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Beyond Armageddon [Paperback]

Walter M. Miller , Martin H. Greenberg
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 1 2006 Beyond Armageddon Series
In Beyond Armageddon, the distinguished science fiction writer Walter M. Miller Jr. (1923–96) and the famed anthologist Martin H. Greenberg have together collected stories that address one of the most challenging themes of imaginative fiction: the nature of life after nuclear war. The twenty-one stories in this collection, by masters such as Arthur C. Clarke, Poul Anderson, Ray Bradbury, J. G. Ballard, Robert Sheckley, Roger Zelazny, and Harlan Ellison, explore a variety of possibilities of “life after.” These richly imagined stories offer glimpses into a future no reader will soon forget. Miller’s incisive introduction and a thought-provoking and irreverent commentary are included. New to this Bison Books edition is a postscript to the introduction provided by Martin H. Greenberg.

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From Publishers Weekly

Miller, whose novel A Canticle for Leibowitz is a landmark of post-holocaust SF, opens this anthology of SF stories on nuclear war with a provocative and challenging introduction: he suggests that the bomb would be safer with Qaddafi than Reagan. This properly unsettles the reader for the following 21 imaginations of disaster. Arranged in a rough future chronology, they include such classics as J. G. Ballard's apocalyptic "Terminal Beach," Stephen Vincent Benet's vision of a ruined New York in "By the Waters of Babylon," Ray Bradbury's nostalgic "There Will Come Soft Rains" and Harlan Ellison's fierce "A Boy and His Dog." Where most seek metaphors of devastation, the less well known stories are sometimes grittier, for example, Lucius Shepard's "Salvador," on a possible future Vietnam, Jim Aiken's nasty "My Life in the Jungle" and Poul Anderson's 1946 "Tomorrow's Children," the only story here to mention the effect of nuclear winter and the story that deals most pragmatically and tragically with the human consequences of radiation-induced mutations. Altogether, a thought-provoking, varied and well chosen anthology. October 31
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“In these troubled times, the University of Nebraska Press has rendered a great service in reprinting this 1985 anthology of life in the aftermath of cataclysmic (usually nuclear) war. . . . Walter M. Miller, Jr. came out of self-imposed retirement long enough to put together this extraordinary volume. . . . . One of the most compelling anthologies of short fiction, post-holocaust SF or otherwise, ever assembled.”—Home Planet News

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First Sentence
For the most part, this book is about the aftermath of Megawar, but in a frequent speculative scenario, the last "war" in the world, rather than beginning with sneak megabangs by a superpower, escalates from a murderous scuffle where both sides are out of boundsin a place such as Iran, Cuba, Pakistan, Nicaragua; the scuffle builds through angry frustration to a few rounds of kiloton-level tactical violence, and thence to the insane confrontation: the last called bluff. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars If the Cold War went Hot Aug. 23 2012
By Jeffrey Swystun TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
In 1985 when this anthology was compiled, The Cold War's nuclear threats and implications were still very much present. I was born in 1965 and was stressed in the seventies growing up knowing our planet could be blown up several times over. These twenty-one tales, from the late forties to the mid eighties, cover what might have been if buttons were pushed. Reading it in the twenty-first century make it all the more intriguing as these concerns are now swapped for others. With any collection, there are going to be some duds and this is no exception but where the criticism may more accurately lie (and it is a little one) is in the repetition of type of tale. As we are dealing with a post nuclear world as the central theme, several plots have us returning to agrarian times (reinforcing the belief that if such a conflict had taken place then the next one would be fought with spears).

Some vary from this theme like Salvador which introduces a mercenary-like US military, The Store of the Worlds that is more like a Twilight Zone episode, and The Four Horseman that imagines an American Idol-like show that has global implications. I enjoyed The Lot with the creepy father who has his own ideas of family survival, Days at the Beach which reminded me of Stephen King who wrote a beach-based end of the world tale in one of his collections, and Tomorrow's Children would make a great movie. Other stories come from big names including Wyndham, Ballard, Bradbury, and Clarke. It is a quirky read worth picking up.
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5.0 out of 5 stars High quality collection of dystopic tales... Oct. 24 2011
By Ronald W. Maron TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
While it is sad that Walter Miller, the chief editor, is no longer with us, like with his novel 'A Canticle for Liebowitz', he has left us a high quality group of short tales. These tales come from a variety of first class authors. While there is no one who will think that every short story is to be as highly rated as the next one, very seldom did Miller and Greenberg miss the mark. In addition, the stories are arranged sequentially with tales of pre-megawar occurring first and the dystopic stories at the end of this well bound text.

William Miller's forward, which was written in 1985, is a fascinating read unto itself. Most of the global predictions that Miller made regarding countries that would attain nuclear weaponry and the strong, negative influence that the Moral Majority would come to have on US politics read more like history than the predictive nature under which they were written. His prefices to each story, however, add little, if anything, to the tale itself.

Rest in peace Mr. Miller........
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best reprint anthology of post-apocalyptic SF Jan. 19 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book contains the following stories:
"Salvador" by Lucius Shepard
"The Store of the Worlds" by Robert Sheckley
"The Big Flash" by Norman Spinrad
"Lot" by Ward Moore
"Day at the Beach" by Carol Emshwiller
"The Wheel" by John Wyndham
"Jody After the War" by Edward Bryant
"The Terminal Beach" by J. G. Ballard
"Tomorrow's Children" by Poul Anderson
"Heirs Apparent" by Robert Abernathy
"A Master of Babylon" by Edgar Pangborn
"Game Preserve" by Rog Phillips
"By the Waters of Babylon" by Stephen Vincent Benét
"There Will Come Soft Rains" by Ray Bradbury
"To the Chicago Abyss" by Ray Bradbury
"Lucifer" by Roger Zelazny
"Eastward Ho!" by William Tenn
"The Feast of Saint Janis" by Michael Swanwick
"If I Forget Thee, Oh Earth..." by Arthur C. Clarke
"A Boy and His Dog" by Harlan Ellison
"My Life in the Jungle" by Jim Aikin
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.9 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
39 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This must be a mistake... April 20 1999
By Babytoxie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Yes, the book is out of print, but when I ordered it, the page said that it was still available, and I received it in 2 days. Hmmm... There's good and bad to this collection of 21 stories of nuclear devastation. *Bad* - Walter M. Miller's lengthy, rambling, and ultimately pointless foreword and story introductions, and the abundance of typos (did anyone proofread this?). *Good* - The selection of works. Bradbury, Ellison, Clarke, Zelazny, Pangborn, and many others. Plus, it includes one of my personal favorites, "By the Waters of Babylon" by Steven Vincent Benet. The cover is intriguing, as well... looks like Stanislaw Fernandes?
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not so hot Sept. 25 2009
By W. Jason Gilmore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Rarely do I post a negative review, however I found this book to be a huge disappointment. Having recently read a number of great post-apocalyptic novels such as "One Second After", "Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse" (a *fantastic* compilation), and "The Road", I was eager to find more and so picked this up at my local library. After a great first story, my interest quickly waned due to what appears to be a hastily compiled collection of stories, some seemingly having fairly little to do with armageddon (I'd classify some of them as simply having a rather bleak storyline).

Add the editor's almost incomprehensible political rantings into the mix, and you have a book I suggest avoiding.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A snapshot of Cold War fears Dec 11 2007
By Patrick Curtin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I enjoyed this collection of short stories mainly because I was a child of the Cold War. Nuclear annihalation was always a thought in the back of America's mind then, and many science fiction authors wrote chilling stories based on the 'what if' of a nuclear exchange. Although the threat has receeded, we still face the possibility, even if it is not in the forefront of our conciousness like it was during those fifty years of fear. There are some excellent examples of the gripping stories that kept me up as a kid here, anyone who remembers that time will appreciate this book as both fiction and history.

For those who love post apocalyptic fiction I would also point you to two of the best books written in this genre, also by the co-editor of this anthology, Walter Miller: A Canticle for Leibowitz and Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman. These two books are truly the benchmark for thoughtful writing on the consequences of a nuclear exchange.
20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate apocalyptic short story collection Jan. 18 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This anthology contains the very best of apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic short fiction, including such hard-to find classics as Harlan Elison's "A Boy and His Dog". Other personal favorites are Norman Spinrad's "The Big Flash", Edgar Pangborn's "A MAster of Babylon", Stephen Benet's "By the Waters of Babylon", William Tenn's "Eastward Ho!", Lucius Shepard's "Salvador" and... it's all there, really. Include an interesting and to-the-point foreword by editor Walter M. Miller (author of "A Canticle for Leibowitz"), and you've got the ultimate treat for a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction.
(Note: Published in the UK as "Beyond Armageddon: Survivors of the Megawar" Robinson, 1985)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If the Cold War went Hot Aug. 23 2012
By Jeffrey Swystun - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In 1985 when this anthology was compiled, The Cold War's nuclear threats and implications were still very much present. I was born in 1965 and was stressed in the seventies growing up knowing our planet could be blown up several times over. These twenty-one tales, from the late forties to the mid eighties, cover what might have been if buttons were pushed. Reading it in the twenty-first century make it all the more intriguing as these concerns are now swapped for others. With any collection, there are going to be some duds and this is no exception but where the criticism may more accurately lie (and it is a little one) is in the repetition of type of tale. As we are dealing with a post nuclear world as the central theme, several plots have us returning to agrarian times (reinforcing the belief that if such a conflict had taken place then the next one would be fought with spears).

Some vary from this theme like Salvador which introduces a mercenary-like US military, The Store of the Worlds that is more like a Twilight Zone episode, and The Four Horseman that imagines an American Idol-like show that has global implications. I enjoyed The Lot with the creepy father who has his own ideas of family survival, Days at the Beach which reminded me of Stephen King who wrote a beach-based end of the world tale in one of his collections, and Tomorrow's Children would make a great movie. Other stories come from big names including Wyndham, Ballard, Bradbury, and Clarke. It is a quirky read worth picking up.
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