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Could This Be A Survival Manual for the Post-Apocalypse?
on March 1, 2004
When I was an impressionable young girl of 14, my then boyfriend at the time insisted I read Alas, Babylon, saying that he felt a nuclear conflict was not only possible, but inevitable. Of course, this was in the late Seventies and the Cold War was still all about 'arming for peace'. Knowing there was a distinct possibility that one day I might have to face a full-on nuclear disaster, I found that Alas, Babylon rang so true to me that it haunted me for years. I have moved all over the country and halfway across the world, and my battered old copy of this fantastic novel has come with me. Well, my impressionable years are behind me, but the impact of Alas Babylon's vision of how folks in a small Southern town would react to a nuclear halocaust is still as strong. I read it just the other day and was again struck by it's vivid, disturbing descriptions of not only the horror of watching your world literally blowing up around you, but also the grisly task of how to survive it. Yes, it's military Cold War jargon and it's prickly talk of racism and segregation give it a slightly dated feel; but if the bomb drops tomorrow, and I'm alive, I can only hope my copy of Alas, Babylon survives with me. It may just safe my life...