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.
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.