ed. Again, Dangerous Visions,
Vol. I. New York: Doubleday, l972. New York:
provides a backdrop for a fantastic tale of a naive young woman bringing dance
fads to another stellar system. An exercise in trivialization.
Rodgers, Alan. Fire. New York: Bantam, 1990.
An apocalyptical horror novel in which a fanatically religious U.S.
President tries to trigger Armageddon and the Rapture by having a nuclear bomb
smuggled into the U.S.S.R. Most American bases refuse to launch their missiles
on his order, but those that are launched prove defective and explode
harmlessly at sea, except for one which lands on a secret Kansas nuclear
facility, creating the Biblical lake of fire. Soviet missiles similarly
malfunction, exploding in their silos. Both Americans and Soviets rise up in
angry mobs against their leaders. Meanwhile the true menace has been let loose
on the world: a lab-tailored virus capable of bringing the dead back to life. It
becomes apparent that all these events are the result of a plot by the Devil to
destroy the world with nuclear bombs strategically placed around the Pacific
Ring of Fire. The Devil is finally defeated when the force of an atomic
explosion is focussed through a magic crystal to fuse several virutous
characters into a foe powerful enough to destroy him. Ends with most of the
human race resurrected and immortal. Closely modelled on the book of Revelation.
Compare with King: The Stand.
Roe, Ivan. See Savage, Richard.
Rohmer, Richard. Starmageddon. Toronto: Irwin, 1986
A thriller based on the 1983 shooting down of the Korean Air Lines flight
007 by the Soviet Union. Once again a passenger flight goes astray over the
Soviet missile test site, this time bearing the Vice President of the United
States, and just as the Soviets are testing their new anti-ballistic missile
system. When they shoot it down, the American President retaliates by bombing
the Soviet space center with an MX missile. Retaliatory missiles are
successfully shot down by the newly operational American Strategic Defense
System.When the Soviets threaten to use their conventional forces to invade West
Germany and destroy all American bases, they are deterred by the President's
threat to respond to that eventuality by an all-out nuclear attack behind the
SDI shield. The USSR capitulates. Although this rather clumsy novel is meant to
demonstrate how SDI could lead to real security for the U.S., it also
illustrates the Soviet view that SDI can just as easily be used as an offensive
Rose, F. Horace. The
Maniac's Dream: A Novel of the Atomic Bomb.
London: Duckworth, l946.
This curious book
begins with a meditation on the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and ends with
an allegorical interpretation of the narrative in between, denouncing ruthless
science and godless humanity. Although Rose obviously expects it to be taken
seriously, the story itself is an old-fashioned fantasy concerning a group of
atheistic mad scientists who plot to construct atomic weapons in order to
destroy much of the world and rule the rest, in the process proving that God
does not exist. In the midst of the Spanish Civil War, the narrator--enthralled
by the charms of the pious daughter of one of the plotters--follows her to a
secret base in the heart of Africa inside an inactive volcano surrounded by
hostile natives and large collections of savage lions and gorillas: a setting
strongly reminiscent of Saturday matinee serials. The science in this book is
as absurd as anything published before the war when few writers knew much about
atomic physics. A bomb can be built the size of a pea. Doses of radioactivity
can prolong life. Exploding a bomb in the stratosphere can knock the Earth out
of its orbit. Thara Menechu, the handsome, charismatic but maniacal leader of
the group, shows the narrator a vision of nuclear war by means of a television
apparatus which can see into the future. America and England will be devastated
first, and the entire population will be forced to live underground. The
villains are defeated when the natives revolt and wipe them out. At the novel's
climax, the narrator wrestles his beloved away from Menechu on the edge of the
volcano just as he is about to throw an atomic bomb; and lightning strikes him
so that he plunges, bomb and all, into the depths. The resulting explosion
devastates the countryside for miles around, but curiously spares the narrator,
his fiancee, and her father except for knocking him out and suddenly aging him
prematurely. God has struck the impious villain down, says the narrator.
Unusual for its emphasis on religion as a positive force, but more of an
adventure story than a religious novel. Presented as a warning that the
creators of nuclear weapons cannot control their use.
"We Would See a Sign." In Kingsley Amis and Robert Conquest, eds. Spectrum
3: A Third Science-Fiction Anthology. New
York: Harcourt, Brace & World, l963. New York: Berkley, l965. London:
Gollancz, l963. London: Sidgwick & Jackson, l964. London: Pan, n.d.
The man who pulled
the lever which started the nuclear war each day makes and wears a sign reading
"I Murdered One Billion Human Beings." He wanders through a savage
landscape where cats, dogs, and rats are hunted for food, where he encounters a
mutant boy with the stump of a chopped-off tail, and where people superstitiously
worship him. The "strange atomic beauty" of the melted cityscape is
noted. At the story's end, he is startled to realize that the priest who leads
his cult--which he views as a form of penance--actually envies him.
Level 7. London: Heinemann, l959.
London: Ace, l96l. New York: McGraw-Hill, l959. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday,
l960. New York: Signet, l96l.
The diary of a
button-pusher sealed four thousand feet underground at the bottom of a
seven-level shelter complex. An accidental war is started by the other side and
fought automatically. Politicans on both sides of a devastated world claim
victory and trade insults. In the end the shelter breaks down, level by level,
and people die. Made into an episode of the BBC television series Out of the
Unknown in l968. For a more critical view,
see David Stevens's article in Magill, 3, l204-08. [
___. A Small
Armageddon. London: Heinemann, l962.
London: Four Square, l966.
A farcical novel in
which a nuclear submarine crew rebels and blackmails the world for wealth and
sexy women (much more attention paid to the latter than to the former). A
missile base commander reacts by imposing a puritanical Christian regime on the
U.S. The two destroy each other, but a group of neo-Nazis in Germany seizes
nuclear weapons and threatens the world in its turn, as does an African state.
A warning against the possibility of nuclear blackmail by
Ross, Jean. A
View of the Island: A Post-Atomic Fairy Tale.
London: Hutchinson, l965.
A bizarre fantasy
about a group of upper-class refugees taking shelter on an estate in the
Scottish Highlands during a nuclear war. They are beset by internal dissension
and harassment by young people from a cycling club. The story seems to be just
another Lord of the Flies imitation as
relationships break down and the campers engage in human sacrifice; but it
takes a strange twist with the appearance of one McArtney, apparently an agent
of Heaven who communicates with headquarters by means of the radio antenna
attached to his umbrella. He informs the survivors that a new type of bomb has
simply dissolved its victims. The devastation caused by the war is part of a
divine scheme, it seems: "Things have been going according to plan, but perhaps
a little faster than anticipated. We did not look for that final two hundred
thousand megaton explosion, which has darkened the earth so disagreeably; it
interfered with the world's balance, being on such a large and destructive
scale. Yet, in one way, it has simplified matters. It has destroyed those who
perpetrated it, and who were working against us. Yes, and of course it
fulfilled some outstanding prophecies in your Bible, and other important sacred
writings, especially those dealing with the time being shortened for the sake
of the elect. The entire operation should soon be completed." The entire
operation consists of the transfer of the spirits of those who have died to a
new planet (they have been haunting the estate in ghostly form, unaware of
their own demise). One mild-mannered fellow, told that it is his lot--along
with the rest of "the meek"--to inherit the Earth, as the Bible says,
protests, feeling justifiably that the battered planet is hardly worth
inhabiting. All ends well, however, as the world is renewed and remodeled along
utopian lines. The inhabitants of the new Earth carry on much as always. Much
of the novel is a farcical satire on various forms of religion and
Rouch, James. The
Zone, #1: Hard Target. London: New English
Library, 1980. New York: Zebra, 1984.
combat-adventure novel set during World War III in Germany. The Russian
invaders have used small battlefield nuclear weapons, but the allies refrain
from doing likewise for fear of prompting an all-out nuclear exchange. Much
resentment expressed at policy of limited war, a la Vietnam. All use of nuclear
weapons is in the past, and radiation zones are referred to only in passing.
Biochemical weapons have been used as well. This entire series of adventure
novels focuses on conventional warfare. The few mentions of nuclear weapons are
___. The Zone
#2: Blind Fire. London: New English
Library, 1980. New York: Zebra, 1985.
Introduction says that nuclear weapons were used by NATO upon withdrawing from
Aalen, damaging more than half the town. The book contains no other references
to the use of nuclear weapons.
___. The Zone
#3: Hunter Killer. London: New English
Library, 1981. New York: Zebra, 1985.
only passing mentions of nuclear weapons.
___ . The Zone
#4: Sky Strike. London: New English
Library, 1981. New York: Zebra, 1986.
protagonists enter a town which had been captured by the Russians, then
destroyed by a "nuclear demolition" device.
___ . The Zone
#5: Overkill. London: New English Library,
1982. New York: Zebra, 1986.
accumulating radiation count among soldiers is referred to. The protagonists
foil a Russian attempt to use a nuclear weapon against Hamburg.
___ . The Zone #6: Plague Bomb, London: New English Library,
1982. New York: Zebra, 1986.
Rouch, James. The Zone #7: The Killing Ground. New York: Zebra, 1988.
___ . The Zone #8: Civilian Slaughter. New York: Zebra, 1989.
[Emanuel]. "The Atom Smasher." In Astounding, May 1930.
An atom smasher is
used as a time machine by a mad scientist seeking to rule Atlantis 12,000 years
in the past. He uses a ray-beam weapon called the Eye to terrorize and dominate
the natives. The heroes use the power of disintegrating uranium to fight off
their enemies, but the result is the sinking of Atlantis.
"The Boston Lady." In Barry Feinberg, ed. The Collected Stories of
Bertrand Russell. London: Allen &
A pregnant woman,
improbably stranded in an Antarctic cave when a "radio-active
explosion" cuts her off from the rest of humanity, bears a son with whom
she mates and encourages the twins she then bears to mate with each other. Her
anxiety to perpetuate the species proves unnecessary, however, since she is
rescued and returned to Boston. When she relates her behavior she is banned
from polite society and her incestuous twins are killed "for addiction to
un-American activities." Evidently Russell considered this story a bit risqué
even for him, for it was not published during his lifetime. More an argument
for the relativism of values than a comment on nuclear weapons.
"Dean Acheson's Nightmare: The Swan-Song of Menelaus S. Bloggs." In Nightmares
of Eminent Persons and Other Stories.
London: Bodley Head, l954. Harmondsworth: Penguin, l962. New York: Simon &
Schuster, l955. Also in Barry Feinberg, ed. The Collected Stories of
Bertrand Russell. London: Allen &
involves the 1956 election of an aggressively anti-Communist president who
invades China, using nuclear bombs to little avail against its dispersed
troops. The Russians retaliate by invading Europe, communism sweeps across the
globe, and the U.S. is conquered. The narrative is written by a senator,
starving and exiled on the Falkland Islands, surrounded by radioactivity, but
still convinced the invasion was right. Pacifists like himself do not risk
precipitating a Russian world conquest, Russell implies, but militarists do.
___ . "The
Misfortune of Being Out of Date" (Harper's Bazaar, January l962). In Fact and Fiction. London: Allen & Unwin, l96l. New York: Simon
& Schuster, l962. Also in Barry Feinberg, ed. The Collected
Stories of Bertrand Russell. London: Allen
& Unwin, l972.
East and West
battle each other on the moon and on four planets of the solar system,
disintegrating those bodies with chain reactions caused by their nuclear
weapons. Ships are sent by each side to the dark companion of Sirius to carry
on the war; but when--generations later--they have landed, Earth has achieved
planetary peace and love and the emissaries find themselves purposeless. In
frustration they commit nuclear suicide.
"Planetary Effulgence" (New Statesman, September 5, l959). In Fact and Fiction. London: Allen & Unwin, l962. New York: Simon
& Schuster, l962. Also in Barry Feinberg, ed. The Collected
Stories of Bertrand Russell. London: Allen
& Unwin, l972. Also in Judith Merril, ed. 8th Annual Edition: The
Year's Best S-F. New York: Simon &
Schuster, l963. New York: Dell, l964. Rpt. as The Best of Science
Fiction 4. London: Mayflower, l965.
divided into two warring camps, investigate Earth's ruins, discovering that two
groups destroyed each other although they had much in common. The lesson they
draw is that the strongest side will prevail, and they repeat humanity's error.
The cycle is repeated when the ruins of Mars are investigated by visitors from
Jupiter, seemingly destined to duplicate this folly. Suddenly the Divine Hand
appears and writes, "I am sorry I was so half hearted at the time of
Ryman, Geoff. "Oh Happy Day!" In John Clute, ed. Interzone: The First Anthology: New Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing. London: Dent, 1985. New York: St. Martin s, 1985.
Several American cities have been destroyed by gangs using atomic bombs. Rebellious women use gay men to help them take over and exterminate violent males.
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