Tuesday, October 22, 2019
First sentence: In Fort Repose, a river town in Central Florida, it was said that sending a message by Western Union was the same as broadcasting it over the combined networks. This was not entirely true. It was true that Florence Wechek, the manager, gossiped. Yet she judiciously classified the personal intelligence that flowed under her plump fingers, and maintained a prudent censorship over her tongue. The scandalous and the embarrassing she excised from her conversation. Sprightly, trivial, and harmless items she passed on to friends, thus enhancing her status and relieving the tedium of spinsterhood. If your sister was in trouble, and wired for money, the secret was safe with Florence Wechek. But if your sister bore a legitimate baby, its sex and weight would soon be known all over town.
Premise/plot: Randy Bragg is the hero of this apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic science fiction classic. One day—soon after the novel opens—Randy receives a telegram with a code word: Alas, Babylon. It is from his brother, Mark. The message may confuse Florence, but the message is perfectly clear to Randy. The end is near—nuclear war is imminent. Mark knows that he won’t survive, but he’s hoping that by sending his wife, Helen, his son, Ben Franklin, and his daughter, Peyton, that they will. The message proves timely. Mark’s prediction comes true. Will Randy and his neighbors know how to keep themselves alive in the dark, bleak days and weeks ahead? Will life go on? What will that life look like? What kind of future will humanity have?
My thoughts: I believe this is my third time to read Alas, Babylon. I absolutely love this one. It is such a fascinating read. It reads closer to a survival adventure story than anything else. It does indeed pose the big what if that would have been on the minds of every reader at the time it was published. What if war happens? What if it’s nuclear war? Can nuclear war be won? Will humanity stand a chance of surviving? What would life be like after such a disaster? But this is so much more than a premise driven novel. The characters are so well done...as are the relationships.
© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews