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The Long Tomorrow (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
 
 

The Long Tomorrow (S.F. MASTERWORKS) [Kindle Edition]

Leigh Brackett
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Book Description

A stunning novel of a post-nuclear world by one of SF's early greats. Introduction by Pat Cadigan.

Product Description

'No city, no town, no community of more than one thousand people or two hundred buildings to the square mile, shall be built or permitted to exist anywhere in the United States of America.'
Thirtieth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States
Two generations after the nuclear holocaust, rumors persisted about a secret desert hideaway where scientists worked with dangerous machines and where men plotted to revive the cities.
Almost a continent away, Len Coulter heard whisperings that fired his imagination. Then one day he found a strange wooden box . . .

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 920 KB
  • Print Length: 252 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B002B7HFTE
  • Publisher: Gateway (13 Feb 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00I9GXOY6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #29,207 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "Golden Oldie" of the way the future was. 24 Nov 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It's fascinating to see how some sf novels stand the test of time and others don't. I still have my old Mayflower pb of "The Long Tomorrow" which I purchased as a teenager c1963, and reread it from time to time. Doing so produces most curious feelings, like going through a timewarp of some kind.

TLT is a "Golden Oldie". Published in 1955, it is one of the huge number of "post nuclear war" stories that came out in that nervous era, but is head and shoulders above the bulk of them. It's theme, unique in sf as far as I know, is a future world in which the Amish (or at least a sect more or less "cloned" from them) have taken over America.

The idea that, in the aftermath of holocaust, the people might turn against science and technology, has of course been used by others, notably Walter M Miller in "A Canticle For Leibowitz". But TLT takes a subtly different angle. The New Mennonites are not opposed to education, their children are literate, and they seem to live at an early 19th century level, just pre-railroad. It isn't a Dark Age in the usual sense. But there are strict limits. No electricity, industry or anything high tech. Riverboats are allowed to have simple engines, but land transport stops at the horse and buggy. Above all, the US Constitution has been amended to forbid the existence of any city or town above 2000 people.

The central characters are two teenage boys in a New Mennonite community in Ohio. Len Colter (14) and his slightly older cousin, Esau. They discover a radio set, belonging to a passing trader, and realise that he comes from "Bartorstown", a secret society out west conspiring to bring back the bad old days, association with which can result in whipping at best, instant lynching at worst.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All done before but losing nothing for it 9 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Post Nuclear incident, Religion has taken over. Read this "story" many times before but this version is still worth a read,
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great "Golden Oldie" of the way the future was. 24 Nov 2007
By M. W. Stone - Published on Amazon.com
It's fascinating to see how some sf novels stand the test of time and others don't. I still have my old Mayflower pb of "The Long Tomorrow" which I purchased as a teenager c1963, and reread it from time to time. Doing so produces most curious feelings, like going through a timewarp of some kind.

TLT is a "Golden Oldie". Published in 1955, it is one of the huge number of "post nuclear war" stories that came out in that nervous era, but is head and shoulders above the bulk of them. It's theme, unique in sf as far as I know, is a future world in which the Amish (or at least a sect more or less "cloned" from them) have taken over America.

The idea that, in the aftermath of holocaust, the people might turn against science and technology, has of course been used by others, notably Walter M Miller in "A Canticle For Leibowitz". But TLT takes a subtly different angle. The New Mennonites are not opposed to education, their children are literate, and they seem to live at an early 19th century level, just pre-railroad. It isn't a Dark Age in the usual sense. But there are strict limits. No electricity, industry or anything high tech. Riverboats are allowed to have simple engines, but land transport stops at the horse and buggy. Above all, the US Constitution has been amended to forbid the existence of any city or town above 2000 people.

The central characters are two teenage boys in a New Mennonite community in Ohio. Len Colter (14) and his slightly older cousin, Esau. They discover a radio set, belonging to a passing trader, and realise that he comes from "Bartorstown", a secret society out west conspiring to bring back the bad old days, association - real or alleged - with which can result in whipping at best, instant lynching at worst. Fascinated by it (and, in Len's case, by their grandmother's wistful recollections of before the war) they seek to know more. This leads to their having to flee from home, and set out on a quest to get to Bartorstown. This quest covers several years and forms the middle third or so of the book.

On arrival, they are in for a mighty shock. These people are the custodians of the last surviving nuclear reactor, and are seeking a way to neutralise atomic bombs, so the power of the atom can be safely used without another catastrophe. This forces the sensitive Len (by now more or less adult) into a crisis of conscience. Is this a wise path to take, or were his elders right all along? The last part of the book is about him coming to terms with this question.

Perhaps my strongest reaction, on going back to it, is surprise at finding the Amish (on whom the New Mennonites are explicitly modelled) cast as the Bad Guys. This, I suspect, would be out of the question today. If their treatment by Hollywood ("Witness", "Harvest of Fire" etc) is anything to go by, they are about the most popular ethnic minority in America. To chide them for holding up "progress" would be almost unthinkable.

The book shows its age in other ways too, notably its simple 1950s faith in technology. It's now some 80 years since World War III, yet the group at Bartorstown are perfectly happy living next to a prewar nuclear reactor. Even those who for various reasons aren't happy with it don't seem to fear any physical danger, save of course from the neighbours if they ever find out. These days, I suspect few would be keen to live even near an eight year old one. Yet Bartorstown has lasted three generations without even a Three Mile Island, let alone a Chernobyl. Remarkable workmanship.

Even the nuclear war itself seems to have left remarkably little damage in its wake, with no deformed babies, no cancer, etc, while Len's grandmother, who experienced the war as a child, has lived to a ripe old age. The only lasting harm seems to have been psychological. Nor does anyone see a problem about restoring civilisation in a world where the oilfields are probably mostly drained. It is just assumed that such things can be got round. This is the outlook of a different era from today.

Ditto for the people. There are some who'd rather not be living there, but after eight decades in a country hostile to all it stands for, Bartorstown still hasn't been betrayed or detected. Could anyone really keep the lid on for so long? Quibble, quibble, Mike.

In short, TLT is a remarkable glimpse into "The way the future was" as of 50 years ago. If it were written today, I suspect the Mennonites would be definitely the guys in white hats, and the young heroes would not merely get out of Bartorstown, but do their best not to travel downwind of it any more than they absolutely had to. This said, however, it is beautifully written, and one of the best books of its kind. Read it as an sf "period piece" and you won't be sorry.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Read - Well Worth It 15 Aug 2005
By Tracy Rounds - Published on Amazon.com
Leigh Brackett wrote this interesting sci fi thriller after moving to Ohio, and in Ohio it begins, two generations after the Destruction, a global annhilation by nuclear holocaust. Fear predominates the culture and identity of every individual and it is the fight against the fear of knowledge, that most dreaded, that Len Coulter wages along with his cousin, Esau. A believable piece of fiction for a book written over 60 years ago which is thoroughly relevant to the present-day culture of fear.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An early vision of America after a nuclear war 17 Aug 2012
By TChris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Despite its acclaim as an early vision of America after a nuclear war, The Long Tomorrow doesn't have the same impact as the best examples of post-apocalyptic fiction. Leigh Brackett's 1955 novel nonetheless deserves its status as a science fiction "classic," albeit more for the message it delivers than for the quality of the story it tells.

After the war, cities are widely regarded as a source of wickedness, although Len Colter's grandmother remembers them with fondness, as places with electricity and indoor plumbing, supermarkets and movie theaters. The people best equipped to survive the annihilation aren't city dwellers but those who are accustomed to living a simple rural life. The Mennonites have multiplied, a trend that is enhanced by a constitutional amendment prohibiting cities of more than one thousand residents. The religious values that inform the Mennonite leaders also (not so coincidentally) work to their economic advantage. The Mennonites, however, have little use for members of another fast-growing religion, the fire-and-brimstone fundamentalists who preach hatred and urge that sinners (including those who advocate urban growth) be subjected to the usual range of biblical torments, including death by stoning.

Len has a rebellious instinct that no amount of whipping will extinguish. His desire for knowledge, his will to know what exists in the world beyond the village limits, might be sinful -- the sin of pride, his father tells him -- but Len is willing to accept damnation for the sake of learning the truth. After his grandmother explains that, before the war, the government built a town in the west called Bartorstown, populated with scientists dedicated to a secret project, Len resolves to find it, hoping it will be the source of enlightenment he craves. Thus Len and his cousin Esau begin a journey across a post-apocalyptic landscape. The truth about Bartorstown comes as a surprise and the story takes an interesting turn as it nears the end.

Like many dystopian tales, The Long Tomorrow has a cautionary message. This one is about the evils of intolerance and thought-control, the value of independent thinking. The fear of cities expressed in Brackett's novel is really a fear of progressive thinking, a belief that life was better (in modern terms, that "family values" were stronger) in the good old days. Knowledge is condemned because it was misused; a retreat from knowledge is seen as the path to salvation. Still, as Len comes to realize, even if we can be cleansed of sin (as his people believe), we can never be cleansed of knowledge -- "there is no mystical escape from it." Deliberate ignorance is not the antidote to dangerous knowledge; wisdom is. Perhaps themes that were compelling in 1955 now seem dated, but the argument that there should be limits to knowledge, particularly when knowledge contradicts biblical teachings, retains a twenty-first century following. The argument that cities were destroyed in a nuclear war because they were "sinful" finds echoes in similar remarks made about New Orleans after Katrina.

I've never been as appreciative of Brackett's prose as some sf fans. She was a perfectly capable writer, but (at least to me) her style is no more "literary" than that of many other well-recognized sf writers of her era. Still, her writing becomes more resonant as the story progresses. On occasion the novel has the flavor of a western; at other times there's a hint of Huckleberry Finn, although Huck's trip down the Mississippi is vastly more eventful than Len's underwhelming voyage along the Ohio River. Other "message" novels manage more subtlety than this one. Although The Long Tomorrow doesn't make it into my personal canon of cherished sf novels from the 1950s, it endures as an enjoyable read.
14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some books should never go out of print! 31 May 2000
By Peter Dykhuis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is simply amazing. If you are like me and enjoy well-written post-apocalyptic yarns then this is going to be quick favorite. There has been a backlash and the United States has turned its back to technology and all of its citizens live a rural Amish type lifestyle. Or have they? Solid writing and great concept. To bad this winner is out of print.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Missing from library 5 Feb 2014
By Stanley Cook - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
a classic that my library was missing and that every library should have. this is the type of book that post-apocalyptic readers should read so they can realize where every other book got their ideas.
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