In the distant past a buddhist warrior-nun was sent to hell by the curse of a priest, and finds herself in Hiroshima just as the atomic bomb falls. After viewing scenes of horror, she struggles with the priest in the ruins of the city, kills him, and finds herself back in her own world. The same nun is also the protagonist in Salmonson's three-volume Gozen saga.
|Sambrot, William. "Invasion" (Saturday
Evening Post, July l956). In Island
of Fear and Other Science Fiction Stories.
New York: PermaBooks, l963. London: Mayflower, l964.
When the Russians
invade West Germany, American bombers head toward the Soviet Union. The story
depicts the very casual, cool behavior of the crew as they ignore radio news
that the Russians have capitulated to the nuclear threat. They evidently intend
to ignore the news and bomb Russia anyway. This volume contains two other
stories which involve a near-war ("Deadly Decision") and the
approaching danger of war ("The Second Experiment.")
Sanderson, Ivan Terence. See Roberts, Terence.
Saunders, Jake and Howard Waldrop. The Texas-Israeli War: l999. (portions appeared originally in Galaxy, July l973, as "A Voice and Bitter Weeping"). New York: Ballantine, l974.
In a worldwide
atomic war, the British have allied themselves with Russia against Ireland,
China, and South Africa. Only ten percent of the world's people survive, but of
all the nuclear powers, only Israel has maintained itself relatively intact.
The Israelis now make their living by being professional soldiers in the
neofeudal world created by the war. The novel concerns a plot to rescue the
president of the United States who has been kidnapped by the Texas Rangers on
behalf of the rebellious Republic of Texas, which is dominated on the S.S.-like
Sons of the Alamo. Bacteriological and chemical agents widely used have caused
famine to be the major cause of death. The Israelis use women in combat. The
only positive side effect of the war noted is that Dallas is now free of smog.
The novel's premise might lend itself to satirical treatment, and there are a
few humorous touches: renegade Indians confronting the Israeli tanks; mutated
cockroaches. But this is essentially an ordinary pulp war novel, aimed at the
market which enjoys fantasy war games. There are several nostalgic references
to Vietnam. This is another case in which a nuclear war serves primarily as the
justification for a conventional war which the authors find more interesting.
Sargent, Craig. The Last Ranger [#1]. New York: Popular Library, 1986.
The first volume in a postholocaust adventure series. When the war breaks out in 1990, a wealthy ex-Green Beret takes his wife and family into the shelter he has built and lives there for five years. When he dies, his rebellious on leads the rest of the family outside, only to see his mother raped and killed and his fifteen-year-old sister kidnapped by a biker gang. Using his father's training, and initiated by an Indian tribe, he single-handedly destroys most of Denver and the villains who run it in quest of his sister; but she has been taken to Pueblo, Arizona.
___. [Last Ranger #2] The Savage Stronghold. New York: Popular Library, 1986.
Second volume of the Last Ranger series. The protagonist and his pit
bull pursue his sister's captors to Pueblo, which they discover is dominated by
the violent and repressive Church of the New Darkness. Allying himself with an
underground resistance, he destroys most of the enemy only t o find that his
sister has been snatched by an evil dwarf and carried off to his hideout in
___. [Last Ranger #3] The Madman's Mansion. New York: Popular Library, 1986.
Third volume of the Last Ranger series. The protagonist is rescued from bikers by his dog and returns to the family shelter to heal and regroup. He then links up with a travelling medicine man who claims to be able to heal radiation poisoning, and assaults a super-decadent, sadistic plea sure place in Vernal, Utah, called the Last Resort. At an auction of certifiably non-radiated, AIDS-free breeder women he tries to buy his sister; but he is seized, put through a grotesque series of ordeals (including a fight with a giant whose face was melted by a bomb), and narrowly rescues his sister from crucifixion, along with a truck load of other women. Various climatic disturbances have result from the war, including an increase in the fall of meteors.
___. [Last Ranger #4] The Rabid Brigadier. New York: Popular Library, 1987.
Fourth volume of the Last Ranger series. Five years after the war
the protagonist finds himself forced to go through brutal training and attack a
gang of cannibalistic bandits under an old Vietnam War buddy of his father's:
General Patton III. The crazed general plans to use a leftover nuclear missile
against a gathering of gangs, but the protagonist turns the tables by uniting
the gangs against Patton, shooting down the missile just as it is being
launched. However, Patton has escaped to seek other nuclear missiles. Chernobyl
is mentioned in passing.
___. [Last Ranger #5] The War Weapons. New York: Popular Library, 1987.
___. [Last Ranger #6] The Warlord's Revenge. New York: Popular Library, 1988.
___. [Last Ranger #7] The Vile Village. New York: Popular Library, 1988.
___. [Last Ranger #8] The Cutthroat Cannibals. New York: Popular Library, 1988.
___. [Last Ranger #9] The Damned Disciples. New York: Popular Library, 1988.
___. Last Ranger #10]Is This the End? New York: Popular Library, 1988.
Sargent, Pamela. The Shore of Women. New York: Crown, 1986. New York: Bantam, 1987. London: Pan, 1988.
Women live in walled cities, mating with each other and monopolizing
technology, while men blamed for the nuclear holocaust are banished to live in
barbarism in the wilderness outside. A rebellious young woman finds love with an
exceptionally sensitive male. Seeking refuge with an isolated heterosexual
tribe, they discover that the latter has reinvented old-fashioned male dominance. At the end of the novel they are still seeking a home; but the story
of their romance has begun to transform both the female cities and the male
Sarrantonio, Al. Moonbane. New York: Bantam, 1989.
Werewolves from the Moon use nuclear bombs to shatter it, transforming the satellite into a ring whose light is capable of sustaining their power on Earth at all hours. A routine and rather silly SF-horror novel.
Sata Ineko. "The Colorless Paintings." Trans. Shiloh Ann Shimura. In Kenzaburo Oe, ed. The Crazy Iris and Other Stories of the Atomic Aftermath. Tokyo: Shiueisha Press, 1984. New York: Grove, 1985.
The narrator tells the story of his friend, a painter, who died of liver cancer induced by the Nagasaki bomb. He remembers going with his friend to an anti-bomb meeting, and ponders the meaning of the monochromatic paintings the artist left behind. The painter's sister-in-law is suffering from delayed atomic bomb disease. This story was first published in Japanese in 1961.
Satoh Minoru. Nezuni Kozo: "The Rat." In David G. Goodman, ed & trans. After Apocalypse: Four Japanese Plays of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1986.
An experimental drama blending images of nuclear holocaust with traditional Japanese religion.
"Trouble at Tuaviti." See under Collier's.
Savage, Richard [pseud. of Ivan Roe]. When the Moon Died. London: Ward, Lock, l955. London: Digit, l963.
A frame story
depicts aliens from a distant universe who are studying what destroyed the
Earth and shifted its magnetic poles. They determine that the cause was a
nuclear war and listen to a tape recording left behind by Karsh, the narrator
whose story makes up the bulk of the book. Living in a despotic technocracy, he
gains access to a device for viewing past times and discovers that the history
of the dictatorship has been concealed. In l999 (his own time is 2800 A.D.)
scientists used nuclear blackmail to stop a threatening war, blowing up the
moon for demonstration purposes. After a period of chaos, they begin to
consolidate their control over the Earth, lowering clouds of radioactive dust
onto rebellious towns. They create a sterile urban utopia where an immensely
lengthened life span is combined with full employment by keeping most of the
population frozen in the Chambers of Rest and wiping their brains of memories
when they are revived. Love and imagination languish, technological innovation
ceases, and poetry is considered a speech defect. Karsh seeks to destroy the
dictatorship by broadcasting the truth and reanimating masses placed in
suspended animation by the government to ensure full employment. The plan
almost backfires when the dictatorship splits into two enemy camps bent on
destroying each other in a nuclear war. In the course of his quest for the
past, Karsh falls in love with the image of a young woman who has been frozen.
He defrosts and liberates her. Karsh's tape ends before the triumph the story
line leads us to expect, leaving us uncertain how the Earth died: of war, or of
old age. An inept conglomeration of clichés. [More]
Sayles, John. "Fission." In The Anarchists' Convention and Other Stories. Boston: Little, Brown, 1979. New York: Pocket Books,
hitchhiker who is picked up by an overweight, sexually desperate female drug
dealer accidentally consumes a dose of LSD and finds himself transported to a
bomb shelter where an old fellow, obsessed with the possibility of nuclear
attack lives with his sexy young daughter. The old man tells the youth about
his experiences as a Marine sent into Nagasaki after the atomic bombing. Caught
in bed with the daughter, the youth flees.
Scarborough, Elizabeth Ann. Nothing Sacred. New York: Doubleday, 1991. New York: Bantam Spectra, 1991.
A woman captive in a old Tibetan monastery discovers she is in the fabled Shangri-La (called the the locals "Shambala") after the destruction of most of the rest of the world in a nuclear holocaust. Mostly a gruelling account of imprisonment with a surprisingly fantastic ending involving the fabled youth-preserving qualities of Shangri-La.
___. Last Refuge. Sequel to Nothing Sacred. N.Y.: Bantam, 1992.
Fantastic quest novel in which a young woman with godlike powers journeys outside the safety of the isolated Tibetan land of Shambala (the fictional Shangri-La), to do battle with ghosts, demons and other evils in a post-holocaust wasteland. she learns that the war was begun by Middle Eastern nations attacking Israel with nuclear weapons, leading to a world-wide conflict which destroyed almost the entire human race and wrecked most of the Earth outside Shambala. Simultaneously grim and frivolous.
Schenk, Hilbert. A Rose for Armageddon. New York: Timescape,
has used a nuclear bomb against India, and a worldwide conflict looms. An
elderly archaeologist dreams of the holocaust to come; as the bombs fall, she
is transported into the past along with the man she has secretly loved, to get
a second chance at life. Rather well written, despite its bizarre premise; but
only incidentally touching on nuclear war.
Schilliger, Josef. The Saint of the Atom Bomb. Originally Der
Heilige der Atombombe: Die Geschichte Dr. Takashi Nagai. Würzburg: Arena-Verlag, 1953. Trans. from German by David Heimann. Westminster, Md.: Newman, 1955.
fictionalization of the deeds of a Christian doctor in Nagasaki during the
bombing and afterwards. Contains an effective description of the damage and
Schmidt, Arno. The Egghead Republic: A Short Novel from the Horse Latitudes. Originally Die Gelehrtenrepublik. Karlsruhe: Stahlberg, l957. Trans. Michael Horovitz.
London: Marion Boyars, l979. Salem, N.H.: Marion Boyars, l980.
postholocaust future, mutated creatures abound. The first one the narrator
meets is a sexy young centaur. He fights giant spiders and encounters unicorns.
However, the bulk of the story is a tour of an enclave divided into American
and Russian sectors and called the "International Republic of Artists and
Scientists." Lots of male sexual fantasies. Secretaries double as call girls.
Aging Soviet leaders have their brains transplanted into young, healthy bodies
(and vice versa). One male writer has had himself put in a female body. Young
people's brains are put into Siberian wolf hounds and horses. On the western
side people are deep-frozen. Both sides are repellent. Written in an
experimental style with italicized phrases at the beginning of each paragraph,
bizarre futuristic punctuation. The centuries preceding 2000 A.D. are called
"The Happy Teens."
Schoonover, Lawrence. Central Passage. New York:
William Sloane, l962. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, l962. New York: Dell, l964.
The first part of
this novel depicts proliferation of atomic weapons through the carelessness of
the Soviet Union, one of whose allies decides to precipitate an East-West
Armageddon by exploding a bomb aboard one of its ships in the Panama Canal. In
the ensuing Twenty-Minute War, both countries are devastated; but the Isthmus
of Panama is entirely destroyed, altering the course of the Gulf Stream and
creating a drastic fall in worldwide temperatures. (At the site of the bombing
itself, temperatures are high enough, at least at first, so that people can
pull cooked fish and boiled lobster directly from the sea.) The most effective
part of the novel deals with a French Canadian fisherman, his wife and ten
children fleeing the new ice age, Noah-like, aboard his fishing boat. When he
sees the strange light emitted by the bombs, he thinks, "But a light could
not be wicked. Light was the first thing le bon dieu made when He created the
world. His brother, the curé had always loved the story of the creation and had
often mentioned that light was the first thing God called good. But this light
had not looked good, so perhaps God had not made it." The novel downplays
the importance of fallout, although a dust shroud of the sort now predicted to
cause a nuclear winter does contribute to the drop in temperature. The
fisherman joins the enormous crews trying to rebuild the isthmus and restore
Earth's climate to normal. Scenes of savagery among survivors are mentioned
only in passing, not depicted in detail. When the fisherman's son asks to learn
to shoot, he replies, "I don't think you'll ever shoot a gun as long as
you live. There's been too much of it, and it's gone out of style." Months
of labor using conventional construction techniques make little progress; in
the end the project can only be accomplished through the use of atomic bombs
planted on the sea floor. Two years and eight months after the war, the thaw
begins. Then the novel takes a bizarre but all too familiar turn as the
generation of children born during the brief atomic war turn out to be a race
of superhumans called the "Intruders," bent on replacing their
predecessors. A ruthless drive of extermination is launched against them, but
in the final pages of the novel it is revealed that the narrator himself is an
Intruder. Clearly, they will prevail.
Schulman, Joel. "Nirvana Is a Nowhere Place." In After the Fall, ed. Robert Sheckley. New York: Ace, 1980.
The Comptroller of Heaven panics at the prospect of finding enough room in Heaven for Earth's billions when an impending nuclear war will end the world, and tries to seek room in the rival afterlife abodes of other religions. But it turns out that all the myriad afterlife abodes, including Heaven and Nirvana, will end as well. Part of an collection of "upbeat end-of-the-world stories."
Schwartz, Harry. "Miracle of American Production." See under Collier's.
Scortia, Thomas N. Earthwreck! Greenwich, Conn.: Fawcett, l974.
A nuclear war
begins in the Middle East as Israel is attacked and retaliates by bombing
Egypt's Aswan Dam. The primary axis of conflict, however, is between the
Russians and the Chinese, both using MIRVs (multiple independent reentry
vehicles). The U.S., trying to stop the escalation, issues an ultimatum which
leads to a worldwide holocaust which, with the assistance of a Russian
biological weapon, renders Earth uninhabitable. These events are witnessed by
Americans and Russians in separate orbiting space stations. Because the
Americans have allowed only one, unfortunately infertile, female on board, they
are faced with the necessity of merging with the sexually balanced Russian crew
in order to perpetuate the human race. Anti-Communist officers, fearing Red
treachery, almost succeed in sabotaging the plan, which involves colonizing
first the moon then Mars. A serendipitous moonlet swings the station into the
proper orbit, and the crew (placed in suspended animation), heads for its new
home which will be seeded with plants mutated from seeds gleaned from space
station visitors' feces and transformed into an earthlike place
("terraformed"). A child is born to the only woman to be rescued from
Earth, giving the novel an optimistic conclusion. The station's psychiatrist
interestingly comments that whereas devotion to his wife and family renders him
emotionally unstable when they are killed, the fanatical anti-communism of
another officer gives him a source of strength. There is a good deal of focus
on sex; and a surprisingly sympathetic homosexual affair is discretely alluded
Seabright, Idris. See under St. Clair, Margaret.
Seymour, Alan. The Coming Self-Destruction of the United States of America. London: Souvenir Press, l969. New York: Grove, l97l.
A prolonged and
vicious race war in America is climaxed by the use of atomic weapons against
black enclaves in the cities. As the novel ends more atomic weapons are
threatened, and a United Nations dominated by nonwhites is threatening nuclear
retaliation against the white military junta ruling the U.S.
See, Carolyn. Golden Days. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1987.
A marvelous satire of upper-middle-class Southern California fads. As international tensions rise, with nuclear bombs being used in Central America and the Middle East, most people ignore the impending holocaust. A therapist suggests that nuclear war is a metaphor for all the other fears that plague us today, but the patient replies, It's my view that the other fears . . . are a metaphor for my fear of nuclear war. Much of the novel deals with the growth of a crackpot cult and the heroine s development of psychic powers. The narrative abruptly leaps from the brink of war to the aftermath in which civilization has been destroyed, the beach has been melted into glass, and the survivors, hideously wounded and starving, try to make the best of things. The ever-optimistic heroine continues to use positive thinking to deal with the shattered world around her, and to insist that all is well.
Service, Pamela F. Winter of Magic's Return. New York: Atheneum, 1985.
Five hundred years after the Devastation, nuclear winter is finally ebbing
in Britain. The destruction of the ozone layer and the development of
threatening "muties" make life hazardous, as do feral dogs. Into this ominous
setting Merlin appears reborn as a young boy, freed from his mountain prison
when its top was blasted off by a nuclear bomb. His magic works unpredictably
and comically, but he renews his struggle against the wicked Morgan Le Fay. In
the course of his wanderings he discovers a newly-evolved unicorn. At the
conclusion of the novel he reaches Avalon, discovers Arthur alive, and returns
him to Britain.
___. Tomorrow's Magic. New York: Atheneum, 1987.
Sequel to Winter of Magic's Return. Continues the tale of the struggle
between King Arthur and Morgan Le Fay. Features a fourteen-year-old girl and her
two-headed mutant dog. At one point it is argued that Morgan's victory would be
a worse calamity than universal extinction through nuclear war. Morgan hurls
Merlin and the heroine back in time to London, just before outbreak of the
holocaust. Merlin succeeds in returning to the future and using the force of the
exploding bombs to defeat Morgan.
"All the Way Back" (Astounding,
July 1952). In Soldier Boy. New
York: Pocket Books, 1982. Also in Brian Aldiss, ed. Galactic Empires,
vol. l. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson,
1976. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1976. New York: Avon, 1979.
Men seeking new
worlds discover a paradisiacal planet, albeit pocked with ancient atomic bomb
craters, only to learn that the former inhabitants are about to recolonize it as
part of a Galactic struggle against an evil race which has been destroyed in
most sectors of the universe. The evil race is humanity, and the explorers are
killed; but since there is no clue to their planet of origin, a fear remains at
the end of the story that humans will prevail and rule the Galaxy.
Shafer, Robert. The Conquered Place. New York: Putnam, l954.
detailed and well-written thriller depicting the resistance against Communist
invaders occupying the conquered eastern half of the United States. Most of the
world has been overrun by the Russians and Chinese, and the new rulers treat
the conquered peoples with calculated brutality modeled partly on the deeds of
the Nazis in World War II Europe, engaging repeatedly in mass reprisals for
acts of resistance. After an uprising, Youngstown, Ohio was entirely destroyed.
Unlike most novels of the sort, The Conquered Place depicts realistically conflict between the regular
army and the underground and the confusion surrounding an attempt to smuggle
out an obnoxious but crucial scientist and his family. The style is vivid and
powerful, the characters interesting, the conflicts credible. The Russian
rulers are not simple cardboard villains. Shafer displays considerable
political sophistication in understanding that it is not in the best interests
of the invaders to antagonize the population too much. Principal targets of
hatred are collaborators called "snooks"; again these are modeled on
Nazi collaborators. Has a love story, featuring a young woman who rebukes the
hero for being too slow sexually; but she is killed in the near-catastrophic
ending by a stray bullet from the gun of the scientist she has helped rescue.
The army has nuclear-bombed Center City as a diversionary tactic and as a way
of ensuring the cooperation of the resistance. Little attention is paid to the
hope for the future represented by the secret weapon which will be built: this
is rather a story of individual character under stress.
Shaw, Bob. Ground Zero Man. New York: Avon, l97l. Slightly
revised as The Peace Machine. London: Gollancz, 1985.
near-future thriller about a scientist who designs a device to detonate all the
world's atomic weapons in order to force nuclear disarmament. He fails and the
book's last line is "What's the use of trying?" The author seems to
express no particular point of view--pro- or antidisarmament. The protagonist's
lousy marriage gets more detailed attention than the threat of nuclear war.
Sheckley, Robert. After the Fall. London: Sphere, 1980.
Unavailable for review.
___. "The Battle" (If, September l954). In Citizen
in Space. New York: Ballantine, l955. Also
in The Robert Sheckley Omnibus.
London: Gollancz, l973. Also in James L. Quinn and Eve Wulff, eds. The
First World of If. Kingston, N.Y.: Quinn,
l957. Also in J. E. Pournelle and John F. Carr, eds. There Will Be
War. New York: TOR, l983.
The army insists on
using robots to fight Satan's minions in Armageddon. The machines win, but
Christ then appears, resurrects the fallen robots, and carries them off to
Heaven, leaving humanity behind.
___. Journey Beyond Tomorrow (expanded from "The
Journey of Joenes," Fantasy and Science Fiction, October, November l962). New York: Signet, l962.
London: Gollancz, l964. London: Corgi, l966.
A comic, Kafkaesque
modern version of Candide, written in
the form of folktales told by various Pacific islanders and others. Voltaire's
framework is followed in many details, and the tone is reminiscent of the
Frenchman's as well. Joenes, a naive young man from the island of Manituatua,
goes to the United States where he meets Lum, his guitar-playing, dope-taking
hip sidekick. His story satirizes many aspects of contemporary life: the
courts, prisons, universities, utopian politics, government bureaucracy, and
the military. Joenes winds up in the "Octagon" in Washington, D.C.,
where he reenacts part of the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur in his
wanderings through the maze of hallways. The U.S. has recently demolished Io,
moon of Jupiter, in a bomb test. The Russians have responded by blowing up
Neptune. Joenes is sent on a diplomatic mission to the USSR and learns that a
border war has broken out between the Russians and the Chinese. On the way home
an American automatic radar station mistakenly identifies his plane as an enemy
craft and fires missiles at it, beginning a war of the U.S. against itself,
each coast believing the other has been seized by the enemy. Lum and Joenes
escape and go to Fiji, where Lum becomes a guru and Joenes builds an empire
founded on the elimination of all metal by dumping it in the sea. When his
fanatical antimetal policy is criticized, Joenes answers, "Man, you ever
try to build a atom bomb out of coral and coconut shells?" The only civilization
left is on the Pacific islands. Compare Poul Anderson's Maurai tales.
Store of the Worlds" (originally "The World of Heart's Desire." Playboy, September 1959). In The Wonderful World
of Robert Sheckley. New York: Bantam, 1979.
Also in Isaac Asimov, Martin Harry Greenberg and Charles G. Waugh, eds.
Catastrophes! New York: Fawcett, 1981. 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.
An effective trick
ending story. A man gives all his worldly goods and ten years of his life to
experience another reality, which turns out to be life as we know it. It is
then revealed that he lives in a devastated world and that all his earthly
goods are a pair of boots, a knife, two coils of copper wire, and three small
cans of corned beef.
Sheckley, Robert and Harlan Ellison. See Ellison.
Sheffield, Charles. Trader's World. New York: Del Rey, 1988.
The adventures of a brilliant, courageous trader/negotiator in the varied neofeudal kingdoms into which Earth has divided in the wake of the Lostlands War, which left much of the planet a radioactive wasteland. Some nations are rearming and are at the end of the novel poised once more at the brink of nuclear war.
Sheldon, Alice. See Tiptree, James Jr.
Sherred, T. L. "E for Effort" (Astounding,
May, l947). In T. L. Sherred. First Person, Peculiar. New York: Ballantine, l972. Also in Groff Conklin,
ed. The Big Book of Science Fiction. New York: Crown, l950 (omitted from Berkley edition). Rpt. as The
Classic Book of Science Fiction. New York:
Bonanza, 1978. Also 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,
1956. Also in John W. Campbell, Jr., ed. The Second Astounding
Science Fiction Anthology. London: Grayson,
l954 (not in the same title published by Four Square). Also in John W.
Campbell, Jr., ed. Astounding Tales of Space and Time. New York: Berkley, l957. Also in John W. Campbell,
Jr., ed. The First Astounding Science Fiction Anthology. London: Four Square, l964 (not in the same title
published by Grayson). Also in Damon Knight, ed. A Century of Great
Short Science Fiction Novels. New York:
Delacorte, l964. New York: Dell, l965. London: Gollancz, l965. London:
Mayflower, l968. Also in Ben Bova, ed. Science Fiction Hall of Fame,
vol. 2B. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday,
l973. New York: Avon, l974. Also in Martin H. Greenberg and Charles G. Waugh,
eds. Hollywood Unreel. New York:
Taplinger, 1982. Also in Stanley Schmidt, ed. War and Peace: Possible
Futures from Analog. New York: Dial, l983.
Also in Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg, eds. The Great Science
Fiction Stories: 9 (1947). New York: DAW,
machine that can view the past is used to make historical films with the twin
aims of making money and educating the public to the true nature of war. When
it is revealed that no one's secrets are safe, including nuclear secrets, the
army seizes the device, its inventors are jailed, the people riot, and a
catastrophic war breaks out. The policy of atomic secrecy is criticized as
retarding progress. The people and their leaders are depicted as uniformly
Sherwood, Robert E. "The Third World War." See in Collier's.
Shinnell, Grace. "Atlantis Discovered: Meet the
Skyscraper People of the Burning West." In Nuke-Rebuke: Writers
& Artists Against Nuclear Energy & Weapons. Iowa City, Iowa: The Spirit That Moves Us Press, 1984.
satirical account of our culture by an ignorant historian two millenia after
Shirley, John. Eclipse (A Song Called Youth: Book One). New York: Popular Library, 1985.
A group of Arab terrorists triggered an EMP bomb in space which almost set off a holocaust: three Cruise missiles had to be aborted, and fortunately two more were shot down by the Soviets. . . . The pulse wiped out the U.S. Banking system and destroyed the country's economy, as in Strieber and Kunetka's Warday. In 1998 a treaty eliminating all but small tactical weapons was negotiated. However, the Soviet Union has invaded Western Europe, attacking out of fear of the newly-installed Strategic Defense Satellites which were about to become operational. Although their advance has been halted by the use of NATO's remaining nuclear bombs, the war rages on five years after it began. Neurotoxins and gigantic building-crushing machines are being used as well. Most European cities are largely depopulated. The plot concerns the battle of a gang of rock-loving youngsters against the fascists who seize a space colony and threaten to take over the Earth. An author's note at the beginning states: This is not a post-holocaust novel. Nor is this a novel about nuclear war. It may well be that this is a pre-holocaust novel. The series is labelled by its publishers "The ultimate cyberpunk saga."
Shute: Nevil [pseud. of Nevil Shute Norway]. On the Beach. London:
Heinemann, l957. London: Pan, l966. New York: Morrow, l957. New York: Signet,
l958. New York: Bantam, l968. New York: Scholastic Book Services, l968.
best seller in which a nuclear war ends all human life through blast or delayed
radiation effects. Set in Australia, which had assumed it would be safe. By and
large, people are passive, try to pretend life will go on, or plunge into a
fatalistic frenzy of pleasure. The submarine captain insists on remaining
faithful to his wife. Although she is almost certainly dead along with their
children and everyone else in America, he persists in fantasizing that he will
return to her; the Australian woman who loves him goes along with his fantasy,
sacrificing her own desires to his psychic need to deny the reality of the
nuclear war which took his family but left him alive, if only temporarily. The
theme of sexual abstinence is part of a larger theme of breakdown and failure
in the novel, in which life as usual becomes impossible in the face of
universal death, and those who pretend that life can go on as normal are
deluding themselves. Stanley Kramer's 1959 film version of the novel falsifies
this aspect of the novel by satisfying audience desires that the couple should
enjoy one night of love together. Helen Clarkson criticizes what she takes to
be Shute's puritanism in The Last Day
when one of the characters criticizes a novel clearly meant to recall On
the Beach: "A man and woman fall in
love. He's married, but his wife is in another part of the world and is almost
certainly dead. So what do they do? They say: This is no time for dirty little
love affairs. What a strange culture we live in! A culture where love is
'dirty' and a hundred megaton bomb is 'clean'. If Stone Age Man had thought life
dirty and death clean, we would not be here today. I'm beginning to think that
modern man is, quite literally, too dainty to live." Despite the
criticisms made of its central scientific premises, the novel is still a moving
and powerful depiction of the death of the human race. According to Grant
Burns's The Atomic Papers, the
novel was also rendered as a newspaper comic strip (p. 283). Remade as a TV movie, 2000. In Magill: 4,
l603-07. [More, More, More & More]
Siegel, Barbara and Scott. Firebrats no. 1: The Burning Land. New York: Archway, 1987. London: Teens, 1988.
First novel in a series of survivalist tales aimed at young people. A teenaged boy and girl are sheltered in the basement of a community theater when nuclear war breaks out. They suffer a mild case of radiation sickness and are besieged by wild dogs. When an earthquake destroys the building over their heads a month later, they dig their way out to find themselves threatened by a gang of escaped convicts. They escape to head for California, where the hero hopes to find the rest of his family still alive. Compare with Tony Phillips: Turbo Cowboys.
___. Firebrats no. 2: Survivors. New York: Archway, 1987. London: Teens, 1988.
The protagonists cross a huge river on a raft, are taken in by a kindly old survivalist who teaches them various useful techniques and helps them destroy a pack of bandits. The hero and heroine take turn's rescuing each other from peril throughout this series.
___. Firebrats no. 3: Thunder Mountain. New York: Archway, 1987.
The protagonists take shelter in a cave, where they meet three young children who have been living there. They are rescued from a lion by a friendly veterinarian who, like Noah, is trying to preserve various animal species. Huge swarms of insects created by the nuclear war sweep over the landscape, but the protagonists escape and head west again.
___. Firebrats no. 4: Shockwave. New York: Archway, 1988. London: Teens, 1988.
As nuclear autumn persists the protagonists foil a band of slave-trading bikers and save Denver from flooding caused by a lake which was formed by the bombing.
Silverberg, Robert. The Election. In Elizabeth Mitchell, ed. After the Flames. New York: Baen, 1985.
The radiation is dying down and the forest is returning fifteen years after the Blowup, which, along with the ensuing Anarchy, destroyed from sixty to seventy percent of the population and disintegrated the United States. An emissary of the Provisional Federal Government, centered in Kentucky, arrives in a small isolated down to prepare them to participate in a forthcoming national election; but the residents are not so sure that reviving t he federal government is a good idea. The local political boss makes instead a strong case for benign dictatorship.
"The Four" (Science Fiction Stories, August l958). In Dimension Thirteen. New York: Ballantine, l969. Also in World
of a Thousand Colors. New York: Arbor
House, 1982. Also in Sunrise on Mercury. London: Gollancz, 1983.
In an undersea
domed city populated by telepathic holocaust survivors a rebellious woman joins
with three others in a forbidden act: to explore mentally the world outside.
They have been taught that Earth's surface is now a lethal wasteland, but it
appears lush and beautiful. Condemned to death by drowning, they use their
powers to teleport themselves to land, knowing that the backwash from their
escape will doom five hundred of their fellow citizens. The idyllic vision
turns out to be a hoax by one of her comrades as they perish horribly in the
___. "Road to
Nightfall" (Fantastic Universe,
July l958). In Dark Stars. New
York: Ballantine, l969. Also in Parsecs and Parables: Ten Science
Fiction Stories. Garden City, N.Y.:
Doubleday, l970. Also in The Best of Robert Silverberg. New York: Pocket Books, l976. Also in Hans S.
Santesson, ed. The Fantastic Universe Omnibus. Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, l960.
When the food dole
to New York City is cut off by the surviving regional government in Trenton
after twenty-four years of war, the survivors resort to cannibalism. A savage,
fairly effective tale.
___. The Thirteenth Immortal. New York: Ace, l957.
the Great Blast of 2062, a new dark age descends on the world. Animal and human
mutants abound, and twelve immortals divide the neofeudal world between them. The
hero's quest turns into a story of self-discovery and he learns that he is the
thirteenth immortal whose destiny it is to break down the walls isolating his
father's highly technological Antarctic desmene from the other, more primitive
ones. "Machines have destroyed civilization, people said. But had they? No, not the machines. It was man's use
of the machines. . . ."
___. Tom O Bedlam. New York: Donald I. Fine, 1985. London: Orbit, 1987.
A story of contact with aliens, somewhat reminiscent of Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End, set in 2103 in a world contaminated by fallout from the Dust War, in which radioactive clouds were used rather than bombs. Religious cults and various forms of mysticism play a major role in the work.
___. "When We
Went to See the End of the World." In Terry Carr, ed. Universe 2. New York: Ace, 1972. Also in Unfamiliar
Territory. New York: Scribner's, 1973. Also
in Earth Is the Strangest Planet.
Nashville: Nelson, 1977. Also in Terry Carr, ed. The Best Science
Fiction of the Year, no. 2. New York:
Ballantine, 1972. Also in Lester del Rey, ed. Best Science Fiction
Stories of the Year (1972). New York:
Dutton, 1973. Also in Gregory Fitz Gerald & John Dillon, eds. The
Late Great Future. Greenwich, Conn.:
Fawcett, 1976. Also in Scott Edlestein, ed. Future Pastimes. Nashville: Aurora, 1977.
a future chaotic society plagued by violence, including the use of nuclear
weapons in urban riots, wealthy travelers voyage to the future to witness the
end of the world, but each sees something different. The implication is that
the end that matters is the dreadful present. Says a time-travel company
representative, "Of course, we have to expect apocalyptic stuff to attain
immense popularity in times like these."
Simak, Clifford D.
"Lobby" (Astounding, April
1944). In Groff Conklin, ed. The Best of Science Fiction. New York: Crown, l946. New York: Bonanza, 1963. Rpt.
as The Golden Age of Science Fiction. New York: Bonanza, 1980.
Agents of the
conventional power industry sabotage a nuclear power plant to prevent the
implementation of the new energy technology, but as the story ends it is claimed
that atomics will prevail and scientists rule the world. The atomic explosion
which results from the plant's sabotage earns it a place here, although it is
not strictly speaking an act of war.
Simpson, George E. and Neal R. Burger. Fair Warning. New York:
Delacorte, 1980. New York: Dell, 1981.
A lengthy, complex
thriller which concerns a plan to ship a planeload of scientists working on the
atomic bomb to Japan to convince the enemy that it should surrender rather than
be hit by the new weapon. A Russian spy ring operating in the Manhattan Project
learns of the plan and diverts the plane, hoping to kidnap the scientists and
seize the valuable papers on board. They are foiled by a heroic security agent,
but the Japanese are warned too late: the bomb has already been dropped. The
ending is hardly tragic, however, since the whole idea of warning the Japanese
is presented in a most unsympathetic manner.
Sinclair, Andrew. The
Project. New York: Simon & Schuster,
mad scientist sets a test superweapon to hit Russia and explode all other
weapons on Earth. Most of the novel is devoted to relationships among the
scientists working on the project. On the last page universal annihilation
seems inevitable, but has not actually yet taken place.
Sinclair, Upton. A
Giant's Strength: A Three-Act Drama of the Atomic Bomb. Girard, Kan.: Haldeman-Julius, 1947. London: Werner
American family reacts to radio broadcasts of the bombing of Hiroshima and the
surrender of Japan, and years later must flee from the impact of an atomic
attack on the U.S. The two most interesting members of the family are a nuclear
physicist and his faithless, frivolous wife. He has worked on the bomb, later
has security problems. In the third act, mysterious sneak attacks are carried
out involving nuclear bombs planted in the harbors of ten large American
cities. The Oak Ridge and Hanford plants are bombed from the air. As the family
flees for a cave in South Dakota, the war spreads to Europe and the USSR. The
U.S. has retaliated against the latter without being certain that it was the
initial aggressor. Seventy-five bombs are dropped over a period of months. The
family cave is invaded by three thugs, one of whom turns out to be dangerously
radioactive. The physicist's wife leaves with them to set up a protection
racket. Industry is being moved underground as the war stretches on with no end
in sight. The son of the family ends the play with a passionate plea for peace.
Much of the play is given over to satirizing the frivolous nature of radio
programming and advertising.
___. O Shepherd, Speak! New York: Viking, 1949. London:
Werner Laurie, 1950.
novel in the ten-volume series of Lanny Budd novels, set during the latter part
of World War II. The hero, a secret agent and art appraiser for the army,
manages to be on the spot for all the high points: the Battle of the Bulge, the
seizure of Nazi atomic energy secrets, the capture of Werner Heisenberg, the
liberation of Dachau, the Trinity test, the Nuremberg trials, etc. Budd is
depicted as a friend of Einstein, Roosevelt, Göring, and Hitler. The danger
that the Germans will develop the atomic bomb first is a theme that runs
throughout the early part of the novel. Budd is briefly involved in the
Manhattan Project as an observer, but hears of Hiroshima and Nagasaki from a
distance. Much of the latter part of the novel is given over to
socialist-pacifist preachments, as the hero tries to spend the million dollars
left him by an aunt to promote peace.
Sisson, Marjorie. The Cave. Hemingway Grey: Vine Press, 1957.
In the distant future, after the destruction of New York (perhaps in a nuclear war), Prof. Adamson is exploring a prehistoric cave with his little daughter Yvette when another, catastrophic war breaks out. The two stay sealed up in the cave for years, waiting for the devastation outside to abate, then emerge into a Edenic world to become the new Adam and Eve. A 20-page story bound as a volume with illustrations.
Skobolev, Eduard. Catastrophe. Orig. 1983. Trans. from Russian by Sergei Sossinsky. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1989.
A ruminative philosophical novel told from shifting perspectives, set on a mythical tropical island which still suffers in the postcolonial era from imperialist domination. A varied cast of characters discusses human nature, the future of communism, and the madness of nuclear weapons. Two-thirds of the way though the novel nuclear war breaks out, a few characters find refuge in a super-shelter, but end by murdering each other. A remarkably gloomy view of humanity's nuclear future from a Byelorussian author.
"After: Four Fables of the Post-Bomb World" (Playboy, July l960). In Anon, ed. From the
"S" File. Chicago: Playboy, l97l.
Consists of four short sketches:
memory expert finds his skills are no longer in demand in the postholocaust
world, but he finds work teaching courses in how to forget.
there are eight hundred female survivors for every male, a murderer is
condemned to marry his victim's eighteen wives.
haberdashery business will thrive after the war since mutants will need twice
as many hats.
in Judith Merril, ed. 6th Annual Edition: The Year's Best S-F. New York: Simon & Schuster, l96l. New York:
Dell, l962. Rpt. as The Best of Science Fiction. London: Mayflower, l963. Also in Isaac Asimov, Martin
H. Greenberg and Joseph D. Olander, eds. l00 Great Science Fiction
Short-Short Stories. Garden City, N.Y.:
scientists seeking refuge from World War III arrive on a tropical island and
check the natives for radioactivity. The latter are impressed by the magical
power that the whites have to cause the Geiger counter to click wildly, so they
kill and eat them. They celebrate, "for now, they too were gods. The
little boxes had begun to click magically for them, also."
"Ersatz." In Harlan Ellison, ed. Dangerous Visions. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, l967. New York: Signet,
The ultimate tale
of homophobia: the threat of sex with a transvestite he meets in a bar is
enough to drive a soldier back out into a nuclear battle. 
___. "The Old
Man" (The Diner's Club Magazine,
September l962). In Isaac Asimov, Martin H. Greenberg and Joseph D. Olander,
eds. Microcosmic Tales: l00 Wondrous Science Fiction Short-Short
Stories. New York: Taplinger, l980. Made into an episodde of The Twilight Zone, 1963, titled "The Old Man in the Cave" (season 5, episode 7).
postholocaust generation rebels against the unseen elder who runs their
society, slays his keepers, and destroys what turns out to be a computer.
Without its knowledge, they soon die.
Slonczewski, Joan. The Wall Around Eden. New York: Morrow, 1989. New York: Avon, 1990. London: The Women's Press, 1991.
Small pockets of survivors of World War III find themselves enclosed in protective domes created by benevolent aliens while the rest of the world succumbs to nuclear winter. A strongly pacifist feminist story asserting the need to abandon violence as a means of survival. Deals conscientiously with radiation-induced diseases and birth defects. Compare with Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis trilogy.
Ashton. "Phoenix." In Time to Come. New York: Farrar, Straus & Young, l954. New York: Berkley, l958.
Also in Other Dimensions. Sauk
City, Wis.: Arkham House, l970. Also in Richard J. Hurley, ed. Beyond
Belief. New York: Scholastic Book Services,
l966. Also in Isaac Asimov, Martin Harry Greenberg and Charles G. Waugh, eds. Catastrophes! New York: Fawcett, l98l.
numerous nuclear wars the sun has grown cold and the human race has retreated
underground. Leftover weapons are fired into the sun to rekindle its heat, but
the heroes who fly on the mission die in the process.
[pseud. of Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger]. The Planet Buyer (expanded from "The Boy Who Bought Old
Earth," Galaxy, April l964).
New York: Pyramid, l964. London: Sphere, 1975. Most of this story and its
sequel, "The Store of Heart's Desire" (If, May 1964) were incorporated, with other materials, in
the posthumously published novel Norstrilia . New York: Ballantine, 1975.
survivors of the holocaust sell an immortality drug excreted by their mutated
E[lmer]. Triplanetary (shorter version
in Amazing, January, February,
March, April 1934). Reading, Pa.: Fantasy, 1950. New York: Pyramid, 1965.
London: Boardman, 1954.
The first third of
the book, added in the 1950 version, surveys Earth's history as the
battleground of the evil Eddorians and the benign Arisians. Atlantis is
destroyed by an atomic missile manipulated by the Eddorians. Chapter 6 depicts
a devastating atomic missile conflict, and later chapters depict the use of
typical thirties-style atomic rays and bombs in space combat. This book forms
the introduction to the popular "Lensman" series, but was completed
"The Last of the Spode" (Fantasy and Science Fiction, June l953). In Groff Conklin, ed. l7 X
Infinity. New York: Dell, l963. Also in
Annette P. McComas, ed. The Eureka Years. New York: Bantam, 1982.
satire in which a tiny surviving remnant of the British upper class carries on
with stiff upper lip despite the nuclear holocaust. They confront with courage
the ultimate horror: the possibility that they may run out of tea.
H[enry]. The Coming of the Rats. London:
Pike, l96l. London: Digit, l964. Israel: Priory, n.d.
pornographic novel written in response to the "missile gap," which it
discusses. The war is called the "Blow-Up." A Los Angeles ad agency
executive provisions a cave shelter in the country on land belonging to an
elderly Mexican and his sexy eighteen-year-old daughter. The latter seduces
him. Learning that rats are more resistant to radiation than humans, he
provides himself with cats, dogs, and ferrets to do battle with the anticipated
hordes. He is also in love with an idiotic blonde who insists on keeping her
virtue and who resists being rescued when the bombs fall ("Really! Atomic
War! . . . Some men will do anything to get a girl to do what
they want her to do," she comments). She continues to refuse her favors
and services in the cave, nagging at him insufferably. Finally he takes a trip
into a nearby town and finds it almost uninhabited as a result of radiation and
bacteriological warfare. He encounters a wino with fistfulls of now worthless
cash, desperate for a drink. A fourteen-year-old girl whose hair is falling out
from radiation disease propositions him, wanting canned food. He gives her canned
dog food, which horrifies her. He takes a dog from some men planning to eat it.
His first battle with rats takes place in an army-navy surplus store where he
acquires a few supplies. He comes upon a gang intent on raping a woman and her
fourteen-year-old daughter; although he cannot prevent the mother from being
assaulted, he works his way free and kills the men. When he returns, the blonde
complains that he didn't bring the nice clothes and makeup she had wanted. The
protagonist, frustrated, finally rapes the blonde; she responds
enthusiastically. Three vicious teenagers kill the old Mexican and threaten to
rape the women (there is good rape and bad rape in this novel: this is bad
rape). The blonde sides with the hoods and must be rescued against her will as
the protagonist forces them to dig their own grave and then kills them. He
finally realizes that he has loved little Rosa all along, the blonde repents
and together they battle an onslaught of giant rats (perhaps mutated as a
result of bomb test fallout) in a scene reminiscent of the conclusion of A
Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
The novel ends with both women, having served as draft animals in the plowing
and having become pregnant as well, looking forward to a prosperous life with
the protagonist. The (very mild) sex scenes are written according to the rigid
but peculiar formulas of late fifties and early sixties porn in which prudery
is vicious, sexual generosity admirable, and women respond enthusiastically to
___. Doomsday Wing. Derby, Conn.: Monarch, l963.
In this complement
to Peter George's Red Alert, published
one year after Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler's Fail-Safe, an insane Russian general takes advantage of a new
Berlin blockade to make a first strike against the U.S. in order to force his
country to fight an all-out nuclear war. The complete destruction of America by
short-range missiles launched from Soviet merchant vessels is narrowly avoided
when the hero flies to Russia and escorts a group of experts back to Denver to
inspect the Doomsday Wing he helps to command--a battery of cobalt bombs
designed to kill all life on Earth. During this flight he cleverly diverts some
heat-seeking missiles into burning Stalingrad. The Russians agree to what
promises to be a lasting peace. This is one of the better-researched nuclear
war novels, replete with references to Herman Kahn's On Thermonuclear
War (1978) and other works. It debunks the
bomber and missile gaps. It also portrays a more rational Soviet Union (with
the unfortunate exception of the mad general) than most. Perhaps to justify the
building of a doomsday weapon, it stresses the inadequacy of our defenses
against a nuclear attack: "The White House and Capitol were vaporized
instantly and the Pentagon with its deeply buried War Room ceased to
exist." It also argues that the navy has been allowed to shrink
dangerously. Another passage seems aimed at protesters: "Another
thirty-megaton weapon devastated Holy Loch, Scotland, catching two Polaris subs
and their tenders. Wiped out with them were three hundred Ban the Bomb marchers
who had been picketing the base." Communications between the two warring
nations are made unnecessarily difficult by making it impossible for the two
heads of state to use the hot line while they are in transit. An officious
senator (the hero's father-in-law) tries to assume command and order the
doomsday weapons to be used out of sheer stupidity. The lesson to be learned is
rather unclear. On the one hand, the doomsday weapons are portrayed as
monstrous, and those who would use them as irresponsible. Yet it is the
existence of the Doomsday Wing alone that prevents the complete destruction of
the United States and brings peace. A moderately happy ending for the hero is
achieved when it is discovered that his two children have survived but that his
obnoxious wife has been killed, leaving him free to love a beautiful colleague.
___. "Take Me
to Your Leader." In Isaac Asimov, Martin Harry Greenberg and Joseph D.
Olander, eds. Microscopic Tales: l00 Wondrous Science Fiction Short-Short
Stories. New York: Taplinger, l980.
A man travels from
a parallel Earth to warn that the Russians have just attacked the U.S. in his
home world, but the version of Earth in which he has arrived can't use his warning:
the Russians are still ruled by the czar and the U.S. is governed by a
hereditary successor of Jefferson Davis.
Smith, George O.
"The Answer." Astounding,
Although the United
Nations has banned the production of plutonium, the dictator of an unnamed
country plans to create his own bombs. He discovers, however, that all U.N.
correspondence previously sent him was done on paper especially designed to
become highly radioactive--even explosive--if plutonium is created anywhere in
its vicinity, turning his nation's offices into a huge bomb. Only known example
of the world being saved through bureaucratic paperwork.
Undamned." Astounding, January
After nuclear war
was frustrated by the invention of effective defensive shields, Earth united
and colonized Mars, which rebelled against the mother planet. During the Third
Interplanetary War atomic bombing was resumed. The story discusses attempts to
deal with a Martian telepathic bomb fuse that detonates when anyone thinks
about defusing it.
Smith, L. Neil. Nagasaki
Vector. New York: Ballantine, 1983.
A time traveler is
plunged into an alternative universe when he flies his ship through Nagasaki at
the moment the atomic bomb exploded there. He winds up in an anarchist utopia
where atomic bombs are used for construction and it has never occurred to
anyone to use them as weapons. A comic adventure story.
Chase. "Russia's Rebirth." See under Collier's.
Smith, Martin Cruz. Stallion Gate. New York: Random House, 1986.
The story of the building of the atomic bomb from the point of view of
Robert Oppenheimer's Indian driver, who is set to spy on him by the paranoid
head of the military intelligence unit. This well-crafted novel mixes history
and fiction, dealing in equal parts with the morality of the building of the
bomb, the paranoia about spies (the protagonist catches Klaus Fuchs, but his
boss is more interested in Oppenheimer), and the treatment of the local Indians.
At the climax, the protagonist sneaks away from his job long enough to win a
prize fight that will earn him the money to buy a jazz nightclub, but he is
killed in the end when he is trapped at the Trinity test site when the bomb goes
off. Stallion's Gate is the original name of the site selected for the test.
Smith, better known for Gorky Park, is, according to the dustjacket, part
"Moscow Olympics." See under Collier's.
Snow, C[harles] P[ercy]. The New Men. London: Macmillan, 1954. New York: Scribner's,
narrator's brother is a nuclear physicist working on the British atomic bomb
project. After an initial failure, fission is achieved. The project is
interrupted by the successful American construction of a bomb. The use of the
weapon at Hiroshima comes as a shock, and concern is expressed that science
will be discredited because of it. Physicists are noted as being more concerned
about the consequences of their actions than engineers. At the end of the
story, it is discovered that British scientists have passed information to the
Snyder, Guy. Testament XXI. New York: DAW, 1973.
returns from an expedition to Bernard's (sic) Star to find the Earth, 136 years after the holocaust, a wasteland
divided into feudal underground kingdoms. Detroit is dominated by a ruthless
priesthood which wages continuing nuclear war with Chicago.
Sohl, Jerry. Point
Ultimate. New York: Rinehart, 1955. Garden
City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1955. New York Bantam, 1959.
In 1969 the
Russians conquered the U.S. with H-bombs, having safeguarded themselves by
erecting an impregnable barrier around their own country. They subdue the
population by setting loose a plague virus which must be inoculated against
every month. Thirty years later a young man who is immune to the virus sets off
on a quest to find other rebels against their cruel dictatorship. After various
captures, escapes, and near-misses, he joins a group smuggling immune women and
children to Mars. One of the most fantastic of the Russian-occupation novels.
Soldati, Mario. The
Emerald. Originally Lo Smeraldo. Milano: Arnoldo Mondadori, l974. Trans. from
Italian by William Weaver. New York: Harcourt, l977.
A bizarre fantasy
in which a man of the present dreams he has entered a future in which the Earth
is divided into northern and southern sectors as the result of a plot of the
industrialized nations to protect themselves from the Third World.
"Satellites" (it is not clear what Soldati means by this term, they
seem to be missiles) have been used to create a radioactive barrier called the
"Line;" but due to an error, it bisects Russia, Italy, and several
other countries. The northern zone is ruled by an East-West coalition called
"The United Socialist States of America Europe Asia." Family life is
discouraged, homosexuality encouraged to keep the birth rate down. Movies are
prohibited, but the other arts are encouraged. The story depicts the protagonist's
journey across the Line--no longer radioactive, although most people do not
know this--carrying an emerald as a gift for a woman with whom he is sexually
obsessed. His quest ends in disaster, but he awakes to discover he has been
writing this dream in his room. Rather well written, and unusual in depicting
homosexuality and masochism sympathetically, but the novel has little bearing
on the subject of nuclear war. Compare Lan Stormont's Tan Ming.
"The Last Line of the Haiku" (Amazing, November 1981). In Fire from the Wine Dark Sea. Norfolk, Va.: Starblaze, 1983.
In the year 2022,
on a dying postholocaust Earth, a philosophical whale communicates
telepathically with a young Japanese woman, offering to teach humanity how to
face death by radiation and plague. Whale embryos are implanted in her ovaries,
to be removed and transported to another world by starship. When it is revealed
that humans were the creation of ancient cetetian scientists, the Japanese
realize they have been guilty of parricide in carrying on the whale hunt, and
masses of them commit suicide. When her father kills himself, the young woman
decides reluctantly to go on the starship to colonize a new world.
and Haiku. New York Pocket Books, 1981.
the same story as the above, told at greater length. A moving novel.
B[eall]. If All the Rebels Die. Garden
City, N.Y.: Doubleday, l966. New York: Avon, l968.
The U.S. surrenders
to the Soviet Union after a nuclear exchange and is occupied by enemy troops.
America is forced to disarm itself of nuclear weapons. Washington D.C., and
many other cities are spared because the Russians aim at conquest rather than
mere annihilation. The novel is set in Texas, where a local oil millionaire
organizes aid and resistance until he is arrested and shot. The protagonist is
a professor at a Texas college who overcomes his liberal scruples and those of
his colleagues to become a local leader in the underground resistance struggle,
coordinated nationwide into an eventually successful revolt. The Russian
occupation is ruthless: everyone must register, a curfew is imposed, the young
are drafted into forced-labor brigades, all business and industry is
nationalized, guns are confiscated as well as second cars; deformed children
and the insane are killed, birth control is prevented; censorship is imposed;
the colleges are controlled; Marxist study groups are set up; exemplary
killings of citizens in reprisal for attacks on Russians are carried out; a
Babi Yar-style mass execution is perpetrated, and food is exported from the
U.S. to Russia while Americans are fed contaminated meat and vegetables. It is
pointed out unlikely the Russians will respond to a rebellion by massive
bombing of the cities since too many of their own troops are stationed there.
of the book consists of a very detailed and fairly convincing account of the
building of a resistance movement. The objections of intellectuals and ordinary
citizens who find resistance distasteful are mercilessly satirized, although
the novel is not simplistically one-sided. The conclusion is ambiguous: the
rebellion seems to be successful, but the last scene depicts the protagonist
dying in guilt and despair as he realizes that he has failed to prevent the
deaths by nuclear bomb (triggered by the resistance to kill enemy troops) of
thousands of teenagers left behind in the evacuated city. He is blinded by the
bomb blast just before being shot. His wife is depicted as hysterically
foolish, his son and daughter as heroic. Comparable in theme to C. M.
Kornbluth's much better known Not This August, but Southwell's book is superior on several counts: it is much more
sophisticated about Russia and communism (although still clearly quite biased);
it explores the reactions of people to the occupation in a far more detailed,
complex, and credible manner; and it takes seriously the moral ambiguities
involved in a ruthless resistance struggle.
"The Big Flash." In Damon Knight, ed. Orbit 5. New York: Putnam, l969. New York: Berkley, l969.
Also in Norman Spinrad. The Star-Spangled Future. New York: Ace, 1979. Also in Stephen Whaky and
Stanley J. Cook, eds. Man Unwept: Visions from the Inner Eye. New York: McGraw-Hill, l974. Also in Damon Knight,
ed. The Best from Orbit. New
York: Berkley, l975. Also in James E. Gunn, ed. The Road to Science
Fiction #3: From Heinlein to Here. New
York: Signet, l979. Also in H. Bruce Franklin, ed. Countdown to
Midnight: Twelve Great Stories About Nuclear War. New York: DAW, 1984. 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.
A rock group is
secretly sponsored by the military which uses it to promote the idea that the
use of nuclear weapons in Southeast Asia is acceptable. They are all too
successful: the idea of a nuclear holocaust as an apocalyptic solution to the
world's problems becomes popular. The result is an all-out nuclear war. 
___. "A Child
of Mind" (Originally "Your Name Shall Be . . . Darkness," Amazing
Stories, January l964). In The
Last Hurrah of the Golden Horde. Garden
City, N.Y.: Doubleday, l970. New York: Avon, l970. New York: Popular Library,
l975. London: MacDonald, l97l.
explorer reluctantly uses doomsday bombs to destroy all life on a planet which
produces insidiously attractive females who threaten the survival of the human
___. The Iron
Dream. New York: Avon, l972. Boston: Gregg,
1977. New York: Jove, l978. New York: Timescape, l982.
A frame narrative
establishes that the bulk of the book is a novel entitled Lord of the
Swastika by Adolph Hitler in an alternate
history in which he remained an illustrator and writer instead of becoming
führer. The nuclear war--called the "Time of Fire"--resulted in a
massive mutation-screening program to preserve the pure human genotype. Feric
Jaggar begins as the leader of a motorcyle gang, and battles the mutant Doms
whose telepathic power controls their armies. His genocidal crusade fails to
stop the launching of a devastating salvo of leftover nuclear weapons. Jaggar
sterilizes everyone, plans to repopulate the world with perfect S.S. clones,
and sends out ships to conquer other star systems. Like in much of Spinrad's
other fiction (for instance, The Men in the Jungle), here he seems to deplore violence while revelling
it. He provides his own criticism and self-defense in an afterword that
presents a critique of Hitler's novel as a phallic violence fantasy. See Casey
Fredericks, The Future of Eternity: Mythologies of Science Fiction
and Fantasy (Bloomington: Indiana Univ.
Press, l982), l02-05; Theodore Sturgeon's introduction to the Gregg Press
edition. In Magill, 3: l062-67. [
More, With Feeling" (Knight l969).
In The Last Hurrah of the Golden Horde. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, l970. New York: Avon, l970. New York:
Popular Library, l975. London: MacDonald, l97l.
An American soldier
on leave encounters a strange young Russian woman in a bar, a time-traveling
thrill-seeker from the grim post-Big War future dominated by the victorious
World Union of Soviet Socialist States. It is revealed that he too is a
time-traveler--from that very war, in which he was responsible for the nuclear
bombing of Moscow. She's turned on; he's disgusted.
the Torch." In Threads of Time.
Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1974. Also in Isaac Asimov, Martin Harry
Greenberg, and Charles G. Waugh, eds. The 7 Cardinal Virtues of
Science Fiction. New York: Fawcett, 1981.
Also in Isaac Asimov, Martin Harry Greenberg, and Charles G. Waugh, eds.
The Deadly Sins and Cardinal Virtues of Science Fiction. New York: Bonanza, 1982.
only in space after the Earth has been contaminated by the Slow Motion War. The
hopeless search for a new planet is maintained by "voidsuckers" who
foster the myth of a future home for humanity because they are addicted to the
experience of space. A filmmaker experiences space himself, learns the truth,
but makes a deceptive film, continuing the lie. A fine story.
___. Songs From
the Stars. New York: Simon and Schuster,
l980. New York: Pocket Books, l98l.
future rejects what is called "black" technology. A couple encounters
a new generation of scientists which sends them to an orbiting space station
containing tapes from a galactic civilization which will transform life on
earth. A new twist on the old anti-technology theme. Muted optimism in the
"Technicality" (Analog, August
l966). In The Last Hurrah of the Golden Horde. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, l970. New York: Avon,
l970. New York: Popular Library, l975. London: MacDonald, 1971. As "Down
the Rabbit Hole." In James Sallis, ed. The War Book. London: Hart-Davis, 1969.
Earth has been
overrun by fanatical green bunny rabbits who respond to H-bombs with weapons
like barf gas and suicide and love rays. Directly assaulted, they passively
allow themselves to be killed, for they are militant pacifists who are driven
to conquer but cannot kill.
___. "World War Last." In Elizabeth Mitchell, ed. After the Flames. New York: Baen, 1985.
A complex and bizarre farce concerning drug-dealing, kidnapping, and nuclear terrorism in the Middle East. A fanatical Arab plots to get the superpowers to annihilate each other and Israel in a nuclear conflict. A plane accidentally bombs the French coastline, the Russians and the Americans both bomb the Arab, and the resulting crater is turned into a resort. The Middle Eastern oilfields are set on fire by the conflict. The Russian premier is a computer-activated corpse.
Springer, Nancy. "Serenity." In Fantasy and Science Fiction, January 1989.
Spohr, Carl W. "The Final War" (Wonder Stories, March, April 1932).
A prolonged war involving many technological innovations, including electric ones, becomes more and more lethal, until the use of atomic weapons destroys civilization and annihilates most of humanity. Years later a world government is formed by the survivors, hoping to put an end to war. Effectively portrays modern warfare as self-destructive madness. Spohr was a German artillery officer in WW I.
Stacy, Ryder. Doomsday
Warrior. New York: Zebra, 1984
another blood-and-thunder anti-Red combat novel from Zebra. In 2089, one
hundred years after a panicky Russian first strike on September 11, 1989, hero
Ted "Rock" Rockson, the "ultimate American," leads his band
of resistance fighters against the evil Russian occupation forces who indulge
in all manner of tortures, including the use of a laser brain-burning device.
Conflict between the KGB and the Party is a prominent theme. The Earth's axis
has been tipped and 90 percent of all plant and animal species are extinct.
Most of the rest have mutated. Ninety million Russians died in the attack that
even more severely devastated the U.S. Russian Star Wars technology destroyed
most incoming missiles; only twenty-four got through. Cities with large black
populations were especially targeted, because the Soviets knew that blacks
would make formidable resistance fighters. Radioactive "acid storms"
wreak havoc. Contains the most stupid fallout shelter ever depicted: a vast
underground city was created by trapped commuters in a highway tunnel outside
Denver when it was bombed shut. The novel ends with a particle beam weapon
being used to defeat a party of Russians.
Warrior, No. 2: Red America. New York:
struggles with the Russians. The laser torture device is being used in Pavlov
City to reprogram American workers into zombie soldiers to fight the
resistance. One scientist predicts the sheltered Russians will eventually die,
whereas the Americans have become hardened to radiation by constant exposure.
At one point the captured Rockson is fiendishly tortured by being injected with
an aphrodisiac and strung up opposite a chained nude young woman. She manages to
escape her manacles and relieve his frustration. Toward its end the novel
lapses into self-parody as the rebels meet jive-talking, motorcyle-riding
Indians called "the Crazy Alligators" who model themselves on
Stacy, Rider. American Paradise (Doomsday Warrior no. 13). New York:
___. American Rebellion (Doomsday Warrior no. 6).
New York: Zebra, 1985. London: Futura, 1988.
Last Declaration (Doomsday Warrior #5). New York: Zebra, 1985.
Landing in Lake Superior, Rock kills a Plesiosaurus (a product of regressive
evolution ). He battles man-eating plants, is captured by French-speaking,
panther-keeping Amazons who force him to have gang sex with them. He also
encounters living metal filings. In a strangely anachronistic diner the locals
deny a nuclear war ever happened. He uses his psi powers to win a car in a
poker game. Then he combats cannibalistic bandits.The Russians are now allied
with vat-bred Nazis, and have invaded the U.S. Rock develops a network of mutant
telepaths and uses them to defend Century City (built in a tunnel outside
Denver) from the invaders. One of the defenders is a heroic Jew. Technicians
shoot down incoming jets with particle beam rifles, but one of them succeeds in
dropping a neutron bomb which severely damages Century City, but does not
entirely destroy it. There is a brief reference to nuclear winter early in the
___. Bloody America (Doomsday Warrior #4). New York:
A radioactive "Ocean of Death" erupts from the earth. Rock is
captured by the KGB, tortured, and taken to Moscow, where rebellious starving
Russians have recently been slaughtered. He sees rows of dissidents crucified
along the highway into the city. He es capes, aided by members of a jazz-loving
dissident underground living in the old subway system. He is recaptured, and
forced to fight in the gladiatorial games with a three-armed fang-toothed black
giant. Led by Rock, the prisoners defeat this and other foes and assault the
spectators in the stands. They join forces with the jive-talking jazz rebels,
who use ultrasonic instrument-weapons to free other prisoners. Rock destroys
the missile control center, and knocks out the Soviet satellite system, then
steals a MIG and flies to the U.S., parachuting down over the Great lakes.
Sequel no. 14 American Death Orbit
___. Doomsday Warrior,
No. 4: Bloody America. New York: Zebra, 1985.
Captured and tortured by the KGB, Rock is taken to Moscow in the midst of a violent uprising by starving Russians. The latter are slaughtered, and rows of their crucified corpses line the highway to the city. Rock escapes with the aid of the jazz-loving dissident underground which lives in the abandoned subway system. Rock and his companions are captured and set to fight in the Moscow gladiatorial games with a three-armed, fang-toothed black giant. However, the prisoners turn on the audience in the stands and join the jive-talking jazz rebels who use their ultrasonic instrument-weapons to free other prisoners. Rock destroys the Missile Control Center, steals a tank, knocks out all the satellites, and escapes in an MIG to the Great Lakes.
___. Doomsday Warrior, No. 14: American Death Orbit. New York: Zebra, 1988.
Star Blazers. See Nishizaki.
"Miles to Go Before I Sleep" (Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction
Magazine, April 1982). In Shawna McCarthy,
ed. Isaac Asimov's Space of Her Own.
New York: Dial, 1983. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1984.
Country folk blame
city dwellers for the Great Conflagration and the germ warfare that followed.
The heroine, using borrowed methane-powered cars abandoned by other travelers
balked by broken bridges, is stranded in a rural town and fails to save a young
man who had tried to escape to a city. She does, however, succeed in rescuing a
young crippled girl. It is revealed at the end of the story that the heroine is
a city Mayor.
Stolbov, Bruce. Last Fall. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1987.
A neobarbarian tribe which calls itself "the Survivors" struggles against the constant threat of starvation a generation after a nuclear winter. They annually reenact a commemoration of the holocaust. Two solutions to their problem of nutrition are offered at the end of the novel; one is hopeful an ear of corn for planting, the other ominous cannibalism. A grim and gloomy tale told with considerable art, although the tribe does seem to have developed a neobarbarian culture rather too quickly to be credible since there are still preholocaust survivors living.
"Hot Water." Astounding,
A man uses a
nuclear weapon to close the water-supply tunnel for Denver in an individual
protest. The narrator suggests that this action illustrates that government
tyranny can be ended by individual possession of atomic bombs. See Jack Williamson, "The Equalizer."
Stormont, Lan. Tan
Ming. New York: Exposition, l955.
An amusing fantasy
in which a department store window dresser falls in love with a robot mannequin
and manages to conjure into its body the soul of a princess named Tan Ming from
a postholocaust future. They travel through the countryside and join forces
with an old farmer who detests the ranting of the apocalyptic cult to which his
sister belongs. The narrator notes that the preacher's sermon depicts scenes
resembling a "world-encompassing atomic chain reaction": "The
day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall
pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat,
the earth also and the works that are there shall be burned up." The three
companions make their way into Tan Ming's time, which is the world after the
Great Blast--a fact which it takes them an inordinately long time to discover.
Few people have survived, disease is rampant, the sky is overcast, looting is
frequent, there is no electricity, and even the calendar has been abandoned.
Explosives of all kinds have been banned, and no science except medicine is
permitted. Women outnumber men, and polygamy is common (to encourage fertility
in a world where many deformed babies are born). Apocalyptic religion, magic,
and witchcraft flourish, however. Evil magicians prove to be the worst enemies
the protagonists face in their quest to restore Tan Ming's soul to her comatose
body. Doing battle with a witch, the window dresser extemporizes the following
spell: "One-zol, zig-zol-zam, / Bobtail, vinegar, tiddle-um-tam; / Nuclear
fission, mushroom smoke, / Atomic blast I now invoke. . . . . Isotopes and
bombs terrific, / Bloody Mary, South Pacific! / Uranium, Plutonium and
Chlorophyll galore. / Pop-up toasters! Boogie Woogie! / Much worse things in
store. / Alpha, Beta, Gamma ray-- / You must now do as I say!" He is
successful, but her final curse thrusts him back into his own time in northern
Ontario. He tries in vain to warn people of the approaching nuclear war and
returns in the end to the future of his beloved Tan Ming. The message of the
novel is somewhat confused by the fact that this future world is actually quite
attractive, including a delightful trip on a steamboat right out of Mark Twain.
This story of a meek little man thrust into a world of eroticism and magic is
reminiscent of the novels of Thorne Smith. The dust jacket states that
"Lan Stormont" was the pseudonym of the vice-president and general
manager of an important industrial firm in Westmount, Québec.
and James Kunetka. Warday: And the Journey Onward. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, l984. New
York: Warner, 1985. Available on tape, read by Richard Lavin and Larry
Brandenburg, on three cassettes. Brilliance Corporation, P. O. Box 114A Grand
Haven, Mich. 49417.
unremarkable style, its rudimentary plot, its political improbabilities and its
shallow characters, this is by far the most thoroughly researched of all the
attempts to depict nuclear war realistically. It reads almost like a collection
of notes on various studies and reports. The book consists mainly of a tour of
America, four years after the war, narrated in a documentary format, complete
with transcripts of fictional interviews, results of public opinion surveys,
and purloined secret government reports. Warday is October 28, l988, and the
conflict lasts thirty-six minutes. Because of the immediate collapse of command
and control networks, the war is limited after only a few targets are hit, but
the results are nevertheless catastrophic. By depicting a very limited nuclear
war in great detail, Strieber and Kunetka make the point that even the most
strictly limited nuclear war imaginable would be self-defeating. It turns out
that our allies have made secret agreements among them not to join in an
East-West nuclear exchange. With the two great powers laid waste, they are free
to dominate the world. The U.S. fragments into semi-autonomous areas, some
dominated by the British, others by the Japanese. America is turned into a
collection of underdeveloped Third World nations. Warday' s account of the blast effects of the bombs is far
more detailed than most. Civil defence plans are depicted as absurd and
useless. The authors place great stress on the effects of electromagnetic pulse
damage in ending industrial civilization and preventing communication in the
stricken U.S., where bizarre rumors are the most common form of information.
Seven million die immediately, sixty million of later causes, including plagues
and famine. The ravages of radiation disease are depicted in great detail.
Science fiction's mutation myths are debunked, though a few super-bright babies
are born. There are great increases in cancer, sterility, miscarriages, birth
defects, and infant and childhood deaths. Victims are triaged, with the
incurable ones being denied all treatment except that of "witches"
practicing traditional herbal medicine. The thinning of the ozone layer is
mentioned, but its effects are not depicted in any detail. Warday is heavily influenced by the Vietnam era. The
narrators are able to escape a variety of hazards by using their old army
skills; the nihilist "destructuralists" they encounter near Los
Alamos are familiar radical sixties types, and the Chicano dream of an
autonomous nation in the Southwest named "Aztlan" comes from the same
period. California alone is relatively untouched by the war, and fiercely
maintains a strict immigration policy which is a parody of the state's
depression-era attitude toward dust bowl refugees. Alaska has been sold to
Canada. The British navy patrols the seas, tracking and destroying
still-menacing nuclear submarines whose commanders are unaware that the
countries they are protecting no longer exist. New York has been abandoned to
packs of wild dogs because chemical wastes have made it uninhabitable, but the
salvaging of its materials is a major industry. Among the more moving passages
is a group of children's essays on the fear of contaminated spring rains. Near
the novel's end a trainload of children being sent south to escape an impending
famine is turned back. The novel contains numerous private jokes and
references: for instance, to public radio (Moon Over Morocco, the ZBS fantasy serial broadcast by National Public
Radio, and "Lake Wobegon," fictional home of Garrison Keillor's A
Prairie Home Companion). Science fiction
author Chelsea Quinn Yarbro turns up as "Quinn Yarbro," and other
people appear under their own names. Strieber and Kunetka's extensive research
underlines strikingly how slipshod most of their predecessors have been.
Strieber, Whitley. Wolf of Shadows. New York: Knopf, 1985.
A moving young adult novel in which a naturalist who studies wolves in the
wild survives a nuclear winter with her daughter and with the help of the
friendly leader of the wolf pack. Wolves and humans aid each other as they
battle starvation, wild dogs, and attacking men. Finally they reach a southern
region where the land seems to be thawing; but an afterword by the author states
that the true end of the story comes when we decide, as a species to dismantle
the machine and use our great intelligence on behalf of the earth that bears
us, instead of against her. Strieber is the author of Wolfen and the
co-author, with James Kunetka, of Warday.
Stroup, Dorothy. In the Autumn Wind. New York: Scribner's, 1987.
The saga of a Japanese woman's attempt to protect her family and find
happiness and prosperity in Hiroshima over a span of four decades, from 1945 to
the present. The bomb affects the family fortunes in many ways: one son
disappears immediately, a daughter dies of leukemia, another daughter whose
wedding to a hibakusha is opposed because of the danger of defective
offspring, marries as he is dying of stomach cancer, another son is badly
injured in a student demonstration opposing the rearming of Japan, and the
protagonist's brother dies of cancer. At the end of the novel the missing son's ashes are unearthed. The protagonist spends her last day observing the August
6 anniversary of the bombing at the Peace Park. Despite the terrible toll the
bomb takes on this family, the novel is basically affirmative in mood:
depicting warmly the energy and love with which the woman tries to rebuild her
life and that of her family. This novel is highly unusual in that an American
author has tried to depict Japanese culture from the inside, as a Japanese might
and Boris. Prisoners of Power. New York
& London: Macmillan 1968.
The adventures of a
young human with superpowers who crash-lands on an alien world damaged by a
devastating nuclear war. Most of the plot concerns the use of radiation
transmission devices which are disguised as antiballistic missile sites but
which are in actuality used to control the minds of the population by the
mutant rulers. The young man becomes involved in a rebellion, but discovers that
he is frustrated by a larger Galactic Security Council plan to save the planet.
To my knowledge, this is the only Soviet novel in English to depict the
aftermath of a nuclear war, even in an incidental way.
Stuart, Don A. See
under Campbell, John W., Jr.
[pseud. of Edward Hamilton Waldo]. "August Sixth l945." Astounding, December l945.
The first published
fictional response to the bombing of Hiroshima. A brief sketch printed in the
letters column defending science fiction's prognosticative powers in light of
the bomb. [
"Memorial" (Astounding, April
l946). In Without Sorcery.
Philadelphia: Prime, l948. Rpt. as Not Without Sorcery. New York: Ballantine, l96l. Also in Patricia S.
Warrick, Martin H. Greenberg, and Harvey A. Katz, eds. Science
Fiction: Contemporary Mythology--The SFWA-SFRA Anthology. New York: Harper & Row, l978. Also in Frederik
Pohl, Martin H. Greenberg and Joseph D. Olander, eds. Science Fiction
of the 40's. New York: Avon, 1978. Also in
Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg, eds. The Great Science Fiction
Stories: 8 (1946). New York: DAW, 1982.
A scientist sets
off an advanced nuclear device as a warning against war; but instead he
triggers a nuclear war.
and Roses" (Astounding, November
l947). In Groff Conklin, ed. A Way Home, New York: Pyramid, l956. New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1955. New York:
Pyramid, 1956. London: Mayflower, 1955. Also in Thunder and Roses. London: Michael Joseph, l957. Also in Anthony R.
Lewis, ed. The Best of Astounding. New
York: Baronet, 1978. Also in James Gunn, ed. The Road to Science
Fiction #3: From Heinlein to Here. New
York: Signet, l979. Also in Stanley Schmidt, ed. War and Peace:
Possible Futures from Analog. New York:
Dial, l983. Also in H. Bruce Franklin, ed. Countdown to Midnight:
Twelve Great Stories About Nuclear War. New
York: DAW, 1984.
U.S., devastated by a sneak nuclear attack, refuses to retaliate out of fear of
ecocide. See Albert I. Berger, "Love, Death, and the Atomic Bomb:
Sexuality and Community in Science Fiction, l935-55," Science-Fiction
Studies 8 (l981): 289-90.] [
and Conquer" (Astounding, October
l948). In Groff Conklin, ed. A
Way Home. New York: Funk & Wagnalls,
l955. New York: Pyramid, l956. London: Mayflower: l955. Also in Thunder
and Roses. London: Michael Joseph, l957.
A surprise nuclear
attack on the U.S. and the arrival of mysterious satellites in orbit suggest
that Earth is about to be attacked by alien invaders. It turns out both have
been invented and manipulated by a scientist aiming to unite humanity by
presenting it with a threat from outside. In a twist ending, the physicist's
military brother realizes that he is responsible for the weapons and summons a
hired assassin; but when he hears his sibling's full explanation, he switches
clothes with him and allows himself to be killed in his place. "Unite and
conquer," writes Sturgeon, is the obverse of the slogan "Divide and
Somtow. See Somtow Suchartikul.
Robert. "The Comedian." Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, June l982.
A man finds himself
compelled to steal children by a strange semitransparent man who continuously
impersonates various film, radio, and television comedians. The stranger is an
emissary from a post-World War III world seeking genetic material to revive the
human race. One of the few surviving sources of knowledge of the past is a
collection of comedy tapes. The police arrive just as the last child has been
seized; but at that moment a nuclear bomb goes off, and they are whisked into
Sully, Kathleen M. Skrine. London: Peter Davies, l960. London: Consul, l963.
wandering tramp is mistakenly hailed as a miracle-working healer in a
postholocaust village and made schoolteacher by its leaders. When he refuses to
become a party to the village dictator's schemes for imperial conquest, the
people are turned against him and he is killed. Contains a strong critique of
Christianity. Skrine, the tramp, argues that people need to learn to forgive
themselves. Only very vague references to nuclear war.
Sutton, Jeff. The
Atom Conspiracy (originally "The Man
Who Had No Brains," Amazing,
August, September l96l). New York: Avalon, l963. New York: Ace, l966.
An empire which
banned atomic research was founded in l999 after the day-long Atomic War of
l970. Now, in 2449, mutant telepaths are relentlessly hunted down, but they
organize secretly to revive nuclear science for the good of humanity. Some of
them, like Kuttner's Baldies, are evil, and want to rule the world. The agent
sent to infiltrate the conspiracy turns out to be a secret telepath himself and
___. H-Bomb Over
America. New York: Ace, l967.
As the U.S. and
USSR near agreement on nuclear disarmament, Chinese agents manage to launch a
Russian cobalt bomb into orbit, hoping to precipitate an exchange which will
destroy the two superpowers, leaving them to inherit the Earth. While the
Russians voluntarily allow the U.S. to bomb the launching site for the weapon
the Chinese have taken over, the Americans also launch an experimental
near-space vehicle which sabotages the orbiting bomb and redirects it to
Peking. The resolution of this novel is somewhat ambiguous. The Chinese replace
their defeated premier, and the U.S. and USSR begin serious disarmament
talks--but the face of the world is not transformed, as in most nuclear
political thrillers. The book suffers from a lack of tension. The plot seems
promising, but is narrated in such a way that it generates very little
suspense. An earlier Sutton novel with a related plot is Bombs in Orbit (New York: Ace, l959) in which orbiting Russian
bombs are successfully knocked out. [
Swindells, Robert. Brother
in the Land. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press,
1984. New York: Holiday, 1985.
young boy struggles to survive in the wake of a nuclear attack on Britain.
Civil defense plans collapse and the military turns renegade, setting up a
brutal dictatorship, shooting wounded survivors and poisoning the mentally disturbed.
The protagonist and his little brother join a resistance commune. Attempts to
farm the land prove useless as radiation-damaged crops sprout worthlessly.
People continue to die of radiation poisoning. A baby without a mouth is born
and dies. A Swiss Red Cross helicopter arrives and denounces the resistance
community as Communists, forces them to disarm. The starving colony attacks the
military stronghold and conquers it. But the future is grim. The protagonist,
his brother, and his heroic girlfriend are on their way to a hoped-for refuge
when the little brother dies of radiation disease. Hope is slim as the novel
closes. The most pessimistic of youth-oriented atomic war novels.
"Grand Central Terminal" (University of Chicago Magazine, June l96l). In The Voice of the Dolphins
and Other Stories. New York: Simon &
Schuster, l96l. London: Gollancz, 1961. London: Sphere, 1967. Also in Groff
Conklin, ed. Great Science Fiction by Scientists. New York: Collier, l962. Also in Robert Pierce, ed. Science
Fiction 2. New York: Houghton Mifflin,
aliens are puzzled by the disappearance of all life on Earth, seemingly caused
by uranium explosions. One of them argues that a race which could invent pay
toilets would also be capable of the unparalleled folly of intraspecies
___. "My Trial
as a War Criminal" (University of Chicago Law Review, Fall l949). In The Voice of the Dolphins
and Other Stories. New York: Simon &
Schuster, l96l. London: Gollancz, l96l. London: Sphere, l967. Also in Judith
Merril, ed. 7th Annual Edition: The Year's Best S-F. New York: Simon & Schuster, l962. New York:
Dell, l963. As The Best of Science Fiction 2. London: Mayflower, l964.
After the Russians
conquer the U.S. with bacteriological warfare, all of the scientists who worked
on the nuclear bomb are arrested and brought to trial under the principles
enunciated at Nuremberg. Szilard's defense is ineffectual, but the trial comes
abruptly to a halt when the Russians prove not to be immune to the virus they
have unleashed against America.
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