#22 – Nuclear War

#23 – Overpopulation and Environmental Collapse A Reader's History of Science Fiction

In the 60s and 70s, awareness of environmental issues was rising, and that was reflected in the New Wave of science fiction. Of particular note were overpopulation and pollution (leading to widespread environmental collapse). In this episode, we explore the highlights of this subgenre. Book recommendation: Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner Other books mentioned: Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi Paolo Bacigalupi interview on The Windup Girl
  1. #23 – Overpopulation and Environmental Collapse
  2. #22 – Nuclear War
  3. #21 – Apocalypse How?
  4. Writer's History #1 – Max Hawthorne Interview
  5. #20 – Philip K. Dick

The Cold War brought with it new tales of nuclear war in science fiction, both in the early days of the 50s and 60s, and later, when fears began to rise again. In this episode, we look at the highlights of these stories and how they vary widely in how they address the consequences of nuclear war.

Book recommendation: Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank.

The Office of Technology Assessment’s 1979 nuclear war study.

Other works mentioned:
On the Beach by Nevil Shute (un-recommended)
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
Dr. Strangelove
Fail Safe
The
Postman by David Brin
The Day After
WarGames

Check out this episode!

About Alex R. Howe

I'm a full-time astrophysicist and a part-time science fiction writer.
This entry was posted in A Reader's History of Science Fiction and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to #22 – Nuclear War

  1. Tom Bridgman says:

    Another thoughtful (but a little depressing) episode.
    I remember “The Day After” when it was first broadcast. In the same vein, but not really sci-fi was “Special Bulletin”, a enactment of news coverage of nuclear terrorists with a bomb in the harbor of Charleston, SC. At the time I lived about 10 miles from ground zero in the movie.
    The Jack D. Ripper character in “Dr. Strangelove” is (loosely?) based on Curtis LeMay, who developed much of the U.S. air strategy. Malcolm Gladwell devoted four episodes to LeMay in Season 5 of his “Revisionist History” podcast.

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