There’s a good chance I’ve been watching too much Doomsday Preppers, but you know I love a good post apocalyptic novel. It had been a while since I’d read one, so when Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank came up as a sale item on Amazon this month I jumped on it. Alas, Babylon was published in 1959, which for all of you scholars out there was at the height of the Cold War. The threat of the US and the USSR blowing each other to smithereens with nuclear bombs was palpable.
Alas, Babylon takes the leap into the “what if.” What if the USSR had nuked many of the major cities in the US? What if a small pocket of Florida remained untouched while the rest of the state was saturated in radiation? What if the power went out… Forever? I love a good apocalypse story, and this is one of the best I’ve ever read. It’s funny that something written 54 years ago could still be so relevant, but it absolutely is. Those of us living today in the digital age would be facing the exact same predicament as the folks in the 50s… Except a little worse, because OMG what would we do without the INTERNET?!
One of my favorite shows in the last ten years was Jericho. It was a tragically short lived drama (2006-2008, RIP) about a small town in Kansas in the aftermath of nuclear devastation in the US. The hit sites were very similar to those in Alas, Babylon, but instead of Russia being behind the bombs, it was a mysterious conspiracy. Obviously, since this book came out decades before that show, it’s almost impossible that the creators of the show were not influenced by this book. I LOVE THEM BOTH!
It had everything! People’s reactions to disasters always fascinate me. First there’s the disbelief that anything of this magnitude could happen. The shock. The panic. The looting of the stores. The lawlessness that inevitably arises when food and supplies run low. You’ve got the ingenuity of people re-learning how to do things the “old fashioned” way and the rise of the highwaymen. I picked up this book and I could not put it down. It was that awesome. Of course, I’m now slightly paranoid about nuclear war and kind of want to get a Geiger counter to keep in my basement, but what else is new? I’m highly susceptible to suggestion. This is why I don’t watch infomercials, because HOT DAMN that Forever Lazy looks like a good idea.
What about you, bookworms? Do you like post apocalyptic novels? A good dystopia? Do they make you want to stockpile things and build a bunker? No? That’s just me? I should probably stop watching Doomsday Preppers, shouldn’t I?