Avid listener of fiction of all kinds. On constant search for perfect commuting / running audiobook list.
To avoid spoilers won't give all the details, but disappointed in the flat characters who are like TV characters. Episode One: Husband, brother, child, friend, neighbor, mother, dies. Next Episode: NEVER MENTIONED AGAIN. Characters show no after effects of loss, no emotional investment in the death and destruction around them, no emotional response to severe personal loss (husband, mother, brother, etc.). All extremely flat. How do you write a "nuclear holocaust" without showing emotional loss? I guess Pat Frank gets the award for that.
I'm going with a no.
My favorite "most irritating"? The one where all the women in the house crying over trivial, ridiculous stuff and the author makes some annoying comment about how women just need a man around to handle life.
I don't know if it was meant to be timely as it's set back in the 60s, but it was jarring and out of place and didn't fit the character who one minute extols his girlfriend as his "rock" and then criticizes all the women for being incapable of living without a man in the house. I'll not forget that scene for a while.
If we want to call it my "favorite" for that reason, so be it.
I read it to compare it against "On the Beach" (another nuclear holocaust book by English-Australian writer Nevil Shute). I wanted to see how time (On the Beach was written in 1957) and nationality impacted a similar story. For that reason: it was interesting. And that reason only. On the Beach covers more intimately the death and despair and yet odd normalcy of living waiting for nuclear fall-out. Alas, Babylon for some reason never really suffers anything: they live in some magical and yet un-explained region of complete purity in the midst of heavy bombing and bombs. There are so many deus ex machinas in this book it's hard to keep count.
Alas Babylon is not a nuclear holocaust story. It's a story about living in pioneer times and "making do" and darn it if plucky people don't just make the best of it and gosh darn it if there is ANY death will it's completely off scene and has no emotional resonance. Oh: People died. Moving on.
I don't know if the author is afraid of death or has just never experienced it, but there is absolutely no grieving about the loss of human life in this book. Characters are unemotional and flat, flat, flat (not counting the need for women to sit in the house and weep uncontrollably thereby needing a man, of course).
NOTE: Nothing against the reader though. Will Patton has a great reading voice and was an excellent reader for the story. Story was just weak.
A very well written story, and still relevant today. Will Patton does an excellent job in narrating. I did not read this book in high school or college, but it is on my son's summer reading list for high school. I look forward to discussing it with him after he reads it.
I had forgotten all about this book. It is a true classic -- all the new "end-day" stories are old considering this was written in the early 60s.
IN the vein of Failsafe and On the Beach, Alas Babylon is compelling glympse into an era fading from memory that needs to be remembered. Will Patton does a fantastic read of a rich story.
A nuclear holocaust demolishes the United States, a thousand years of civilization world wide destroyed overnight, and tens of millions of people are killed instantly, except for one small town in Florida, miraculously spared, and for them struggle is just beginning,
Will Patton's narration was mesmerizing. I've heard it said that Alas, Babylon is the grandaddy of apocalyptic writing and although written in 1959, the only clues you that would clearly identify this book as not modern is it's lack of gratuitous sex, overtly morbid violence (there is some violence) and 1950-ish style nuclear propaganda.
The story is striking and unforgettable and it left me wanting more of this story. Well worth the credit and then some.
This man has a very good insight. I have read a lot of post war books, and without a doubt, this one beats the lot. No Heros, no wanna be's and very practical.Even though written in the late 60s this book still relates to modern times, This should be compulsory reading for all high schools.
The smallest things you don't think of, are the most important.(eg) Salt over Liquor or coffee.
Going to download the rest of his books
I favor history, non-fiction, lectures, and the occasional purely fictitious work. I also listen to many children's books with my family.
I was recently on a post-apocalyptic book run and listened to Earth Abides, The Road and Alas Babylon. I enjoyed each of these books a great deal. Each is different in a number of ways, but have the same general set of circumstances that the characters are faced with.
The narration was excellent. I felt the narration suited the book and the pacing was great. I often find either the voice or the pacing a probable step-up from my own silent reading, in this case the pacing was the primary benefit to me even though the voice is very good.
I really didn't have any extreme reaction. I found the tale to be enjoyable but it didn't have the impact of Earth Abides or The Road.
Glad I listened - well worth my time and credits.
An unsocial freak living his life around audiobooks, the next best thing to under water blowdryers.
The book is slow and tedious and struggles to get to the point. The epic scenes feels too normal at times and there is hardly any conflicting moments in the book. Everything seems so predictable and doesn't even try to baffle or amaze. It is not one of my favorites and i may blame it on listening to Swan Song trying to find something similar.
I hesitated buying Alas, Babylon, because of the science fiction description. But, how could I go wrong with Will Patton reading it? I really enjoyed the book and will listen to it again. The things I was afraid would happen didn't, usually....just like life! Good book!
It reminded me of the early sixties when we were on the brink of nuclear war...or so it seemed to a 10 year old every single minute. There was a slice of southerness and the awful state of race relations and then how people came together. I hadn't expected to get caught up in the book and was delighted that I did.