Nuclear Holocausts: Atomic War in Fiction
Nuclear Holocausts Bibliography: T
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Tabori, Paul. The
Survivors. London: World Distributors,
A frivolous account
of the depopulation of much of the world in a complex conflict beginning with
the invasion of England by the Russians, who have temporarily rendered the
British receptive by using a peace gas on them. They use nuclear rifles. The
tiny state of Vignola is attacked by small nuclear bombs. Arabs hit England
with more of them. Nuclear "gamma dust" is used in a U.S.-Chinese
conflict and in Britain. Bacteriological warfare spreads, Russia is devastated,
the monarchy is restored, earlier ways of life are resumed.
Takemishi Hiroko. "The Rite." In Kenzaburo Oe, ed. The Crazy Iris and Other Stories of the Atomic Aftermath. Tokyo: Shiueisha Press, 1984. Trans. Eileen Kato. New York: Grove, 1985.
Fantasies of her dying friend's coming funeral blend in the imagination of the narrator with memories of the Hiroshima bombing. First published in Japanese in 1963.
Talbot, George E. Glory
to Ajela! New York: Vantage, l972.
A frame story set
ten thousand years in the future involves a power struggle in a superstitious
culture over a newly discovered manuscript detailing the truth about the
ancient nuclear war that ended the previous era. Because it challenges deeply
held religious beliefs about the past, an attempt is made to censor it. Most of
the novel is made up of the manuscript itself, which details the adventures of
six men and twenty-eight women who find themselves trapped in a New York City
shelter during an atomic holocaust which eliminates almost all other life on
Earth. The author focuses primarily on the gleeful plots of the women to
establish a happy polygamous society. In one touching scene a sixteen-year-old
weeps pitifully when she is initially rebuffed by her would-be mate. Further
exploration reveals that the war was the result of a plot involving the Chinese
and stupid young American revolutionaries. Isolated pockets of survivors are
contacted around the world, and civilization begins again. Says one character,
"Someday, Man will look to the stars again, but now we would settle for a
good cup of coffee." The author is a retired electronics technician.
Tanaka Chikao. "The Head of Mary: A Nagasaki Fantasy." Trans. David G. Goodman. In David G. Goodman, ed. After Apocalypse: Four Japanese Plays of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1986.
Various characters discuss atomic bomb disease, test fallout, and plot to steal and reassemble fragments of a statue of the Virgin Mary which was shattered by the impact of the Nagasaki bomb.
Teller, Edward. "A Concise History of the Crostic Union War." In Edward Teller with
Allen Brown. The Legacy of Hiroshima.
Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, l962.
A sketch offered as
an illustration of Teller's thesis that a limited nuclear war can be fought
successfully. When the USSR warns that U.S. firing of air-to-air missiles will
result in an all-out retaliatory attack, the president calls its bluff; and
since the Russians have nothing to gain by following through on their threat,
they refrain. Both sides use limited nuclear weapons; America wins.
Temple, William F.
"The Two Shadows" (Startling Stories, March l95l). In E. F. Bleiler, and T. E. Dikty, eds. The
Best Science-Fiction Stories l952. New
York: Fell, l952. Rept. as The Best Science Fiction Stories: Third
Series. London: Grayson, 1953. Also in John
Carnell, ed. No Place Like Earth. London:
The only survivors
of the holocaust when the spaceship carrying them crashes on Mars are an
intellectual struggling to preserve the knowledge and art of the past, a
neanderthal survivalist type, and a sexy nurse who prefers the latter. The
intellectual kills the other man for using Keats's poems to fuel his campfire,
and at the end the nurse reluctantly faces the fact that she will have to mate
with the murderer if she wants the human race to continue. Meanwhile they have
discovered a cache of Martian microfilm left behind by a vanished race. The
story has some intellectual pretentions, but is remarkably confused.
[pseud. of Philip Klass]. "Eastward Ho!" (Fantasy and Science
Fiction, October l958). In The
Wooden Star. New York: Ballantine, l968.
Also in Robert P. Mills, ed. The Best
from Fantasy and Science Fiction: Ninth Series. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, l960. New York: Ace, l964. London:
Gollancz, l962. London: Panther, l964. Also in Brian Aldiss, ed. Yet
More Penguin Science Fiction.
Harmondsworth: Penguin, l964. Also in Robert Silverberg, ed. Alpha 4. New York: Ballantine, l973. Also in Robert Hoskins,
ed. Wondermakers 2. New York:
Fawcett, l974. 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.
satire in which Indians have taken over America after the last big war and
whites petition in vain to preserve their treaty rights. Russia has similarly
been overrun by Tatars. 
"Generation of Noah" (originally as "The Quick and the
Bomb," Suspense, Spring l95l). In Of
All Possible Worlds. London: Michael
Joseph, 1956. Also in The Wooden Star. New York: Ballantine, 1968. Also in E. F. Bleiler and T. E. Dikty,
eds. The Best Science Fiction Stories: l952. New York: Fell, l952. Rpt as The Best
Science Fiction Stories: Third Series. London:
Grayson, 1953. Also in E. F. Bleiler and T.E. Dikty, eds. Frontiers
in Space. New York: Bantam, 1955.
farmer severely disciplines his son when he fails to be sufficiently prompt
during air raid drills, but when the bombs actually begin to fall and he is
barely able to save the child he makes all his children promise that they and
their descendants will never punish anyone again.
Tepper, Sheri S. The Gate to Women's Country. New York: Doubleday, 1988. New York: Bantam, 1989. London: Bantam, 1989. London: Corgi, 1990.
Women and peaceful men occupy the cities while male warriors live outside
their walls and conduct occasional battles. As in Pamela Sargent's The
Shore of Women, which in many ways it closely resembles, a young woman
falls in love with a warrior; but in this case she regrets it when she discovers
he is as brutal as his comrades. It is revealed in the end that the women are
carrying out a eugenic program to breed male combatitiveness out of the human
race and develop mental telepathy. Centuries after the convulsion, there are
still some radioactive hot spots, many animal species are extinct, humans have
serious fertility problems, there are many birth defects, and technology
remains at a fairly low level. The story is interwoven with a remarkably
powerful ritual play called Ipheiugenia in Ilium, based loosely on Sophocles'
The Trojan Women.
Terman, Douglas C. Free
Flight. New York: Scribner, 1980. New York:
Pocket Books, 1981.
hero and his courageous black companion flee the vicious conquering Russians
and their American collaborators by light plane into Canada. The nuclear war
was the result of a preemptive strike by the USSR.
Thackara, James. America's
Children. London: Chatto & Windus,
1984. New York: Overlook, 2001.
fascinating, well-researched, extraordinarily detailed fictional biography of
Robert Oppenheimer which seeks to pierce the enigma of the man's motives. A
detailed account of his role in the Manhattan Project, the Haakon Chevalier
affair, and his security problems. Much less attention is given to the actual
testing of the bomb. A brief description of the Hiroshima bombing is contained
in chapter 27.
"Akua Nuten." Originally in Si la bombe m'était conté. Montréal: Éditions du jour, l962. Trans. Howard
Roiter. In Philip Stratford, ed. Stories from Québec. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, l974. Also in H. Bruce
Franklin, ed. Countdown to Midnight: Twelve Great Stories About the Nuclear
War. New York: DAW, 1984.
An Indian welcomes
the extinction of the white race through nuclear war, envisioning his own
people taking over the forest once more, but as he travels toward the highlands
he comes down with radiation poisoning. "The wind kept on blowing from the
south, warm and mild." The volume in which this story originally
appeared--Si la bombe m''était
conté--consists entirely of stories
depicting the reactions of various peoples to the bomb. Compare Bradbury,
"The Highway." Also compare with two other excellent tales of simple
folk encountering the bomb: B. Wongar's "Maramara" (in The
Track to Bralgu. [Boston: Little, Brown,
l978]) and Dino Buzzati's "A Siberian Shepherd's Report of the Bomb"
(in Clarence R. Decker and Charles Angoff, eds., Modern Stories from
Many Lands. [New York: Many Land Books,
l963]). The first is not clearly about a nuclear war, and the second concerns a
"I Saw Them Chute Into the Urals." See under Collier's.
Thomas, Theodore L. "Day of Succession" (Astounding, August 1959). In Damon Knight, ed. A
Century of Science Fiction. New York: Simon
& Schuster, 1962. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1962. New York: Dell, 1963.
London: Gollancz, 1963.
A ruthless general
insists on attacking on sight invaders reminiscent of Wells's Martians, and
proves to be right. At the story's end, atomic bombs are about to be used to
exterminate the aliens at an enormous cost in human life.
Tilley, Patrick. Blood River: The Amtrak Wars, Book IV. London: Sphere, 1988.
___. Cloud Warrior. New York: Macmillan, l984.
In 2989, long after
the War of a Thousand Suns, Mutes living a simple tribal life on the Earth's
surface (though some of them possess extraordinary magical powers) battle the
Trackers of the technocratic Amtrak Federation who dwell in vast subterranean
cities and ignorantly blame the Mutes for the ancient holocaust. The Mutes,
with more justice, blame the ancestors of the Trackers and tell the story of
how everyone was killed except an old man named She-Kargo and an old woman
named Me-Shegun. They worship the Great Mother goddess Tamla-Motown (the novel
is filled with awful jokey names). A young pilot on his first expedition is
shot down by the Mutes, falls in love with one of them, and is destined to play
a role in fulfilling an ancient prophecy of a messianic figure called Talisman.
Tilley acknowledges feminism by creating some tough, courageous female figures,
but the real stars are male. The latest example of the tradition of the
high-tech-versus-low-tech-struggle story. Cloud Warrior is the first part of a projected trilogy to be
called The Amtrak Wars.
___ . The First Family: The Amtrak Wars, Book II. New York: Baen, 1986. London: Sphere, 1985.
The protagonist is torn between the high-tech underground world and the Mute surface culture, and becomes a double agent. He discovers that he has been lied to: the surface is not in fact still radioactive. He becomes involved with the medium-tech culture of the Japanese Iron Masters.
___ . Iron Master: The Amtrak Wars Book III. New York: Baen, 1987. London: Sphere, 1987.
Depicts in great detail the "Jap" culture, portraying it in a highly stereotyped manner as cruel and ruthless. The protagonist helps the ruling Iron Masters to build rocket planes, then destroys planes and rulers together. Electricity, called the Dark Light is taboo in their culture. Chapter 2 contains a myth explaining the nuclear holocaust, which occurred in 2015, at the end of Old Time.
___ . Illustrated Guide to the Amtrak Wars. London: Sphere, 1988.
Tilton, Lois. Vampire Winter. New York Pinnacle, 1990.
Vampire thriller set during nuclear winter.
Tiptree, James, Jr.
[pseud. of Alice Sheldon]. "The Man Who Walked Home." (Amazing, May l972). In Ten Thousand Light-Years
from Home. New York: Ace, l973. Also in
Lester del Rey, ed. Best Science Fiction Stories of the Year (l972). New York: Dutton, l973.
powerful tale which begins with an offhand account of an accident caused by a
time-travel experiment which led to an all-out nuclear war. The result is a
barbaric neoprimitive culture which eventually makes a ritual out of watching
the man caught in the intial accident reappear for one-half second each year,
living his death stretched out over many centuries. The culture emerges and
rebuilds, but ends in the mind of the tormented victim as he falls through
Snows Are Melted, the Snows Are Gone" (Venture Science Fiction, November l969). In Ten Thousand Light-Years
from Home. New York: Ace, l973. Also in Harry
Harrison and Brian Aldiss, eds. Best S F: l969. New York: Putnam, l970. New York: Berkley, 1971?
story in which at first it seems that an armless young young woman is being
pursued by a would-be rapist. Actually, she is one of a group of deformed human
survivors who pursue normal people for their chromosomes. Neobarbarian setting.
Prevalence of deformities suggests a nuclear war. Title perhaps suggested by
Villon's "Où sont les neiges d'antan? "
("Where are the snows of yesteryear?").
Tire, Robert. Broken Eagle. New York: Pinnacle, 1985.
During a limited nuclear war six fliers are shot down in Siberia and must battle their way across the frozen wastes, fighting off the Russian Army. They begin by killing thirteen young boys who have been ordered to attack them. They feel badly about this. Only two of them make it to the shore of Alaska.
Todd, Larry S. "The Warbots" (Galaxy, October
1968). In Joe Haldeman, Charles G. Waugh and Martin Harry Greenberg, eds. Body
Armor: 2000. New York: Ace, 1986.
a series of increasingly formidable robot-like fighting machines, the earliest
of which detonates an atomic bomb when attacked. It is used in China in the
Tofte, Arthur. Walls Within Walls. Don Mills, Ont.: Harlequin,
struggle against an evil dictatorship of normals controlled by other mutants
within walled Resurrection City. The old order is destroyed and the hero finds
happiness with his beloved in the idyllic world beyond the walls where mutants
Train, Arthur and Robert Williams Wood. The Man Who Rocked the Earth. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday 1915. New York: Arno,
A madman calling
himself "Pax" attempts to impose an end to a cataclysmic world war by
nearly wrecking the Earth with a ray which breaks down uranium, releasing its
immense power. As a demonstration, he floods the Sahara, tilts the Earth's
axis, alters its orbit, and causes worldwide earthquakes. He travels around the
world in a "Ring" powered by uranium rockets. He plots to punish the
world for failing to make peace by tilting the planet so far over that the Northern
Hemisphere becomes too cold to inhabit. He is foiled by the scientist hero, but
not before his threat has ended the war and established a utopia. Indebted to
Wells's The World Set Free of a year earlier, to which it explicitly refers.
Tremblay, Michel. The Devil and the Mushroom. Trans. from French by Michael Bullock. In The Oxford Book of French Canadian Short Stories, 1983.
A brief simplistic fable in which the devil introduces war into a peaceful world, leading eventually to nuclear war, symbolized by a drawing of a mushroom cloud.
Tubb, E[dwin] C[harles]. Atom-Wars on Mars. London:
Unavailable for review.
___. "Fresh Guy" (Science Fantasy, June l958).
In Ten from Tomorrow. London:
Hart-Davis, l966. London: Sphere, l968. Also in Judith Merril, ed. SF:
The Year's Greatest Science-Fiction and Fantasy: Fourth Annual Volume. New York: Dell, 1959. Rpt. as SF 59: The
Year's Greatest Science-Fiction and Fantasy.
New York: Gnome, 1959. Also in Thomas E. Sanders, ed. Speculations:
An Introduction to Literature through Fantasy and Science Fiction. Beverly Hills: Glencoe, l973.
A fantasy in which
all humans are dead or hidden in fallout shelters after a nuclear war. The
earth is populated by vampires, ghouls, and werewolves waiting for the humans
Tucker, Wilson. The City in the Sea. New York: Rinehart, 1951.
New York: Galaxy, 1951.
barbarian women explore the ruins of their ancestors and meet mutants,
including winged men and vicious pygmies, as well as long-lived geniuses. They
happily settle down to mate with the latter. Radiation remains in the ruins.
___. The Long Loud Silence. New York: Rinehart, l952.
Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, l953. New York: Dell, l954. London: Bodley Head,
l953. London: Guild, l953.
When the eastern
U.S. is subjected both to nuclear bombing and pneumonic plague, the surviving
part of the country quarantines everything east of the Mississippi. The savage
story of a surviving former soldier's attempts to cross the river. Very good
details on the effect of the war, outstanding treatment of biological warfare.
Unfortunately the extremely unsympathetic protagonist makes the novel
alienating. Note by Tuck: "At Rinehart's request, Tucker removed
implications of cannibalism from the first edition, and other U.S. editions
apparently are the same; the British editions use the author's original
text . . . ." In Magill, 3: l238-4l.
___. Time Bomb. New York: Rinehart, 1955.
A time traveler
uses miniature atomic bombs to prevent the coming to power of a dictator. Interesting only because of its anti-Red scare bent.
Turner, George. Beloved Son. London: Faber, 1978. New York: Pocket Books, l978. Sequel Vaneglory.
Astronauts sent to
explore Barnard's Star return to Australia in 2032 to find the Collapse has
taken place during the Five Days, which involved massive disorders, ecological
catastrophes, bacteriological warfare, and limited nuclear bombing. Russia
collapsed, America has gone Communist, and England was entirely destroyed. The
cities have been abandoned, and a new youth-oriented dystopia established which
has killed off most of the older generation. Genetic screening weeds out
mutations. Most of the novel involves the struggles of clones of one astronaut
against the establishment. The novel contains a critique of common
postholocaust scenarios, insisting that humanity would not revert to simple
___. Vaneglory. London: Faber, 1981. London: Sphere, 1983. Sequel to Beloved Son.
Much of England and
Wales are showered with radioactive dust and there is neutron bombing in the
United States and Russia. A few immortal mutants are immune to the radiation.
In the second part of the novel, set in 2037, all "Gone Timers" from
the past are despised as wreckers and spoilers of the Earth. The mutants are
ruthlessly hunted down, gather in Glasgow, and escape just before the city is
hit by ten neutron bombs. The third volume of the Beloved Son trilogy (sometimes called "The Ethical Trilogy") is Yesterday's Men (London: Faber, 1981; London: Sphere, 1984), which contains no references to nuclear weapons.
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