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When the Cities Ended

The Long Tomorrow

By Leigh Brackett 

26 Oct, 2014

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

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The great war between the American-led allies and their enemies killed untold millions as cities burned across the planet. In the aftermath, victorious America resolved that the means to preventing another nuclear war was to prevent great concentrations of people. Accordingly, the 30th Amendment forbids communities of more than a thousand people and limits density to no more than two hundred buildings to the square mile. 

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The best of the Heinlein juveniles

Citizen of the Galaxy

By Robert A. Heinlein 

24 Oct, 2014

The Great Heinlein Juveniles (Plus The Other Two) Reread

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Some of this will come across as negative so I’d like to begin with Citizen of the Galaxy is in many ways the most ambitious of the juveniles and it was that ambition that put Heinlein’s blind-spots out where I could see them.” This could easily have been a much more straightforward, much less interesting space adventure book.

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Return to Hiroshima

Barefoot Gen

By Keiji Nakazawa 

22 Oct, 2014

Translation

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Like Masuji Ibuse, Keiji Nakazawa (19392012) was a native of Hiroshima. Unlike Ibuse, Nakazawa was in Hiroshima on August sixth, 1945 and while he and his mother survived the destruction of Hiroshima, his father, two sisters and younger brother died as a result of it. Nakazawa’s manga series Barefoot Gen is a thinly veiled autobiographical work, telling the story of the destruction of Hiroshima and the immediate aftermath from a small boy named Gen, just the same age the author was when Hiroshima was destroyed. 

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they rejoiced to find an enemy they could conquer at last.”

Walk to the End of the World

By Suzy McKee Charnas 

21 Oct, 2014

Rediscovery

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Sorry about the cover image. For some reason none of the nice images of the original Gene Szafran would let me save a copy. 

Rather like yesterday’s Canticle, Walk to the End of the World examines the Earth transformed by nuclear war – the Wasting – but where the mob in Canticle turned on the intelligentsia deemed responsible for nuclear weapons, the handful of high officials who survived the final war in their hidden Refuge decide that the true villains were not the men who finally pushed The Button, because that would mean accepting responsibility. Instead they decide to blame all who opposed them and so made that war inevitable: 

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The shark swam out to his deepest waters and brooded in the old clean currents. He was very hungry that season” 

A Canticle for Leibowitz

By Walter M. Miller, Jr 

20 Oct, 2014

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Walter M. Miller, Jr. was a respected and prolific author whose career as a published author was confined for the most part to the 1950s. Despite the comparative brevity for his career, he won two Hugo awards in that time, one for The Darfsteller” and one for the only novel he ever published while alive, A Canticle For Leibowitz. If modern audiences know Miller at all, it’s usually for this novel. 

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I am not going to explain how much of my courtship doctrine was based on this book and ones like it aside from admitting it was not a small fraction

On Thermonuclear War

By Herman Kahn 

19 Oct, 2014

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

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On Thermonuclear War came out in 1960, a time when a world without nuclear weapons was something a lot of people had actually grown up in, rather than a peculiar fantasy of a few idealistic deviates. The years between 1945 and 1960 had seen some breath-taking advances in technology but sadly the doctrines available remained comparatively crude. This book was Herman Kahn’s attempt to address this gap. Since the outcomes are distinguishable, the US should chose policies that selected for the least bad outcomes and the only way to do that was through rational analysis. 

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Trust the US to turn procuring weapons of mass destruction into something sordid

The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II

By Denise Kiernan 

18 Oct, 2014

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While accounts of the development of the atomic bomb will mention women like Lise Meitner and perhaps Ida Noddack in passing, for the most part the story of how the atomic bomb came to be is framed as a male one. In fact, there were were thousands of women, blue collar and white collar, involved in the Manhattan District. In Girls of Atomic City, author Denise Kiernan tries to cast a little light on groups generally consigned to the shadows.

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In which archaic sexism and racism provide unwelcome distraction from dubious physics

Time for the Stars

By Robert A. Heinlein 

17 Oct, 2014

The Great Heinlein Juveniles (Plus The Other Two) Reread

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1956’s Time for the Stars feels like a regression for Heinlein, a book that if I did not know when it was published I would have said was one of the earlier juveniles. It’s also oddly downbeat, in that the protagonist’s most significant contribution to the world is something he could have done at home, something that makes his other efforts almost pointless. 

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The deep things in science are not found because they are useful; they are found because they are possible to find.”

The Making of the Atomic Bomb

By Richard Rhodes 

16 Oct, 2014

Special Requests

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I am using the wrong cover for this because for some reason I cannot seem to save a copy of the image of the cover of the 25th Edition.

I am embarrassed to admit that despite the fact I have a collection of books on the theory of nuclear weapons, this is the first time I have ever read this impressive work. Although the author occasionally interrupts the narrative with issues quite irrelevant to the origin of nuclear weapons – peculiar objections to Extinction Level Events and other side issues – there’s a lot of detail in this book and it is well worth the trouble of hunting down. 

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