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Beyond Armageddon
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 24 January 2010
This is a really enjoyable collection of short stories relating to the theme of the apocalypse (as the name might suggest). Most of the stories do not feature the event itself, with the majority of them (but not all, despite the title) occurring a long time after a catastrophic event that has destroyed civilisation. I'll try to briefly summarise each story without giving away too many details. The book also includes (a rather waffling) introduction at the beginning of the book and a brief commentary before each story. I though almost all of the stories were good and relevant to anyone with an interest in the genre.

1) 'Salvador' by Lucius Shepherd - Not really anything to do with armageddon, in my opinion. It's about a conflict in South America that draws parallels to the Vietnam War. The introduction states that it's the sort of event that could lead to a worldwide war, but I don't really see why it's relevant personally.

2) 'The Store of the Worlds' by Robert Sheckley - A man goes to a strange shop where people go to visit parallel universes where their wildest dreams are reality.

3) 'The Big Flash' by Norman Spinrad - A US rock band are manipulated into changing the public's perception of nuclear weapons so that the government have the option of using tactical nuclear weapons in a local conflict.

4) 'Lot' by Ward Moore - A man drives his family from LA in an attempt to avoid the chaos that follows a nuclear attack, but his family don't appreciate his efforts.

5) 'Day at the Beach' by Carol Emshwiller - A family decide to visit the beach despite the dangers involved.

6) 'The Wheel' by John Wyndham - A boy living in a superstitious society 'invents' the wheel, to their horror.

7) 'Jody after the War' by Edward Bryant - A couple talk about the problem involved in having children that could have genetic problems.

8) 'The Terminal Beach' by J G Ballard - A man goes slowly mad while wandering alone on an island previously used for nuclear testing. This is a weird one.

9) 'Tomorrow's Children' by Poul Anderson - The US military try to gather information on genetic abnormalities following a nuclear war. The story appears to have been extended and made into 'Twilight World'.

10) 'Heirs Apparent' by Robert Abernathy - A Russian communist encounters a settlement led by an American, who he thinks of as one of the enemy.

11) 'A Master of Babylon' by Edward Pangborn - A former concert pianist is the last man alive in Manhattan, living in a museum.

12) 'Game Preserve' by Rog Phillips - A member of a tribe realises that he is somehow different to the others, who have no memory or ability to formulate language.

13) 'By the Waters of Babylon' by Stephen V Benet - The son of a shamen takes a forbidden trip into some ruins to learn what they are. I've read this as a stand alone book.

14) 'There Will Come Soft Rains' by Ray Bradbury - A futuristic automated house continues to function even though its inhabitants have been killed in a nuclear explosion.

15) 'To the Chicago Abyss' by Ray Bradbury - A crazy old man gets into trouble by reminding people of things that existed before a disaster changed their way of life.

16) 'Lucifer' by Roger Zelazny - A man returns to a dead city to relive some memories.

17) 'Eastward Ho!' by William Tenn - A delegation from what's left of the Unites States of America visit a Native American chief, who leads one of the tribes that now dominate North America.

18) 'The Feast of Saint Janis' by Michael Swanwick - A Janis Joplin impersonator tours the US after it has been almost destroyed. She is joined by an African ambassidor who represents the now dominant global power.

19) '"If I Forget Thee, Oh Earth..."' by Arthur C Clarke - A man takes his son on a trip to remind him of something important.

20) 'A Boy and His Dog' by Harlan Ellison - Made into the famous cult film (with a similar story to the film, but with a better ending). A young man uses his telepathic dog to look for women in a wasteland. Quite a horrific story, but one of the best in the book.

21) 'My Life in the Jungle' by Jim Aikin - A former mathematics professor appears to have become a chimpanzee. Another weird story that isn't much to do with armageddon. I think it's not supposed to be taken literally, but that was all lost on me, sadly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
There is already a very complete review of the stories in this volume so I won't repeat that information. What I do want to say is that I found this publication to be very hard work, the writers are really the best in their fields but it is far from an easy read.

I found the stories to be a challenge to get to grips with & is some cases obtuse. Maybe you just need to be a clever spark to get it all but I would say to any prospective readers - bear in mind that this is mostly heavy-weight stuff & some of stories are very dated now.
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on 21 January 2014
I have read this book twice, the first time I read it I just enjoyed the book itself, the second time I read it I found things and ideas that I had missed the first time. A lovely book which I intend to keep and read again in a couple of years.
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