This true modern masterpiece is built around the two fateful words that make up the title and herald the end - “Alas, Babylon.” When a nuclear holocaust ravages the United States, a thousand years of civilization are stripped away overnight, and tens of millions of people are killed instantly.
But for one small town in Florida, miraculously spared, the struggle is just beginning, as men and women of all backgrounds join together to confront the darkness. Will Patton's narration paints this classic tale as an ominous picture of the terrible possibilites of the nuclear age.
©1959 Harry Hart Frank (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
"An enthralling and vivid story of the follies and failures of people, their courage and cruelty, their treachery and triumphs. Mr. Frank is a magnificent writer." (Chicago Sunday Tribune)
"A warm, continuously interesting story of what can happen to a group of ordinary people in a perilous situation." (New York Herald Tribune)
“Will Patton is a calm and steady narrator whose quiet intensity wraps around this post-apocalyptic saga...He reflects the tones of deference of women to men, nonwhites to whites, and children to adults. In a conversational tone, he quietly brings the characters and their relationships to life.” (AudioFile)
This was one of the listens where for me the narrator made the book for me.
All of it. He is amazing.
A little out of date as the story was written in 1959. Still, it likely portrayed a realistic picture of a US A-bombed by the Russians.
A well crafted story is a portal to another world
Yes, in the sense that I got the chance to understand why I didnt like the book.
Probably not. The book had a distinct patronizing attitude towards women which was the main reason I stopped listening. I was not sure if that was because of the book's setting, time and place or if it was the author. In the end it didn't matter, because I wasn't able to connect with the characters as a result.
gruff, potboiled, military
Normally, I really like a good dystopian novel, but as I said before, I couldn't connect with the characters, especially the women, who had no depth and felt like a sexist man's view of women rather than people
From Wikipedia: Alas Babylon is a 1959 novel by by Pat Frank (the pen name of Harry Hart Frank). It was one of the first apocalyptic novels of the nuclear age and remains popular 55 years after it was first published, consistently ranking in Amazon.com's Top 20 Science Fiction Short Stories.
I purchased Alas, Babylon as a result of an Audible Daily Deal. The audible version is approximately 12 hours of listening, read by Will Patton, so I wouldn’t exactly call it a 'short story' . Obviously, an old classic is terrific fodder for a new audio production in that Alas, Babylon is a 2012 Audie Award Winner. Will Patton does a great job. I wish they’d do more of this with classic literature. Possibly start out with audio versions of all Pulitzer Prize winners? Advise & Consent would be awesome in audiobook format.
At any rate, this story is one of survival, loss, triumph, death, and re-birth amidst, and post nuclear war. This nuclear war lasts one single day, a day the characters refer to as simply, The Day. A small town in Florida learns to do without pretty much everything and begin living in a post The Day world. Completely cut off from the rest of civilization, the town has no idea what has happened, if or not the United States has ‘won’ the war, the global implications, and to what degree the human race will move forward. Considering when this book was written, 1959, and 2014 headlines of today, I’m sorry to say the pulse of world politics has not changed. Alas, Babylon is a vision of world-wide holocaust brought about by the nuclear age that has been a real threat since WWII. The countries involved are the same, i.e., Russia, Syria, the middle east.
The only difference from today is that in 1959 there were no cell-phones. Eerie.Well worth a listen.
When I started this book, I had no idea that it was published in 1959. I say that, because while I found much of the book interesting and fun in a post-apocalyptic way, something about it struck me as naive. The characters were doing things that seemed unsophisticated. I couldn't tell if the author wasn't talented or if he was deliberately trying to portray the innocence of the decade. Once I googled the book and saw when it was published, it all snapped into place for me - it was written from a place of innocence. (As an example, the main character - who was otherwise sharp, capable and military trained - hadn't thought about their need for water when preparing his emergency kit. That's something that pretty much any US citizen today thinks of even in the case of temporary power outages.)
While details like that were distracting, the overall concept was fun to explore. The book is strongest in its first half. Once they settle into post-war life, it loses steam a bit. That said, the author did a great job creatively imagining a world in the wake of nuclear war. If you're a fan of this genre, it's probably worth adding to your shelf.
This is a very rare book that needed a second read. Read it in paperback years ago. Saw it on Audible. Listened to it and enjoyed it even more than the first time. I am old enough to remember the "Duck and Cover" days in grade school.The Cuban Missile Crisis happened during my high school years and makes this story almost to real. Read "12 Seconds After". Required reading at the War College and it`s another good read.
Always one of the very best readers. A little dash of the bayou helps even a slow story. This story does not need it but even a good hotdog is enhanced by a little onion and relish.
I don't know how I missed reading this book, growing up....maybe because I was just a school-age child when it was written, and by the time I was a bit older the world had come to recognize that bigger bombs meant total destruction; by then people had stopped talking about building fall-out shelters, with the improbability of survival. I recall a class in "social studies" where our teacher instructed us in the arms race, and the development of "anti-missile-missiles,", and the laughter when he told us that "now we have developed anti-anti-missile-missile-missiles."
This story demonstrates hope in the human spirit, despite the misguided, sometimes evil, actions of others (politicians, heads of nations, corporations?) that could potentially lead us to negative events ("One atomic bomb can ruin your whole day...")In spite of the publication date, it could have been written today, with the threat of terrorists with "suitcase bombs" or other possibilities for generalized destruction of major cities potentially inside of their war chests. The narrator made it an easy, absorbing listen. I enjoyed it immensely.
This story is set in a time of global nuclear threat between the two most powerful nations of the time - the US and the USSR. The term Mutually Assured Destruction is not used in the book so I guess it wasn't in common use at the time. None-the-less, the idea that the two countries would let fly with all their nuclear arsenal was unthinkable. Alas Babylon - in this fictional tale the unthinkable comes to pass. In central Florida, a sleepy small town survives the nuclear holocaust. The story shows the transformation the small town survivors go thru - the sad realities of who can survive in such a resource limited world; how they hunger for news from "the outside"; how they restore order to their lives even when threatened by those that prey upon the weak. I find this a very interesting read and a look at what society looked like and how they behaved in the 1950s.
For a modern version of this type story, read "One Second After" by William Forstchen. The two stories run similar veins - limited resources, threats from outsiders (roaming thugs), a paucity of news from the outside, and the emergence of local leaders that help the community survive.
I recommend Alas Babylon for those looking for a post nuclear apocalypse fiction read.
The "reality" of how a community could survive.
The entire story is so plausible.
This is my first but I look forward to hearing more.
I makes you think of the what ifs.
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