Canadian content , Canadian frontier stories , Canadian historical content , Native history , Non-fiction Leave a comment. Or so it seems to invisible fifteen-year-old Hazard James. But when he falls in with bad apple Jesse Wesley, Hazard is suddenly shoved into the spotlight. Jesse and his friends introduce him to the underworld of teenage life: house parties, hangovers, the advantages of empty homes, and reputation by association. So what if some people love to hate him? It could be something more, but what self-respecting teenage boy would admit it? Not Jesse—and so not Hazard, either.
About the author: If E. Lenk is a self-confessed pretty boy severely in need of a psychological once-over. Lenk has been writing as a passion since a very young age, with a love for horror, ghost stories, and dark edgy contemporaries. He currently lives in the Pacific Northwest.
High school genres are not my favourite. However, when Collide by J. Lenk [Harmony Ink Press, April 15, ] was recommended to me with high praise, I decided to give it a read. One of the things said about this book was the amazing fact that the writer is still in his teens. Oh, there is the odd misstep — like a long, disconcerting flashback in the middle of the story — but otherwise the plot and character development, as well as the writing in general, are all at an advanced level.
Theirs is set against a backdrop of high school, juvenile intensity likes, dislikes, jealousies, wild parties and booze, etc. Nonetheless, it is all presented very convincingly — at least I think it is. Where the novel really shines, however, is in the rocky road to romance experienced by Hazard and Jesse. It is one of the best work-ups I have read. Their romance is like climbing a staircase, one step forward and two steps back, but inevitably it blossoms into a mature bonding.
It is beautifully developed and written, with all of the nuances of boy-meets-boy love intact. September 29, Posted by Gerry B. Click on the above cover to purchase. As part of the investigation into the murder of a young woman, Seattle P. Tony DeMarco poses as a patient of Dr. Jack Halloran, the therapist who treated the victim at a Seattle sex clinic.
Halloran has his own issues, including a damaged right arm sustained in the line of duty as a combat surgeon in Iraq and the PTSD that followed. But can the doctor and the P. The guise is quickly recognized, and so Toni takes the opportunity to consult the doctor regarding his uncertain sexuality.
Thereafter, one thing leads to another. It quickly becomes evident that Jack is not involved in the murder, but in the meantime a mutual attraction has developed between the two of them. However, it is complicated by the rule governing doctor-client-relationship, i. Altogether it was a refreshing, light read, which I can recommend. However, as I have said, the humour lacked the sparkle that would have put it over the top for me.
September 22, Posted by Gerry B. Three years ago, at the height of the war, Frank had been sent to kill the very man he is now defending. Much to his surprise, instead of the Nazi monster he was sent to kill, Frank found a compassionate dissenter. Johann considered the handsome young American officer the answer to his desperate prayers to save his beloved Germany from the cancerous infection of Nazi rule. I was particularly struck by one of the lines that summarized the story quite dramatically.
Through a twist of fate, however, the two men meet and fall in love. Moving along to the destruction of Naziism in , and the convening of the International Military Tribunal between November and October , and as a former Nazi officer Johann is somehow part of it. Karl Doenitz. The others were tried between and by Control Council Law No. Nonetheless, there is a nice bit of courtroom drama here, including a Jewish lawyer who escaped the prison camps before being asked to defend von Biehn.
Altogether it is a very good story with a somewhat unique setting. The writing is top grade, and the characters are interesting and credible. September 15, Posted by Gerry B. Charlie Sutton runs Sutton Station the only way he knows how; the way his father did before him.
Determined to keep his head down and his heart in check, Charlie swears the red dirt that surrounds him — isolates him — runs through his veins. American agronomy student Travis Craig arrives at Sutton Station to see how farmers make a living from one of the harshest environments on earth. I have a thing about Australia — the wide open spaces, the magnificent and rugged scenery, and the equally rugged men, evoke a certain romance that appeals to my love of all things unpretentious and masculine.
All of these things are captured quite authentically by N. Walker in her latest novel, Red Dirt Heart [N. Walker, Feb. He has learned the business and his self-reliance from his rancher father, who, although dead, still exerts considerable influence over his son. Therefore, Charlie keeps his orientation well to himself. He has come to Australia to study farming methods, and as usual fate is about to change things for both of them. Altogether, there is a lay-back feel to this novel, sort of folksy in the way you would expect an out-back story be.
Time and life move at the pace of the seasons, and slow-and-steady is the way things get done. Nonetheless, everything has to be accomplished in the four weeks that Travis will be visiting. In this respect, it does — while leaving room for a sequel which, I believe, is already on the market. You cannot not like this story. The main characters are solidly masculine, and their coming together even in the four short weeks seems both inevitable and natural. The sex is also manly; although, I generally skim over these. September 8, Posted by Gerry B.
In fact, some would even consider the idea a contradiction in terms. The first collection of short stories by working-class queer, gay, and bisexual men, Everything I Have Is Blue is a rich and long-overdue contribution both to the burgeoning field of working-class studies and to LGBTIQ fiction. In Everything I Have Is Blue are love stories and stories of lives gone wrong; narratives of hope and songs of despair; tales of revenge and chronicles of redemption.
In short, Everything I Have Is Blue showcases a literature of depth and complexity that brings much-needed color to the palate of queer cultural and literary identity. As a long ago migrant, myself, I could readily identify with the majority of protagonists, i. However, being a physical outsider is one thing, while being a social psychological outsider is quite another, and it is this latter theme that adds an interesting edge to most of the stories, e.
It is one of envy mixed with contempt, and frustration coupled with admiration. This is the image and message that makes this anthology of working-class gay stories such a worthwhile read. September 1, Posted by Gerry B. Story blurb: Fine, the coffin in the basement was a little unusual. Certainly no more so than the mansion itself, though, or, for that matter, the humpbacked manservant that came with it, or the mysterious death of its former owner.
In fact, so starts a long list of all things unusual for our unlikely hero, Jack, and his newfound and strange family, his werewolf boyfriend, the pack eager to help him, and the ancient clan that wants him dead at all costs. Know this, however, in the end, this misfit group of characters will leave you howling in the crypt aisles! His short stories have appeared in more than anthologies.
I have frequently ruminated about the general lack of humour in GBLT novels; well, Vamp by Rob Rosen certainly turned that around — in spades! Jack Jackowski is just an ordinary bloke until he receives word that he has somehow inherited a fabulous fortune from an erstwhile unknown cousin, Boris Jackowski — You just have to love these corn-ball names! Jack accepts and after he undergoes the transition he heads outside to test his powers. It is then he detects an intriguing odour, and following it up he meets Steven; the alpha-male in a pack of werewolves.
Not surprisingly, having other-worldly powers in common, they have a mating of spirts and flesh, until some spoilsport starts heaving spears at them. Everyone knows it is make-believe, but at the same time it is so much fun that nobody cares. It is spritely, it is zany, and it is even over-the-top at times, but most of all it is fun. Five bees for entertainment. August 25, Posted by Gerry B. Story blurb: Two boys bond, sharing geeky things and fast food. And falling in love. But then he met Ran….
I remember when I first met Ran. He was absolutely unprepossessing, all skinny white boy wearing his insecurities on his sleeves, which were tattered and faded on a too-big flannel shirt. I was feeling a bit lazy this week, perhaps because of the lousy weather in this part of North America, so I delved into my pile of recommended books to come up with a page novella that fit the bill quite nicely.
The One For Me, by Hollis Shiloh [Spare Words Press; 2 edition, July 11, ] is a charming, feel-good story, that is bound to please most people who just want a nice, uncomplicated story. This is handled quite nicely with homey bits macaroni and cheese, etc. As the story progresses we learn that Rand is a closely-guarded, closet gay, of necessity , and Luke is just discovering his sexual preference; however, it is all handled in an angst-free way, which I believe is so in most cases.
The sex is minimal and discreetly handled, and altogether it is a charming read when you just want to relax without complications. Maple Leaf. August 18, Posted by Gerry B. Blurb: According to current thinking, anyone who fails to succeed must have something wrong with them. The pressure to achieve and be happy is taking a heavy toll, resulting in a warped view of the self, disorientation, and despair. People are lonelier than ever before. Love is increasingly hard to find, and we struggle to lead meaningful lives. He investigates the effects of 30 years of neoliberalism, free-market forces, privatisation, and the relationship between our engineered society and individual identity.
It turns out that who we are is, as always, determined by the context in which we live. From his clinical experience as a psychotherapist, Verhaeghe shows the profound impact that social change is having on mental health, even affecting the nature of the disorders from which we suffer. But his book ends on a note of cautious optimism. Can we once again become masters of our fate? About the author: Paul Verhaeghe November 5, is a trained clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst.
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His first doctorate dealt with hysteria, his second on psychological assessment. He works as a professor at the University of Ghent. Since , his main interest lies in the impact of social change on psychological and psychiatric difficulties. To be at peace with a troubled world is not feasible unless one disavows almost everything that surrounds us. However, to be at peace with yourself within a troubled world, while not easy, can be achieved through self-reliance.
That is the basic analysis put forward by psychologist and psychoanalyst Paul Verhaeghe , in What About Me? Being social animals, our personalities are unavoidably shaped by the norms and values of the society to which we subscribe. Moreover, the dominant values of that society are almost always shaped by the leading players — i. Today, in western societies in particularly, the predominant value is market fundamentalism, a. Verhaeghe points out that neoliberalism draws on Ancient Greek — more recently Hobbsian — idea that man is inherently selfish and grasping in nature, but neoliberalists are quite content with these shortcomings.
In fact, they encourage them on the basis that unrestricted competition and self-interest foster innovation and economic growth. The reality, of course, is something different. The playing field is far from even, and more often than not innovation is discouraged, and economic growth is achieved through mergers and acquisitions takeovers , resulting in the monopolization of available resources.
All this is ignored by the major players in the market economy including law makers, governments and bureaucrats. These elites continue to ascribe success and failure to the individual; the rich are the paragons, and the poor are the social parasites. It must be said, as well, that the majority of major political parties either ascribe to these methods, or look the other way from them, and so in the cause of autonomy we have become controlled by a nit-picking, faceless bureaucracy. To put all this into a psychoanalytic context, Verhaeghe writes that these outcomes have resulted in a significant increase in certain psychiatric conditions, including eating disorders, depression and personality disorders.
Associated with the latter, the most common are performance anxiety, social phobias, depression and loneliness. Admittedly, this is not a book for everyone, but it is surprisingly easy to read. Verhaegue writes with a journalistic as apposed to academic style, and his examples and anecdotes are ones to which the reader can easily relate. He may not have all the answers, but he nonetheless prompts us to examine the questions.
August 11, Posted by Gerry B. They tell just-so stories to protect their ideology, their religion, their way of life. They look to women for a nod of approval before speaking. They give socially acceptable answers and half-truths. If what they have to say resonates with men, it is only because they manage to hint at the real answer. There are plenty of bad guys — real jerks —who are manlier than you are, and you know it.
Manliness is about demonstrating to other men that you have what it takes to survive tough times. Manliness is about our primal nature. The Way of Men explains what men want, and why they are rapidly disengaging from our child-proofed modern world. About the author: Jack Donovan is an American author known for his writing on masculinity and for his criticisms of feminism and gay culture.
Donovan is currently a contributor to AlternativeRight. As a paradigm he goes back to the roots of masculine culture, whereby men travelled in well-defined cohorts for friendship, protection, and hunting, and although these proclivities have been discouraged in favour of domestication and gender-blurring, some traces still survive.
The bottom line is that innate gender differences do exist, have existed, and in spite of unprecedented and frequently insidious emasculation and feminization, will always exist. Its a lively commentary on whatever happens to be current. August 4, Posted by Gerry B. About the author: Timothy Taylor is a Canadian novelist and short story writer. In he returned to British Columbia. Taylor currently resides in Vancouver.
He subsequently served as a judge for the award. His debut novel, Stanley Park, nominated for the Giller Prize and chosen to be the One Book, One Vancouver, was followed by Silent Cruise, a collection of eight stories and one novella. Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia. Ranked among the worlds most outstanding parks. It is also, in some ways, a metaphor for dedication and loyalty to a conviction in spite of forces to the contrary. Vancouver, British Columbia. One of the best known downtown neighbourhoods.
To Vancouver it is what High Park is to New York, so it is quite natural that the author would lavish it with detail—to put it on the map, so-to-speak.
The imaginative choice of names is clever, too—i. In my opinion, they are as important as choosing just the right descriptor for anything else. In any event, Beale is corporate-lowest-common-denominator-mentality personified, and Taylor has a great deal of fun tweaking this concept while take a well-deserved pop-shot at Starbucks. Whether these three somewhat disparate themes stitch together effectively is a matter of opinion.
They worked reasonably well for me, although I must admit some disorientation at times. Nonetheless, there have been comments expressed on both sides of the discussion. July 28, Posted by Gerry B. Blue Parker, a careful twenty-three-year-old ranch foreman, in love with the West and his home in the mountains, finds himself drawn to his new ranch hand, Sam.
For the first time in his life, Blue feels the possibility of a romantic connection, and he makes tentative plans to secret himself and Sam away in an idyllic camp high in the mountains. But the arrival in town of Gilbert, a Native American from the Wind River Indian Reservation, a man who fancies himself a modern-day berdache or Two-Spirit , pushes Blue and Sam in unexpected, dangerous directions. Gilbert attempts to recreate the ancient traditions of his people, but the world has changed.
Ultimately, Gilbert must try to find a new place for himself in society, and Blue must choose between his home and protecting the man he loves. When you read as many GBLT books as I do, you begin to notice a similarity that runs from one book to another. So, when a slightly different story pops up, even though some of the elements have been explored before, I generally go for it. Blue Parker is the surprisingly young foreman of a Wyoming ranch, and gay, and as such he is infatuated with Sam—a boyishly handsome hired hand.
Blue has plans to assign Sam to a line-camp high up in the mountains; a veritable Eden where they will be able to meet in seclusion and relative safety. Blue is embarrassed and confused, and so he stomps out, leaving Sam to the mercy of the red neck cowhands. This has its own falling-dominos-effect as the story winds down to an uncertain climax. As I mentioned, previously, this story has an interesting and somewhat unique theme to it—a coming out and coming of age in a ruggedly contemporary, Western setting, with ancient berdache overtones.
It is also written in a lyrical style, with much time given to painting a word picture of the breathtaking Wyoming landscape. However, it presents its own challenges as well. In many way it reads like a stage coach ride as it lurches along, often with the driver meandering on and off the trail. Indeed, it boldly goes where every novelist is cautioned not to tread. In other words, it changes points of view from one character to another, not only flashes backward, but also forward and to the present as well.
Still, there are twists and passages that are brilliant in both concept and delivery. July 21, Posted by Gerry B. Book description: Paul Monette grew up all-American, Catholic, overachieving. About the author: In novels, poetry, and a memoir, Paul Monette wrote about gay men striving to fashion personal identities and, later, coping with the loss of a lover to AIDS. Monette was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in He began his prolific writing career soon after graduating from Yale. For eight years, he wrote poetry exclusively. After coming out in his late twenties, he met Roger Horwitz, who was to be his lover for over twenty years.
Also during his late twenties, he grew disillusioned with poetry and shifted his interest to the novel, not to return to poetry until the s. In , Monette and Horwitz moved to Los Angeles. Once in Hollywood, Monette wrote a number of screenplays that, though never produced, provided him the means to be a writer. Monette published four novels between and These novels were enormously successful and established his career as a writer of popular fiction.
He also wrote several novelizations of films. These works are two of the most powerful accounts written about AIDS thus far. Along with fellow writer Larry Kramer, he emerged as one of the most familiar and outspoken AIDS activists of our time. Since very few out gay men have had the opportunity to address national issues in mainstream venues at any previous time in U.
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He himself died of AIDS-related complications in I was in the mood for a gay non-fiction story this week, and so I went looking. One would think that with all that is currently happening, there would be a dearth of non-fiction stories, but no. It is a re-release of an earlier version, but since it is set in the s and 60s—and biographical—it is still a relevant read. To these reminiscences I can add my own, for I too came out in the s.
Moreover, I too lucked out by having an older, well-established and highly-regarded man take me under his wing, to teach me that if you aim for the chimney pots you will reach the window sills, but if you aim for the stars you will reach the chimney pots. Yes, like Monette, I instinctively realized that I had an attraction to men before I knew what sex was about, and yes, I quickly learned it was wrong; but only because the Church and my mother said so. In fact, I was more likely to quietly sought out than bullied. Nonetheless, I do parallel him again as soon as I got out into the working world, where keeping your mouth shut about your sexuality was part of keeping your job.
Monette is brutally candid when it comes to this aspect, as well as other aspects of his life. Nothing, including an incident of pedophilia, is held back; however, not once did I get the impression he was looking for forgiveness or sensationalism. It was just as it had happened with nothing held back. One aspect that I could have been happy with a little less of was his self-analysis; particularly of his younger years.
Perhaps this is because I try to never analyze myself at any stage, and in this regard I think he should have stuck more to the facts. After all, many of the things he dwelt on carried their own explanation. Recommended, four bees. July 14, Posted by Gerry B. Also available in kindle format. Henry Awards. His experiences as editor and writer inform and direct his teaching of writing. Since , he has taught fiction writing, the short story, and dramatic literature at Stanford. His recent publications include a collection of stories, Comedians, and the novels, The Handmaid of Desire , Having Everything , and The Miracle When I think of 15 th century Italy and the Medicis, I think of people dressed in cloaks, skulking about on nefarious errands, as well as Roman-nosed clergy and medieval nobility indulging themselves on sumptuous living, intrigue and lust.
Most everyone will recognize that Donatello c. There is the same Narcissistic and self-centred beauty that could very well attract the unwary to their doom, and in this case, Agnolo himself.. Other notable characters add a measure of intrigue, as well. In this story Mattei is heterosexual, but in an age where the lines were sometimes blurred, on can image an affectionate love at least between the two. Indeed, it has all the ingredients of a Florentine caper, i. Four and one-half stars. If you would like to learn more about my books, or to order copies, click on the specific cover below.
July 7, Posted by Gerry B. Also available in Kindle edition. But all that changes during a fishing trip to Canada. But the trip turns out to be a wonderful journey, especially with three old farts who liven up each second on the road with their dirty jokes. Besides, Caleb quickly stops regretting the trip when he meets their young pilot, Aidan. Aside from flying them to the lodge, Aidan is also the dock-boy preparing their boats for fishing. Caleb and Aiden see each other frequently and they check each other out, neither of them ashamed to do so. Things come to a head when they surrender to one kiss, which soon leads to more.
His cock was pressing into mine and they both felt wet. I leaned down and sucked on his left nipple and he moaned. I worked my way down his belly, licking his flat belly and then I took his cock into my mouth and began sucking him. He held my head and I took his cock deeply into my mouth and throat. I had gotten over the gag reflex and could take nearly the whole damn thing now. I stood up and he sucked my nipple and then he bit it. I gasped when he did it but it was so sexual all it did was make me hornier. He took my cock in his mouth and did a hell of a job getting most of it into his throat.
He licked my balls and then went back on my cock. About the author: Dick Parker is an outdoorsman and has lived in the mid-west all of his life. His favorite activities are fishing, hunting and sex with other guys. He found out at a young age that he was gay and has had many outdoor adventures with friends that turned into more than just a fishing trip.
He began writing outdoor stories for sporting magazines and then delved into erotic stories. A lot of the situations in the stories are from personal experiences. He writes full time and is always willing to do research for a new story idea. I shall have to write Jeffy Bezos and tell him all about the War of You can find more than that by searching this blog. We are our own censors when it comes to language, so far be it from me to tell you what you should or should not read.
Simple as that. The story is really a novella. The writing style is passable, although I would have liked to have seen more detail regarding Canada—i. Indeed, I have seldom found an erotic novel that balanced style and substance with tips to the sack. I thought the author did quite a nice job of balancing age types—i. Beyond this, it was erotica as usual, with some quite noticeable grammar problems—i. June 30, Posted by Gerry B. Click on cover to purchase from Barnes abd Noble. Also available in Kindle. Alek Khederian should have guessed something was wrong when his parents took him to a restaurant.
Everyone knows that Armenians never eat out. Alek is sure this experience will be the perfect hellish end to his hellish freshman year of high school. Ethan is everything Alek wishes he were: confident, free-spirited, and irreverent. And before long, it seems like Ethan wants to be more than friends. He was born in Haifa, Israel and grew up in the suburbs of Central New Jersey, which were much scarier.
Mellon Fellow in Directing. He has been living in New York City since. For those who might not know much about Armenia including me , it is a former Soviet Russian satellite, located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, and is bordered by Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and Azerbaijan to the east, and Iran and Nakhchivan to the south. Central to this story, United States has a large Armenian diaspora of approximately 9 million people. The Armenian theme plays quite a prominent role in this story, and effectively so.
It adds an element of uniqueness I have not encountered before. I think a good story, whether fiction of not, should have an educational component to it. Moreover, the author worked this in seamlessly, which is the other part of it. Alek is a 14 year old boy of Armenian descent, and like most Eastern Europeans, his parents have high expectations for their oldest son. Moreover, unlike North American parents, they know that hard work and effort is the only way to achieve it. There is, as they have said for centuries, no royal road to learning. Therefore, Alek is sent off to summer school to improve his marks.
Nonetheless, the two hit it off famously, and eventually take the second step. I suspect she is there for a number of reasons. As a literary device she provides a change of voice that both Alek and Ethan can play off it would be slightly tedious if only the viewpoint of the two boys was presented. Nature has other ideas. My reservations are somewhat subjective, and the subject of a debate among writers of GBLT fiction.
How much acceptance should there be in the coming out process, and how much angst. All I can suggest is that is a delicate balance, for too much of one or the other can shade the novel from gleam to gloom. Not disagreeably, I hasten to add, but slightly incredibly. In an age when Texan independence, neglect, and technology have ushered in a new age of lawlessness, J.
Longhorns trample a rancher in what appears to be a brutal accident. With a megastorm brewing and a mysterious stranger tracking their every move, they need to work fast before time runs out and the storm wipes everything clean. Can J. Will there be Justice in an Age of Metal and Men? Recently, the State of Texas has been in the news for, among other things, its open-carrying gun policy—a bunch of contemporary, pseudo-patriots walking about with AKs strapped to their backs.
Nonetheless, Texas has always marched to its own drummer, and Anthony W. In this futuristic tale, sheriff Jasper Davis Crow is a man of his times as well as an anachronism in his cowboy garb and anti-social addiction to chewing tobacco. Within these parameters, the author has created a character that is at once traditional and slightly quirky at the same time.
He is principled, old-fashioned, at home in the future, and coincidentally gay. My preference is for plot-driven or character-driven stories that offer more depth and variety, and this story proves my point. It is difficult to decide on one strong point in this novel, but I think I would have to say character development.
In this regard, I was grateful the author resisted making Crow too perfect. Indeed, his flaws only contribute to his credibility. My only reservation is probably my own from not reading fantasy novels enough to develop a taste for them; however, I can genuinely say I enjoyed this one for all the other dimensions.
June 16, Posted by Gerry B. Story blurb: When the notorious ranger Kjartan Torncloak turns up wounded on the doorstep, Skinker betrays his hated master and helps him escape. Before the ex-slave knows it, he and the ranger are on the run together. Skinker soon finds himself desperately attracted to the older man. But how can a shy, useless ex-slave impress a cold, stern hero who only respects strength?
A grim, haunted wanderer. An ex-slave struggling to believe in himself. To win their desperate battle against darkness, these two men — one proud, one humble — must learn to fall in love as equals. About the Author: Nate Tanner was born in Iowa in His Zodiac sign is Gemini.
He realized he was gay on the day he turned After living a freewheeling lifestyle in his 20s, Nate decided to share his experiences with the world by becoming an erotic fiction author. He writes in spare moments at his day job, while by night he can be found prowling the Midwest for cute boys. I was in the mood for a gay adventure story this week not an easy genre to find when I came across Rangers , by Nate Tanner [Nate Turner, ].
I am also happy to say that I was not disappointed. Once the character of Skinker was established—that of a defeated slave in the hands of a villainous master—his unexpected meeting with the roguish Norse ranger seems almost heaven sent. It is likewise where the novel is concerned, too, for it is this their meeting that begins an adventure reminiscent of Lord of the Rings meets Harry Potter.
The romance between Skinker and Torncloak is charming enough, though, for it is this that helps Skinker emerge from his shell to become a mature and independent individual. On the minus side, there is some ambiguity regarding whether it is intended to be a young adult or adult novel. Certainly, there are elements that would make it a superb young adult tale, apart from the sexual content; however, if is the latter that places it well within the adult classification. June 9, Posted by Gerry B. Click to purchase at Barnes and Noble. The marriage of the young Irish Catholic woman to an older English man is thought scandalous, but they work happily together, playing music to accompany the films.
When George succumbs to illness and dies, leaving Janie with one young child and another on the way, the unscrupulous Joey Elias tries to take over the business. But Janie guards the theatre with a shotgun, and still in mourning, re-opens it herself. One night, deceived by the bank manager and Elias into believing she will lose her mortgage, Janie resolves to go and ask for money from the Catholic houses. Elias has sent out men to stop her, so she leaps out the back window and with a broken rib she swims in the dark across the icy Miramichi River, doubting her own sanity.
A very rare example of a nuclear war story by a third-world woman author from Pakistan. Ashworth, Malcolm. A young boy in a primitive tribe has a vision in which he seems his world as it might have been: a hell of nuclear war and its aftermath. Asimov, Isaac. The nuclear death of Earth dealt with in Pebble in the Sky is briefly alluded to in this novel. In Nine Tomorrows. Also in Noel Keyes. Earthmen and Strangers. New York: Meredith, Aliens keep watch over Earth from the back side of the Moon, waiting for a nuclear holocaust to erupt as it has on many other planets. Then they can conquer this world as they have others in the wake of similar conflicts.
Pebble in the Sky. Also in Triangle. Garden City: New York, Doubleday, In a afterword, Asimov acknowledged that he no longer believed humans could survive on a radioactive Earth such as that depicted in this novel. Asterley, H[ugh] C[ecil]. Escape to Berkshire. In this artless but effective picture of London in ruins, Asterley uses far more Hiroshima-style details than most writers: peeling strips of flesh, terrible sores, nakedness, etc.
Yet he also introduces fantastic elements: the enemy is a dark-skinned race of unknown nationality, and the major threat to life in the countryside is a poisonous mycospore which grows over everyone and everything not treated with an antidote. The perimeter of the enormous crater which once was London has been dusted with radioactive elements beyond neronium, rhadamanthium, satanium. After Tom saves Jill, he is almost forced to kill an old woman who insanely blames him for the death of her three children, but she providentially falls to her death.
Tom tries to free a group of people trapped underground, but succeeds only in blasting a hole through the crater wall, releasing a torrent which will eventually flood the London crater. A blind man asks whether he is dead, and Tom wants to put him out of his misery, but Jill rejects the idea. They are caught between the vicious invaders who seem bent on exterminating the inhabitants, and the ruthless army patrols who shoot everyone suspected of looting. The heads of government are safely and ineffectually stowed on a submarine offshore. When Jill is seized by the enemy, Tom kills most of them, rescues her and forces their hovercraft to take them on their way.
From the dying pilot they acquire the mycotoxin antidote which will save their lives. They find a pair of children and take them with them. Austin, Richard pseud. The Guardians. New York: Jove, At the climax of international tensions partly caused by increasing U. Civil defense plans on both sides fail, although shielding is used against EMP. Unusually for this sort of action story, there is a great deal of attention paid to depicting the gruesome wounds of the bomb victims. The elite Guardians are a group of highly-trained military men whose mission is to escort the President to a midwestern supershelter known as Heartland.
Their leader, McKay, is rescued from a menacing gang of street toughs near the beginning of the novel when a last H-bomb explodes over Washington D. Corrupt CIA men make a treasonous attempt to kidnap the president to make him a puppet of the mysterious European dictator Maximov; but the Guardians defeat them and drive the President in their heavily armored vehicle across the radioactive countryside.
The National Guard creates a dictatorship which must be crushed in a bloody battle. The Guardians [ 2], Trial by Fire. New York: Two weeks after the holocaust, conflicts are spreading around the globe. In the chaos of fallen America survivalists are especially targeted by the population as enemies. The Russians have landed in Alaska.
They discover that the Federal Center outside Denver has been taken over by cultists who seize two of the Guardians. The latter are tortured by a demonic figure clearly modelled on William F. They are destined to die by radiation exposure in a bomb crater on Cheyenne Mountain when they are rescued at the last moment by their comrades.
They then discover the last living expert on the Blueprint a female economist living in a libertarian freehold which is invaded by cultists using nerve gas. The cult leader is killed and the townspeople avenged.
Chapter 1 begins with a character playing the nuclear war video game, Missile Command. The Guardians [ 3], Thunder of Hell. The Guardians battle their way past cannibals to California, where the former lieutenant governor has set up a dictatorship headquartered at the old Hearst castle of San Simeon. The plot is complex, with many rival political groups struggling for power.
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The dictator has begun a collaboration with a group of Russian renegades under the mistaken impression that they represent the Soviet government. A right wing general sets himself up as a rival dictator. California is full of cultish groups, including a vicious offshoot of the United Farmworkers called the California Liberation Front. Leftists who have acquired an H-bomb kill each other off in a factional dispute; but a surviving leader takes the bomb to Disneyland and tries to set it off—unsuccessfully, because it has been sabotaged by one of the Russians.
Road gypsies inspired by the Mad Max films are depicted. The nuclear winter theory is criticized. The Guardians [ 4], Night of the Phoenix. The President turns up, asserting his authority, and accusing the Guardians and the Vice-President of treason. However, the Guardians discover that it is the President himself who is the traitor, for he has become a tool of the evil Federated States of Europe FSE. They invade Heartland, seize the information it holds on the Blueprint, and destroy the complex.
In the process they are joined by a new ally: a muscular black woman. The Guardians [ 5], Armageddon Run. The Guardians battle their way back to Washington D. The author critiques the post holocaust scenarios of other writers. Rambo and and Dirty Harry are referred to. The Guardians [ 6], War Zone. The Guardians [ 7], Brute Force. Refrence is made to the fact that the Chernobyl accident caused the closure of American nuclear reactors.
Reference is also made to Rambo. The Guardians [ 8], Desolation Road. FSE forces in California rebel. The Guardians slaughter pirates. The FSE withdraws from the U. Avallone, Michael. Beneath the Planet of the Apes. A second party of explorers comes seeking the first. The only surviving crew member is captured, released by friendly apes, and discovers living beneath the ruins of New York City superhumans who worship a doomsday device, which they set off as attacking apes invade their threshold.
Axler, James pseud. Deathlands: Dectra Chain. City: Worldwide Library, Toronto: Gold Eagle, Deathlands [ 2], Red Holocaust. Nuclear winter still grips Alaska nearly a century after Doomsday: June 20, The west coast fell into the ocean. A brutal band of barbaric Russians called Narodniki invade Alaska, pursued by regular Russian troops, and battle a band of heroic Ameri cans led by Ryan Cawdor. They must also deal with bizarre mutants living in a deep supershelter.
They encounter a tribe which worships nuclear war a nd practices human sacrifice and destroy it using a leftover nuclear missile. After the Narodniki are destroyed, the Russians return to Russia. The protagonists enter a mysterious chamber to be transported to somewhere warmer. The fate of Judge Crater, who disappeared mysteriously in , explained: he was snatched into the distant future, but arrived there mutilated and dead.
Deathlands [ 3]: Neutron Solstice. Cawdor and seven companions emerge from a gateway into Louisiana where they must fight tough mutants with dual circulatory systems. Neutron bombs were used in the war: many buildings have been preserved. Axler, James. Deathlands [ 7]: Dectra Chain.
Deathlands and Outlanders Web site. Baker, F. A thriller reflecting the Iranian hostage crisis. When Palestinian terrorists hijack a plane containing the families of the crew of a nuclear submarine and land it at a Russian base in Ethiopia, the sub crew decides on its own to use nuclear blackmail to force the Russians to allow the marines to rescue their families. First the Russians try to eliminate the sub, but they are defeated by its superior defenses.
In the process, a nuclear bomb on board a Russian helicopter is accidentally detonated, but fails to damage the sub. The crew and captain are given presidential pardons for their mutinous independent action. Balabukha, Andrei. Moscow: Molodaia Gvardiia, In Vladimir Gakov, ed. Explorers have found many dead worlds, many destroyed through suicidal warfare. One such was wrecked by thermonuclear bombs. Using a device which allows travel into the past, they send an agent to assassinate the scientist who would otherwise have gone on to invent the bomb.
The planet, which turns out to be an alternative version of our Earth, is allowed peacefully to develop and spread its civilization into space. However, the explorers lament the killing which they have had to commit, even though it was done for the best of motives. Balint, Emery. New York: Gaer, A satire on international tensions by a self-proclaimed leftist in which the Earth is accidentally split in two by a bomb test, and the Eastern and Western hemispheres become separate planets.
Animosity between North and South America leads to a war which in turn splits that planetoid into two smaller fragments, then the Northern Hemisphere is split again. Presented as a parable of the danger of the atomic bomb. Balizet, Carol. The Seven Last Years. Lincoln, Va. Armageddon consists of a three-sided war: Israel versus an Arab-African coalition versus the Russians. Iaunches its nuclear weapons against the USSR, China retaliates, and the result is a massive holocaust, producing clouds which blanket the sun.
Devastating earthquakes are triggered as well. One old couple is depicted dying of radiation disease. The nuclear phase of the Apocalypse is only briefly dealt with in this fairly effective, earnestly Christian novel. Ball, Florence E. Zero Plus Ten. New York: Exposition Press, See Newman and Unsworth. Ball, Brian N. The Regiments of Night. One thousand years after the Mad Wars of the Third Millenium, the Earth is still a radioactive wasteland occasionally visited by tourists.
A group of them, accompanied by a scientist excavating the ruins, stumbles upon and accidentally reactivates an ancient automated battle fortress and a robot army. Ballard, J. The Atrocity Exhibition. New York: Grove Press, A surrealist experimental narrative reminiscent of William S. Burroughs, filled with sadomasochistic fantasies linking violence, mutilation, death, and sexuality, including images of nuclear war. Empire of the Sun. Accustomed to camp life, he greets the flash which he sees from the Nagasaki bomb as the opening shot of World War III.
In The Terminal Beach. Harmondsworth: Penguin, Also in Chronopolis and Other Stories. New York: Putnam, New York: Delacorte, Also in James Gunn, ed. New York: Mentor, A man haunted by memories of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki visits Eniwetok, an atoll in the Marshall Islands which was the site of U. Banks, Pendleton. Barbet, Pierre pseud. Bernard Kay. New York: Daw, In an alternate universe a devil-shaped alien named Baphomet who has crash-landed on Earth gives a 13th-century crusader a cache of atomic grenade with which not only to conquer Jerusalem, but the entire territory conquered by the Mongols, planning to step in and rule over the resultant empire.
With the aid of the mystical powers of powerful Tibetan lamas, the crusaders are enabled to destroy Baphomet and claim the fruits of their victory. In the process, they have learned how to duplicate the grenades; but Barbet makes nothing of the fact that this could have ominious consequences for their future. Ashes, Ashes. Originally Ravage. Paris: Edition Denoel, Damon Knight. Garden City: N. Whites deported blacks to the Southern Hemisphere in ; the blacks take revenge in by launching atomic missiles at Europe. Most of the plot concerns the consequences of the disappearance of electrical power rather than nuclear war as such.
The Ice People. Originally La nuit des temps. Charles Lam Markmann. London: Hart-Davis, New York: Morrow, In this old-fashioned fantasy, two survivors of a ,year-old atomic war—caused by overpopulation—are discovered frozen in Antarctica. The world of the frame story is divided into the evil Ensorians with Asian features and the good, blond Gondawans. The survivors tell of a series of world wars, the last of which destroyed their civilization, despite massive student protests clearly reflecting Paris in They offer the world future technology to create paradise, but governments sabotage the deal and the couple dies in a Romeo-and-Juliet style tragedy of errors.
Contains a warning that the building of the ultimate deterrent may prompt a preemptive strike. Very fantastic, unrealistic. Barnes, John. New York: Congdon and Weed, Following the catastrophic troubles of the nineteen-nineties and twenty-thirties, a limited nuclear war in the Middle East led to the destruction of two-thirds of the ozone layer, and the burning of the oil fields increased atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide enough to alter the weather.
Space colonies orbiting near the Earth rule the rest of humanity. The plot concerns a joint rebellion of the outer space colonies and subject surface-dwellers against the dominant space colonies. At one point the latter use a tactical nuclear weapon to destroy their own soldiers who have been captured in an attempt to make it appear that the rebels have used the bomb. This will discredit them, since the use of nuclear weapons is powerfully tabooed. A fairly routine combat story, but with an interesting pro-collectivist bias. Barnwell, William. The Blessing Papers.
Sequels: Imram and The Sigma Curve. Long after the Fires and the Falling of , the hero seeks in a neobarbarian world to recover the box of papers which contain the secrets of earlier wisdom. Nuclear weapons are never mentioned; the only clue to their use is the presence of mutated rats. Sequel to The Blessing Papers. A young man named Turly Vail becomes the champion of the savage Ennis. He meets the Gort, who dwell in an automated city, and meets year-old Thomas Blessing. He also begets a son whose genes have been altered by the Gort. The Sigma Curve. Sequel to Imram. It is revealed that the Falling of was deliberately caused by a conspiracy to save humanity from an otherwise inevitable apocalyptic ending.
In none of these volumes is the Falling unambiguously stated to be a nuclear war, but it seems likely. Barr, Densil N[eve] [pseud. The Man with Only One Head. London: Digit, A cobalt bomb detonated under mysterious circumstances by the U. Lacking the deterrent of unwanted pregnancy, the World Federation of Nations makes adultery a capital crime and stupidly condemns the one man who can perpetuate the race. He escapes to live secretly in Brazil, and fertility is restored to all men by the discovery of a new medical treatment.
Adam The author also mocks the notion, common to several other novels, that the world will be improved by a nuclear catastrophe. Barr, Tyrone C. The Last Fourteen. London: Chariot, The captain forstalls problems by rigidly separating men and women for three years until Earth has recovered sufficiently to land. He then rather surprisingly promulgates a set of utopian regulations requiring nudity, free sex, communal child-rearing, a deistic civil religion, and an ideal communist economy. Traditional religions are banned, as are competitive sports and gambling.
Breaches of the law are to be punished with death. It is hoped that the ruthless execution of all violent individuals will result in the breeding of a new, peaceful race of humanity. The only dissenter to these proposals is a priest who later turns out to be the murderer of two of their number. He is trying to keep secret the fact that he once raped a child. Most of the narrative focuses on the sexual tensions and jealousies of the survivors, who quickly revert to monogamy the captain first of all, oddly enough.
Earth has been transformed: giant grasses which taste like melons thrive; there are mammoth shrimp, amphibious salmon, and gigantic toads. The planet now resembles the land of Oz in that almost everything they encounter is good to eat. The most dangerous animal they find is a huge, unfeathered duck. This summary may give the impression that the work is a simple anti-utopian satire, but the impression one gets from reading it is more ambiguous.
One of the more implausible and poorly written of these books. Barrett, G[eoffrey] J[ohn]. City of the First Time. London: Robert Hale, Three thousand survivors of a March Armageddon are threatened in their deep underground shelter by the progressive failure of seals in layers above them. They explore a connecting network of caves, stumbling upon a subterranean city of telepathic survivors of an ancient atomic war predating humanity.
Both races were planted on Earth by spacefaring aliens. Fighting breaks out and all seems lost, but the hope is asserted that in the distant future—even though yet another race will probably fight yet another apocalyptic atomic war—the path to peaceful coexistence will be discovered. Barrett, Neal. Sequel to Through Darkest America. More brutal adventures in postholocaust America, principal emphasis is on systematic cannibalism in the wake of the death of most animals. Through Darkest America. Chicago: Worldwide Library, London: New American Library Barron, D[onald1 G[abriel].
The Zilov Bombs. London: A. Deut,sch, New York: Norton, In England under Russian occupation, the resistance hatches a plot to assassinate the Communist leaders with a smuggled atom bomb. Barthelme, Donald. In Unspeakable Practices, Unnatural Acts. Bound with City Life. SF Also in James Sallis, ed. The War Book. Also in Dick Allen, ed. Science Fiction: The Future. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Two men trapped for days in a missile fire control center go slowly mad.
The latter is about to agree as the story ends. Barton, James. Wasteworld 1: Aftermath. Conflicts in Central America and the Mideast lead to a nuclear war and the collapse of civilization. A veteran of the Marine Air Corps struggles his way though the skeleton-littered ruins in search of his ex-wife and children, killing feral cats and dogs and savage humans. In New Orleans he battles the black supremacist leader of a cannibalistic cult which blames whites for the war.
Wasteworld 2: Resurrection. Having defeated a black racist cult, the hero now battles a white racist dictatorship led by his former father-in-law. He organizes a Nightmen army to destroy the dictatorship. Wasteworld 3: Angels. At the end of the novel he is joined by an Apache woman who promises to become an interesting companion. Basile, Gloria Vitanza pseud. Eye of the Eagle: Global This absurd thriller details an enormous conspiracy which culminates in the obliteration of the Middle East through nuclear bombing.
Practically no attention is paid to the consequences of the bombing, and those consequences mentioned are absurd: the Persian Gulf is evaporated into desert and half of Africa is destroyed. The narrative is unusual in that the holocaust is presented first, in a prologue, followed by the intrigue which leads up to it. Reads like a parody of the typical macho thriller, peppered with violence, obscenities, and ersatz French and German. This is the first in a series of thrillers by Basile with the overall title Global This concluding volume of the trilogy begins during World War E Jones is mentioned in passing but never dealt with.
The last part of the novel is set shortly after the limited nuclear war of Eye of the Eagle, and deals with the crushing of a world-spanning conspiracy. Very little more is said about nuclear war. Bear, Greg. New York: Bluejay, London: Legend, A cult called the retreatists arises which reveres Ralph Nader and opposes high technology. On the eve of the Death, an international expedition is sent to explore a mysterious asteroid, which turns out to come from the future, bearing a warning of the holocaust about to occur.
Efforts to avert the impending catastrophe fail because of international distrust in particular the stubborn dogmatism of the Russians. However, the asteroid also turns out to be a gateway linking the solar system to a vast intergalactic network, and also providing access to alternate worlds.
Although the destruction of our Earth cannot be prevented, various characters are able to escape to alternate worlds at the end of the novel. A spectacular high-tech space adventure reminiscent of Rendezvous with Rama, but with more memorable characters, including its intelligent and capable female protagonist. Sequel: Eternity. New York: Warner, Sequel to Eon. The holocaust is almost skipped over; and in the end powerful aliens undo it, so that all is as if it had never occurred.
The Forge of God. Nuclear weapons used by humans against the invaders have little effect. BeauSeigneur, James. New York: Warner Books, This second volume of a Christian apocalyptic fantasy trilogy begins by repeating the account of the Indian-Pakistani one-day nuclear war depicted at the end of the first volume. At the end of the first volume of this Christian apocalyptic fantasy series, an attempt by Russia to launch an all-out strike against Israel and most of the rest of the Middle East is miraculously foiled—the missiles detonate over Russia instead.
The explosions are vividly described. Over million die. Becker, Stephen. In Judith Merril, ed. London: Mayflower A sketch in the form of three biographical entries. During the Second Great Alert of , the rest of the population refused to go below, but the Irreconcilables did so and led a life of luxury underground while the world above was devastated. Bell, Neal. Gone to Be Snakes Now. In a degraded postholocaust community, a rebellious young boy flees the tyranny of his elders and the cruelty of a mutant monster to seek out the mysterious Technologists who drop supplies from time to time.
He encounters the mad Dr. Strontium and his half-snake assistant and learns a good deal about nuclear war and the effects of fallout. He fails in his quest for the Technologists, finding only a pitiful handful of elderly refugees instead. Cancer is depicted as commonplace and dealt with at length. Belove, B[enjamin]. Los Angeles: Ackerman, The author, a specialist in rejuvenation through gland therapy, expresses his ideas on all manner of subjects. Nazis are depicted as literal demons, allied with Communists.
Heaven is scientific. Fission is a love affair between particles. The author is against abortion and for the right of doctors to advertise and practice unconventional medicine in hospitals. He spends one long chapter railing against the medical establishment. The book ends with a sketch of Earth history which diagnoses war as caused by hereditary insanity.
After the atomic bomb is used in World War II, the human race fails to abandon the idea of national sovereignty—which might have saved it. Dictatorships launch an attack using, among other weapons, syphilis. Scientists, having split the atom, go on to split atomic particles, producing a superbomb which blasts the Earth into fragments. On one of these fragments survives the last human pair: a doctor and his wife Eva who have fortuitously swallowed pills rendering them immune to the new weapon. They hope to found a new, peaceful civilization.
Benford, Gregory. Across the Sea of Suns. When alien sea monsters appear on Earth, an expedition travels to nearby stars to discover their source. The explorers discover that world after world has been destroyed in a similar fashion: machines built to fight ancient wars have formed their own civilization and work to suppress organic civilized life wherever it arises. The narrative suggests that most races end their lives through nuclear war. A pessimistic view of intelligent life as inevitably suicidal. One of the best hard science fiction novels of recent years. Tides of Light.
Sequel to Great Sky River. No direct references to nuclear war. The story is told in the voices of various survivors, including members of a group which shelters in an idle nuclear reactor when the nuclear war is begun by the deranged leader of a small nation, causing each superpower to believe it has been struck first by the other, using missiles smuggled near the shore in fishing boats. The Russians avoided exceeding the limit which would trigger a full-scale nuclear winter by making extensive use of biological weapons.
The space colonies survive to rule the Earth and ban further wars. Gary K. Bennett, Margot. The Long Way Back. London: Sidgwick and Jackson, They had returned and ruthlessly exterminated the race from Earth. It had taken eons, but time twisted strangely in a civilization of light-speed ships. Holman himself, barely thirty years old subjectively, had seen both the beginning of the ultimate war and its tragic end. He had gone from school into the military. And fighting inside a ship that could span the known universe in a few decades while he slept in cryogenic suspension, he had aged only ten years during the billions of years that the universe had ticked off in its stately, objective time-flow.
The Final Battle, from which Holman was fleeing, had been fought near an exploded galaxy billions of light-years from the Milky Way and Earth. There, with the ghastly bluish glare of uncountable shattered stars as a backdrop, the once-mighty fleets of mankind had been arrayed. Mortals and Immortals alike, men drew themselves up-to face the implacable Others. The enemy won. Not easily, but completely. Mankind was crushed, totally. A few fleeing men in a few battered ships was all that remained. Even the Immortals, Holman thought wryly, had not escaped. The Others had taken special care to make certain that they were definitely killed.
Holman's mind pictured the blood-soaked planets he had seen during his brief, ageless lifetime of violence. His thoughts drifted back to his own homeworld, his own family: gone long, long centuries ago. Crumbled into dust by geological time or blasted suddenly by the overpowering Others.
Either way, the remorseless flow of time had covered them over completely, obliterated them, in the span of a few of Holman's heartbeats. AH gone now. All the people he knew, all the planets he had seen through the snipes electroptical eyes, all of mankind… extinct. He could feel the drowsiness settling upon him. The ship was accelerating to lightspeed, and the cryogenic sleep was coming. But he didn't want to fall into slumber with those thoughts of blood and terror and loss before him. With a conscious effort, Holman focused his thoughts on the only other available subject: the outside world, the universe of galaxies.
An infinitely black sky studded with islands of stars. Glowing shapes of light, spiral, ovoid, elliptical, Little smears of warmth in the hollow unending darkness; drabs of red and blue standing against the engulfing night. One of them, he knew, was the Milky Way. Man's original home. From this distance it looked the same. Unchanged by little annoyances like the annihilation of an intelligent race of star-roamers.
The ship bore onward, preceded by an invisible net offeree, thousands of kilometers in radius, that scooped in the rare atoms of hydrogen drifting between the galaxies and fed them into the ship's wounded, aching generators. Something…a thought. Holman stirred in the couch. A consciousness-vague, distant, alien-brushed his mind. A thought skittered away from him.
He got the impression of other minds: simple, open, almost childish. Innocent and curious. Their thoughts slid away from his mind, Holman automatically focused the outside viewscreens, but here in the emptiness between galaxies he could find neither ship nor planet anywhere in sight. He listened again, so hard that his head started to ache. But no more voices. He was alone again f alone in the metal womb of the ship,. He knows what is following him. Their words echoed in his brain.
Are the Others following me? Have they picked up my trail? They must have. They must be right behind me. Despite himself, Holman dropped into deepsleep. His body temperature plummeted to near-zero. His heartbeat nearly stopped. And as the ship streaked at almost lightspeed, a hardly visible blur to anyone looking for it, the outside world continued to live at its own pace. Stars coalesced from gas clouds, matured, and died in explosions that fed new clouds for newer stars.
Planets formed and grew mantles of air. Life took root and multiplied, evolved, built a myriad of civilizations in just as many different forms, decayed and died away. Run to the sea: O sea, won't you hide me? The Lord said: O sinner-man, the sea'll be a-sinking All on that day.
Planet Earth, man's original homeworld, Holman nodded. Yes, this was where he had wanted to go. He had never seen the Earth, never been on this side of the Milky Way galaxy. Now he would visit the teeming nucleus of man's doomed civilization. He would bring the news of the awful defeat, and be on the site of mankind's birth when the inexorable tide of extinction washed over the Earth.
Holman smiled. But the smile faded as the ship swooped -closer to the solar system. He turned from the outside views-creens to the computer once again, "Are the 'scopes working all right? The computer hummed briefly, then replied. Holman looked again.
The sun was rushing up to meet his gaze, but something was wrong about it. He knew deep within him, even without having ever seen the sun this close before, that something''was wrong. The sun was whitish and somehow stunted looking, not the full yellow orb he had seen in film-tapes. And the Earth…. The ship took up a parking orbit around a planet scoured dean of life: a blackened ball of rock, airless, waterless. Hovering over the empty, charred ground, Holman stared at the devastation with tears in his eyes. Nothing was left. Not a brick, not a blade of grass, not a drop of water. Holman pounded a fist on the unflinching armrest of his couch.
I wasn't born on Earth. I never saw Earth before…". Even the oceans are gone. Did you know that? I've traveled over half the universe and never saw an ocean. The ship drifted outward from Earth, past a blackened Mars, a shrunken Jupiter, a ringless Saturn. Run to the Lord: O Lord, won't you hide me? The Lord said: O sinner-man, you ought to be a-praying All on that day.
Holman sat blankly while the ship swung out past the orbit of Pluto and into the comet belt at the outermost reaches of the sun's domain. It was an utterly calm; placid voice speaking in his mind: almost gentle, except that it was completely devoid of emotion. I have been waiting for any stray survivor of the Final Battle ' to return to mankind's first home.
You are the only one to come this way, in all this time. I am an observer. I have watched mankind since the beginning. Several of my race even attempted to make contact with you from time to time. But the results were always the same - about as useful as your attempts to communicate with insects. We are too different from each other. We have evolved on different planes. There was no basis for understanding between us. Watched you grow strong and reach out to the stars, only to be smashed back by the Others: Watched you regain your strength, go back among the stars. But this time you were constantly on guard, wary, alert, waiting for the Others to strike once again.
Watched you find civilizations that you could not comprehend, such as our own, bypass them as you spread through the galaxies. Watched you contact civilizations of your own level, that you could communicate with. You usually went to war with them. We tried to warn you from time to time. We tried to advise you. But the warnings, the contacts, the glimpses of the future that we gave you were always ignored or derided. So you boiled out into space for the second time, and met other societies at your own level of understanding-aggressive, proud, fearful, And like the children you are, you fought endlessly.
We worked for it. We learned how to make humans immortal. Some sort of chemicals. We were going to immortalize the whole race… I could've become immortal. But they couldn't stand that… the Others. They attacked us. So they attacked as white theystill could.
Just as they had done a million years earlier. They destroyed Earth's first interstellar civilization, and tried to finish us permanently. They even caused Ice Ages on Earth to make sure none of us would survive.
But we lived through it and went back to the stars. So they hit us again. They wiped us out. Good God, for all I know I'm the last human being in the whole universe. Your knowledge of the truth is imperfect. Mankind could have achieved immortality in time. Most races evolve that way eventually.
But you were impatient. You stole immortality. Because the chemicals that gave you immortality came from the bodies of the race you called the Flower People. And to take the chemicals, it was necessary to kill individuals of that race. To achieve racial immortality for mankind, it would have been necessary to perform racial murder on the Flower Folk.
Holman heard the words, but his mind was numb, trying to shut down tight on itself and squeeze out reality. That is why the Others struck. That is why they had attacked you earlier, during your first expansion among the stors. You had found another race, with the same chemical of immortality. You were taking them into your laboratories and methodically murdering them. The Others stopped you then. But they took pity on you, and let a few survivors remain on Earth. They caused your Ice Ages as a kindness, to speed your development back to civilization, not to hinder you.
They hoped you might evolve into a better species. But when the opportunity for immortality came your way once more, you seized it, regardless of the cost, heedless of your own ethical standards. It became necessary to extinguish you, the Others decided. Run to Satan: O Satan, won't you hide me? Satan said: O sinner-man, step right in All on that day. Holman sat in shocked silence as the solar system shrank to a pinpoint of light and finally blended into the mighty panorama of stars that streamed across the eternal night of space. The ship raced away, sensing Holman's guilt and misery in its electronic way.
Immortality through murder, Holman repeated to himself over and over. Racial immortality through racial murder. And he had been a part of it! He had defended it, even sought immortality as his reward. He had fought his whole lifetime for it, and killed-so that he would not have to face death. He sat there surrounded by self-repairing machinery, dressed in a silvery uniform, linked to a thousand automatic systems that fed him, kept him warm, regulated his air supply, monitored his blood flow, exercised his muscles with ultrasonic vibrators, pumped vitamins into him, merged his mind with the passionless brain of the ship, kept his body tanned and vigorous, his reflexes razor-sharp.
He sat there unseeing, his eyes pinpointed on a horror that he had helped to create. Not consciously, of course. But to Holman, that was all the worse. He had fought without knowing what he was defending. Without even asking himself about it. All the marvels of man's ingenuity, all the deepest longings of the soul, focused on racial murder. Mankind died in that war. Earth no longer exists. The sun is a white dwarf star.
We're anachronisms, you and me…". The Others will find us soon enough once we stop. They'll know what to do. He reached for the control panels set before him. It would be simple enough to manually shut off the air supply, or blow open an airlock, or even set off the ship's destruct explosives. But Holman found that he could not move his arms. He could not even sit up straight. He collapsed back into the padded softness of the couch, glaring at the computer viewscreen. Despite his fiercest efforts, Holman felt himself dropping into deep sleep. Slowly, slowly, everything faded, and darkness engulfed him.
Run to the stars: O stars, won't you hide me? The Lord said: O sinner-man, the stars'll be a-falling All on that day. Holman slept as the ship raced at near-lightspeed in an erratic, meaningless course, looping across galaxies, darting through eons of time. When the computer's probings of Hoi-man's subconscious mind told it that everything was safe, it instructed the cryogenics system to reawaken the man. But don't worry, I won't kill myself.
I'm over that. And I won't do anything to damage you, either. He shrugged. He took a deep breath. The ship doubled back to the nearest galaxy and began a searching pattern. Holman stared at the sky, fascinated. Something strange was happening. The viewscreens showed him the outside world, and automatically corrected the wavelength shifts caused by the ship's immense velocity. It was as though Holman were watching a speeded-up tape of cosmological evolution. Galaxies seemed to be edging into his field of view, mammoth islands of stars, sometimes coming close enough to collide.
He watched the nebulous arms of a giant spiral slice silently through the open latticework of a great ovoid galaxy. He saw two spirals interpenetrate, their loose gas heating to an intense blue that finally disappeared into ultraviolet. And all the while, the once-black sky was getting brighter and brighter. I didn't know about the Flower People, I just took orders. And executioners too. All right…try and get me! If you're so powerful, and it means so much to you that you have to wipe out the last single man in the universe-come and get me!
Just try. I don't care! Wrong, right, it doesn't matter. I didn't do anything. I won't accept your verdict for something I didn't do. You have forced us to leave our time-continuum. We can never return to our homeworlds again. We have nothing to do but pursue you. Sooner or later your machinery will fail.
You cannot flee us forever. He looked at the outside viewscreens again, and suddenly the word forever took on its real meaning. The galaxies were clustering in now, falling in together as though sliding down some titanic, invisible slope. The universe had stopped expanding eons ago, Holman now realized. Now it was contracting, pulling together again. It was all ending! He laughed. Coming to an end. Mankind and the Others, together, coming to the ultimate and complete end of everything. Holman stared at the machine. He looked around the compartment.
One by one the outside viewscreens were flickering, becoming static-streaked, weak, and then winking off.
Paul Brians’ Vita
With every ounce of willpower in him, Holman concentrated on the generators and engines. That was the important part, the crucial system that spelled the difference between victory and defeat. The ship had to keep moving! He looked at the instrument panels, but their soft luminosity faded away into darkness. And now it was becoming difficult to breathe. And the heating units seemed to be stopped. Holman could feel his life-warmth ebbing away through the inert metal hull of the dying ship. But the engines were still throbbing. The ship was still streaking across space and time, heading towards a rendezvous with the infinite.
He could sense the painful glare outside as billions of galaxies all rushed together down to a single cataclysmic point in spacetime. And you've lost! Mankind is still alive, despite everything you've thrown at him. AH of mankind-the good and the bad, the murderers and the music, wars and cities and everything we've ever done, the. And I'm stil! Do you hear me? I'm still here!
The end of everything and everybody. We finish in a tie. Mankind has made it right down to the final second. And if there's another universe after this one, maybe there'll be a place in it for us all over again. How's that for laughs? What if the Universe continues on its peaceful way, but it is our Sun that is somehow destroyed?
That would be a "Catastrophe of the Second Class. In the prescientific age, it was felt that the Sun was not reliable. In the Norse myths, the Sun and Moon were forever pursued by wolves who might swallow them at any time. In the Greek myths, an unskilled hand at the reins of the solar chariot sent the Sun careening toward the Earth and nearly destroyed it.
Science knows better. The Sun is stable-but is it? Do we know enough? Well, perhaps not willfully, unpredictably-but inevitably. The Sun cannot last forever. In the s, Hermann von Helmholtz worked out the law of conservation of energy, and that in itself, told us the Sun had a finite life and must die "The Custodian" by William Tenn -but not for billions of years, we believe. The manner of that death has changed since Helmholtz's day. For nearly a century, it was taken for granted that the Sun was, one way or anqther, a huge bonfire that would flicker, die down and cool.
It would take longer for the Sun to do so than an ordinary bonfire but it was just as inevitable "Phoenix" by Clark Ashton Smith. By the s, however Hans A. Bethe and Carl von Weizsacker had worked out the details of the nuclear fires of the Sun and it began to seem that our luminary would go out in a deadly blaze rather than a pitiful flicker "Run from the Fire" by Harry Harrison. Lem Dyer was used to being talked about. For years people had thought him a bit touched in the head, or a harmless dreamer, or maybe some kind of soothsayer, and in Glenn Center when folks thought something they said it.
Lem never minded. They were saying other things about Mm that evening, foul, vicious things. Lem heard some of them, spewed up from the crowd that gathered below his cell window. He tilted the battered old chair baek against the cement-block wall and sat there in the dark, puffing slowly on his corncob pipe and only half listening to the arguments, and the coarse shouts, and the jeers. And after a while he heard the sheriff's booming voice talking to the crowd, telling the men to go home, telling them they had -nothing to worry about, and they might as well leave Lem Dyer alone with his conscience.
You don't want to oversleep, do you? There was more talk, and then the men drifted away, and things got quiet, The sheriff came back in the jail and barred the front door, and Lem heard him talking to the deputies, allowing that Lem Dyer might or might not be the things people said he was, but he sure was an odd one.
To look at him you'd think nothing had happened-or was going to happen. Lem chuckled softly to himself. The sheriff was a good man. He'd gone out of his way to make Lem comfortable and bring him little things like tobacco and even a drink of whisky now and then. And when Lem had thanked him, he'd said, "Hell, I've got to hang you. Isn't that punishment enough? Lem puffed contentedly on his pipe and decided he should do something for the sheriff. But later on, after all this was over with. He'd wanted to tell the sheriff that there wouldn't be any hanging, and he was wasting a lot of money building that scaffold and getting everything ready.
But he couldn't without telling him about the pictures, and the looking and choosing, and he'd never told anyone about that. And perhaps it was just as well that he hadn't told him, because the scaffold was in the pictures. He'd looked at so many pictures it'd given him a headache, and the scaffold was in all of them, and the people crowding around it, and Lem Dyer dangling by his neck.
And then the deputy running out of the jail and shouting, stop, the governor just telephoned, Lem Dyer is granted a reprieve, and the people laughing at Lem hanging there and shouting back, cut him down and reprieve him. It was nice of the governor, Lem thought, to take such an interest in him, and he'd gone on looking at pictures, trying to find one where the governor telephoned in time. There was one where Sheriff Harbson got sick just as he was leading Lem up to the scaffold, and he lay there on the ground looking terrible, and Lem didn't like that even if it did hold things up until the governor telephoned.
And there was a picture where the Glenn Hotel caught on fire, but some people got hurt, and Lem didn't want that. He'd gone on looking, and finally he found a picture where the rope broke, or came untied, and he fell right through the trap to the ground.
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It took some time to get things ready again, and the deputy came out shouting stop before they got Lem back up on the scaffold. Then the sheriff led Lem back toward the jail, with all the people following along behind. Lem liked that picture, and it was the one he chose. He knew it wouldn't get him out of jail, and he'd have to look at pictures again.
But he wasn't in any hurry. Looking at pictures made him terribly tired, now that he was getting old. He didn't like to do it unless he had to. That was why he'd gotten into trouble. If he'd looked at pictures he wouldn't have jumped into the river to pull out the little Olmstead girl, and he wouldn't have carried her over to Doc Beasley's house, thinking the doctor might be able to help her, Or he would have made it come out some other way. But he hadn't looked at pictures, and people had started talking about haw maybe it was Lem who killed the little girl, and finally they'd taken him to court and had a trial.
Even then Lem hadn't looked at pictures. He hadn't done anything wrong, and he thought he didn't have anything to worry about. But the jury said he was guilty, and Judge Wilson said he waa to hang by his neck until he was dead, and Ted Emmons, who'd grown up to be a lawyer and was looking after things for Lem,. So Lem had looked at pictures again, and now he'd made his choice and everything would be all right. He got up and fumbled in the dark for his can of tobacco.
Suddenly the lights came on in the corridor, and footsteps shuffled in his direction. He stepped into sight, keys jangling, and unlocked the cell door. Reverend Meyers, of the Glenn Center First Baptist Church, sounded a deep-toned, "Good evening, Lem," gripped his hand, and then backed off into a corner and fussed with his hat. District Attorney Whaley nodded jerkily and tried to grin. He was middle-aged and getting a little fat and bald, but Lem remembered him as a tough kid stoning rats over at the town dump.
Lem thought maybe he was feelmg a little proud of the way he talked the jury into finding Lem guilty, but then-that was his job, and the people had elected him to do it. Whaley's grin slipped away, leaving him tight-lipped. He cleared his throat noisily and said, "Well, Lem, being as it's the last night, we were-that is, I was-wondering if maybe you had something to get off your chest.
Lem sat down again and tilted back in his chair. He lit his pipe and puffed for a moment before he said slowly, "Why-no. I don't reckon I've got anything on my chest that's botherin' me enough to need getting off, I never went much to church except on Christmas Eve, and that because I liked to watch the kids more than for the religion. The Revern here would say I wasn't a religious man, but I don't think he'd call me bad. I reckon maybe I've shot sne or two deer and caught a few fish out of season, because I needed the meat, and I've bet some on the races at the county fair, but a lot of men do that.
I don't think I ever broke any other laws, and I never hurt nobody, and I think maybe I did help a lot of people,". Whaley," Lem said. I didn't know somebody'd choked her. I jumped in and pulled her out, and I remembered that sometimes drowned people could be brought to life but I didn't know how, so I ran to Doc Beasley's with her.
I can't tell more than that. Whaley stopped his pacing to fumble for a cigarette. The sheriff gave him one of his and held a match for him. You wouldn't want to die with that on your conscience, would you? I won't hang. Whaley stared at him for a moment. Then he turned abruptly and said over his shoulder, "Good luck, Lem,". The sheriff followed Whaley out and locked the cell door. As their footsteps faded away down the corridor, a wistful grin touched Reverend Meyers's gaunt face.
He lowered his long form awkwardly onto Lem's cot. They're'beginning to think maybe they're hanging an innocent man tomorrow. I know you didn't do it. So do quite a few other people. We've been working on it, Lem-working hard. Ted Emmons, and I, and some others. We didn't want to say anything to you because that might have made you start hoping, and we really didn't know if we could help you.
We've finally had some luck, and we'think we know who killed the child. Ted Emmons is trying right now to get hold of the governor, to get you a reprieve. All we need is a little more time. Lem nodded. That explained the telephone call from the governor that would have come too late if he hadn't looked at the pictures and made a choice. But now everything would be all right. He'd get the reprieve, and then they would find the real murderer let Lem out of jail, he wouldn't have to look at pictures again.
He felt happy about that, because looking at pictures tired him so. Just put your trust in God, Lem, and everything will be all right. Reverend Meyers bowed his head and spoke softly. Lem didn't listen, but he watched him uneasily. He hadn't put any faith at all in God. He'd put all his faith in his pictures, and the looking and choosing, and it disturbed him to think that maybe God was showing him the pictures and letting him look and choose. He'd never thought of that before.
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