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Old January 3 2012, 04:40 AM   #96
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Re: What SF/F Book Are you Reading? .. Redux

Finished Philip Wylie's Triumph... Good grief, what a sobering book. It centers around 14 people who survive a truly worst-case scenario nuclear war between the US and USSR in the fabulous underground shelter of a Connecticut millionaire [an amusing touch for me as I live about fifty miles from where it's supposed to be lol]. It details their physical and psychological travails and also describes the devastation. desperation, and chaos outside in what I can only describe as loving detail. It was written in 1962 [and refers to the 2nd Kennedy administration ] and is set later in the century but not too long afterwards.
It is vehemently anti-Communist but also critical of the naivete and materialism of the West as well, and follows a line of not-illogical reasoning from the last war that if another one came, it would a war of annihilation, not mere victory... and that the Soviets would have been willing to destroy most of the world if that ensured their rule over most of what was left. And one has to buy the idea that the entire northern hemisphere could be scoured and rendered uninhabitable in a mind-blowingly thorough series of nuclear attacks while weather patterns kept the fallout away from most of the southern hemisphere. It is notably a book written before the "nuclear winter" theory was developed!
The character interactions are predictably dated in their gender and racial dimensions given when it was written, but entertaining nonetheless. The main character is a good one, and it even sort of deserves the title by the end, though I'm not sure a book with a billion-plus dead can be said to have a happy ending!

On to Camp Concentration by Thomas Disch!
"Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it." - Mark Twain
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