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The Life After the Life Before

Posted by heyrandy on December 1, 2011

Warday and the Journey Onward, Whitley Strieber, 1984

America has been partly nuked. DC is gone. So is San Antonio, the Dakotas, and much of Russia. The electromagnetic pulse from the weapons has destroyed most electronics. Death from starvation, disease, and radiation poisoning are common. So is euthanasia.

A spark of hope set in the scene of gloom. 1992 is the setting, four years after the warday. Two men, reporters for the Dallas newspaper, decide to write a book about life in post war America. The research the book by traveling in a grand circuit from Dallas to California, Chicago, Pittsburgh, New York (where one of the men lived on warday), down through the south and then back to Dallas.

They interview people of all types by getting them to talk into a recorder. The monologues are revealing, Tragedy, hope, greed, and courage come through. California is a police state. Entry there is not permitted without prior authorization. Illegals are severely punished. (One researcher got two years in prison, the other three. Their escape from the bus on the way to prison is not believable.) Southern Texas is now in the hands of Mexico, but the Governor of Texas wants to raise an army to reclaim the land. The Mexicans want to take California. Everywhere there is radioactive dust. Medical care is severely rationed–by the British.

The two men get copies of government documents to show more of the story. It is fun to read artificial government-speak. Bureaucracy never dies. It just adjusts to the situation.

The book is about the future of post-war America. The future is hopeful. I actually expected the book to end with the married man returning home to have his wife tell him she was pregnant. I guess some devices are best unused.

The book is average for post-apocalyptic tale. It doesn’t take long to read, but unless you are really a fan of the genre, give the book a pass.


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