A lacerating Swiftian satire on nuclear war.
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James Morrow had published SF novels before, but This Is the Way the World Ends (1986) reached a new level of intensity, tackling World War III horrors with ultra-black magic realism plus a touch of Lewis Carroll. Like George Orwell's 1984, it still packs a grim punch although history took another course.
As the Cold War heats up, Americans frantically buy "scopas suits"(Self-COntained Post-Attack Survival) as protection against nukes. Tombstone engraver George Paxton can't afford one for his young daughter, until a strange old woman commissions epitaphs for her "parents" and pays by directing him to a magic shop where the scopas suit costs only his signature--acknowledging responsibility for any nuclear war. Soon we realise George's improvised epitaphs are for Eve, Adam and everyone:
She was better than she knew. He never found out what he was doing here.
Whimsy and social satire give way to nightmare as the missiles fall, scopas suits prove useless, and post-nuclear hell is painted in stomach-churning detail: flashburns, melted eyes, shattered people begging for death.
George, though, is rescued. As one of six who signed the McMurdo Sound Agreement, he must stand trial in Antarctica for complicity in murdering humanity. Prosecution, defenders, judges and police are the "unadmitted", unborn future generations now denied real life, whose sheer rage has won them temporary existence. Old disarmament and deterrence arguments, wittily rehashed in the Nuremberg-like court, seem all too different after the worst has happened. This queasy tragicomedy isn't easily forgotten. --David LangfordBook Description:
A lacerating Swiftian satire on nuclear war, like 1984 before it, THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS stands as a stark warning of the path history so easily might have taken - and still could ...
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Book Description Random House New Zealand Ltd 21/07/1988, 1988. Book Condition: used-good. - GREAT BOOK IN GOOD OR BETTER CONDITION, NORMALLY SENT SAME DAY FROM WAREHOUSE. Bookseller Inventory # 7719-9780099567509
Book Description Random House New Zealand Ltd. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. Book has some visible wear on the binding, cover, pages. Bookseller Inventory # G0099567504I3N00
Book Description Random House New Zealand Ltd 21/07/1988, 1988. Book Condition: Good. Will be shipped promptly from UK warehouse. Book is in good condition with no missing pages, no damage or soiling and tight spine. There may be some dog-eared pages showing previous use but overall a great book. Bookseller Inventory # 9053-9780099567509
Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: Fair. Bookseller Inventory # PL01352969B
Book Description Legend, 1987. Paperback. Book Condition: near very good trade paperback. 1st printing. A lacerating Swiftian satire on nuclear war. Bookseller Inventory # FD14.301