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Plot Summer

          The mutual fear and loathing shared by the United States and the Soviet Union during the worst years of the Cold War; but the insanity of nuclear proliferation still had the power to infect the everyday lives of ordinary people. The appalling prospect of a sudden, irreversible wave of radioactive death was as omnipresent as the sky, and as difficult to face as the sun.

Alas Babylon - Image           Like any small town in America in the late 1950s, this quite river community of Fort Repose, Florida found ways to ignore the threat most of the time. Randy Bragg, the languid young descendant of the town's founder who is the main character of this novel and the community persisted in an easy confidence that nuclear war couldn't really happen. One day, Mark's cable includes a code phrase used by the brothers since childhood to indicate imminent disaster: "Alas, Babylon." Even as the news on the radio always bad was became alarming. Randy correctly concludes that nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union is in fact imminent, "The Day" arrives! All at once the 20th century comes crashing down, and the nightmare of survival begins.

          Though pissed off to the coming Apocalypse by his brother in the Air Force, Randy still has no idea how to meet the crisis. He can only be thankful for the realization, slow in coming to most of his neighbors and friends, that he must discard his casual approach to life and reinvent himself, or die. The abrasion of the American way of life escalates before his eyes: food vanishes, gasoline becomes gold, money is worthless paper, and banks are not significant. Abandoned pets start to act like wild animals, vicious cutthroats spring up on the roads, and nearby towns become sinkholes of disease and poverty. Contact with the outside world dwindles to nothing. With that isolation comes the need to hold together the only society left to them: Fort Repose.