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The Long Tomorrow

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  740 ratings  ·  80 reviews
One of the original novels of post-nuclear holocaust America, The Long Tomorrow is considered by many to be one of the finest science fiction novels ever written on the subject. The story has inspired generations of new writers and is still as mesmerizing today as when it was originally written.

Len and Esau are young cousins living decades after a nuclear war has destroye
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ebook, 0 pages
Published July 20th 2012 by Smashwords Edition (first published 1955)
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Charles Dee Mitchell
By all accounts I've read, Brackett's 1955 novel is the first, post-nuclear holocaust novel written in the U.S. It takes place around a century after what survivors call "The Destruction." Cities across the globe were bomb targets and they now exist as unvisited ruins, demonized as the symbol of the hubris that brought about the attacks. Brackett's brilliant and genuinely creepy innovation --although I guess it's not really an innovation if it is the first book of what is now a well-worked genre ...more
James Renner
Every once in a while, you visit a used bookstore and happen across a forgotten classic. In May, I drove through the little town of Kinsman, Ohio, on my way to Pymatuning to sit in a cabin and finish a novel that won't be published for some time. A used bookstore has slowly eaten away most of the other businesses in town and now occupies several storefronts around a convenience store/soda stand. Near the register I noticed a shelf devoted to an author I'd never heard of. Turns out Leigh Brackett ...more
Katie
I needed this to progress and end in a certain way, and it let me down. Forgive me because I am about to be dramatic. It obliterated my hopes and dreams. I want to believe that dreams come true, and for me this book did not send that message...It told me that humans are eternally driven toward what they don't have and what they can't see, something "better." It questions what "better" really is, does a better place really exist or is this it? It smacks you in the face with the reality that this ...more
Shane Nixon
I find it interesting that all the best post apocalyptic books were written more than 50 years ago. The Long Tomorrow is no exception. It is a great book. Some of it feels familiar. Like it has been done before. But you realise that if you've read something like this before it was probably one of the ones that came later that was inspired by this book. Even though The Long Tomorrow was first published almost 60 years ago it doesn't feel dated or "quaint", possibly because it reads like a period ...more
Linda Robinson
Reading this book took some sleuthing. I just finished reading Blackout: World War II and the Origins of Film Noir. Chinen Biesen shared backstory on The Big Sleep, a Howard Hawks production with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, based on a novel by Raymond Chandler. The movie has four writing credits. Hawks read a crime story written by Leigh Brackett, and hired the author through an agent. When Brackett called Hawks to discuss the screenplay, Hawks was dismayed to find out she was a woman. I ...more
Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
In the end, this is very much a book of its time. The premise is that we are in a society that has grown out of the nuclear holocaust. Cities and technology have largely been banned and the US consists largely of bible-bashing theocracies which control the people. Somewhere, however, the remnants of a free-thinking, technological society are believed to exist and our heroes, two young boys, are determined to find it.
Initially I was dismayed by the lack of imagination the author displayed - thing
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Tony
THE LONG TOMORROW. (1955). Leigh Brackett. ****.
This is yet another selection included in the Library of America’s “American Science Fiction 1953-1956.” It is a well-plotted and well-paced tale of post-Apocalyptic America, where it is now against the law to have cities that exceed certain numbers of buildings or certain numbers of people. Dispersion has become the rule. There are no large cities left after the nuclear storm. We meet two cousins, Len and Esau Coulter. They both live on farms in
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Chris
I read this book a few years ago for a post-apocalyptic lit class and whether it was because I read it in one day or wasn't paying much attention, I really didn't like it. However, after stumbling upon it while cleaning out my closet I decided to give it another try. And after rereading it, I can say that my opinion of it has vastly improved.

The story takes place in the United States several decades after a nuclear war destroyed most of the cities in the country. The fear of further attacks led
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Karl Smithe
What is it that makes a science fiction book a 3 a 4 or a 5? Is science fiction mere literature? Is it the quality of writing that matters? So many people talk about science fiction as though the science does not matter.

Post nuclear war may be an old them but there are still lots mor nuclear weapons than there were when this book was written. We are not out of the woods yet. Yeah the computer in the story is primitive and shows how dated it it, but that is not what it is about. It says things ab
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Scott Phillips
Some have said this is the first post-atomic holocaust sci-fi story. Judging by the blurb on the back of the first printing of the paperback in 1955, the year it was published, I'm not so sure:

"You may think you are tired of prophecies of the decay of civilization after a destruction A-war; but let me assure you that Leigh Brackett has taken this subject and made it sparkling fresh by the warmth and perception of her writing"
— H. H. Holmes, New York Herlad-Tribune

At any rate, it's the earliest
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Alison
The only real science-fiction-y aspect of the novel is the fact that it takes place in the future, after a World War III nuclear holocaust has destroyed all the cities in the world. After this catastrophic event, the government has outlawed cities (too much of a target) and pretty much everyone has taken to being a New Mennonite and living just like the Amish do today. Part of the new religion preaches the comfort of being ignorant, thus keeping people from wanting to invent another nuclear bomb ...more
David Ivory
This is a great book. Outstanding characterisation that is impossible to tease away from the plot. The descriptions of the environment and the cultures that in habit this agrarian world are incredibly evocative - I still feel the dust and grime of the journey the characters take heading west across the continent.

The only off note is not really justifiably a fault even if I choose to make it so - I was forever hoping that the female characters would pop out to be more than one note prods to push
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Corey Lynn Fayman
An older bit of sci-fi that holds up well. After the Apocalypse, cities are banned and only towns survive, mostly run by Quakers and Mennonites. Two teen-age boys make a break from their town and search for Bartorstown, where frowned-upon technology comes from.

A well-done philosophical sci-fi (though there's plenty of action) contrasting the inevitable issues of too much power vs too much control.

Amy
Setting/World Building: 5/5
Main Character: 4/5
Other Characters: 4/5
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Triggering/Issues: 3/5 (General sexism, also some stuff that verges a tiny bit on sexual harassment)

AVERAGED TOTAL: 4.1 out of 5, rounded to 4.

So this book is essentially the first ever nuclear apocalypse dystopian novel! It was written in 1955 (!) and importantly, was written by a woman! Now I'll be honest, the fact that it was written by a woman was a large part of why I decided to read this book. I have
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Michael Scott
The Long Tomorrow is a post-apocalyptic story by Leigh Bracket--she of Star Wars Empire Strikes Back renown--, about the consequences and necessity of technology in everyday life. Overall, a good book, in which the reasonable plot, strong main character, and unusual writing compensate for the preaching tone, the lacklustre secondary characters, and the weak sci.

The plot: Following a nuclear war that wiped out cities and much of the supply network feeding them, America (of course the winners of
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Rob Mason
So I’m a little delayed in getting my comments down for The Long Tomorrow and they may suffer as a result, but caveat aside here goes. In general, I though the book was okay. It was not something I felt like I wasted time reading, but it also was not something I felt should be a classic on everyone’s to-read list.

The pace was fairly fast and the book reminded me of more modern (well say 70s and 80s sci-fi) than some of the previous “sci-fi classics” I have read. Well, it reminded me in writing s
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Jim
I found it a challenge to approach this book on its own terms.

This was partly due to my expectations. I've read several of Leigh Brackett's planetary romance tales, and I know her screenwriting for Bogart films and John Wayne westerns. So, I kept thinking that this book would feature a tough, cocksure, well-seasoned, hero who uses a mixture of violence and bravado to solve all problems. But, this post-apocalyptic coming of age-tale about a conflicted and (at least initially) relatively passive
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John Defrog
I’ve never read Brackett before, though of course I’ve seen her screenplay work (The Big Sleep, The Empire Strikes Back), and I was aware of her status as a classic SF writer. Some of her stuff has been showing up in print again, and I decided to give this a try: her post-apocalyptic novel in which the cities have been destroyed by atom bombs and religious groups like the Amish and Mennonites take control because they’re already equipped to live off the land without technology. The USA becomes a ...more
Scrittevolmente
Oggi recensisco per voi un vecchio classico della fantascienza, ossia Bartorstown di Leigh Brackett.
Ho deciso di leggere Bartorstown perché era citato di striscio in uno dei blog letterari che seguo.
A onor del vero l’autore diceva che il libro era carino ma non un capolavoro, in ogni caso mi sono proposto di leggerlo perché possedeva 3 caratteristiche che mi rendono un libro estremamente appetibile: parla di un futuro post-atomico (e io sono feticista di queste ambientazioni), ha una componente
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Chris
In post-holocaust America, technology is non-existent, having been blamed for the nuclear war which wrecked the world. Technology is actively opposed, set in stone by the 30th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; even cities are banned, with population limits set and rigorously enforced by neighboring villages. Fire-and-brimstone religion has come to dominate the countryside, with traveling old-tyme religion preachers roving the countryside to heap Hell’s damnation upon the wicked dream of techno ...more
Amanda Caldwell
I feel misled. I read this book when looking for books to put on my dystopia/apocalypse reading list. I gathered about ten books and I'm almost done reading through them (three to go now). I came across this book when I typed in "books about nuclear holocaust" on Google and I found a blog with a list of the bloggers favorites. I added two from his list, this one and A Gift Upon the Shore. Both of these are really out of my typical reading spectrum as they are older books (this one says it was co ...more
D.M. Dutcher
In the future, a nuclear holocaust has devastated the USA. The survivors, mostly from religious movements like the Amish and Mennonites, pass laws restricting technology, and making cities unable to grow past 1,000 people. Two boys chafe at this, and try to find a mythical town where reason still lives.

It's a despairing book, in a way.

You see, the easy reading is science good, religion bad. Brackett doesn't make that easy, however, and the one thing that comes across is that the neo-luddites hav
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Mark



I recently read (reread) Leigh Brackett’s 1955 novel, The Long Tomorrow. In a nutshell, this is a thoroughly underappreciated classic that ought to have the same attention and regard as other social commentary novels of around that period. Given the political landscape today, it is remarkably trenchant.

The novel follows Len Coulter, who we meet at a large county fair near his home somewhere in Pennsylvania, in a country completely altered after a world war that left the cities in ruins and the o
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Jessica Strider
Pros: good writing, realistic extrapolation of the aftermath of a nuclear war

Cons: boring at times, Len becomes increasingly hard to relate to

Len and Esau are cousins growing up in the New Mennonite Community of Piper's Run a hundred years after the atomic war that destroyed the United States. The Thirtieth Ammendment states that no cities beyond a certain size are allowed to be built and the country has splintered into a variety of religious farmers and traders.

After witnessing a stoning, the b
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Edward McFadden
Having recently read Earth Abides and Alas, Babylon, The Long Tomorrow fell a bit flat for me. This is a good book, but when put next to the greats, it falls a little short. The concept is cool, and I really liked how Brackett drew his characters. I found the story to be very realistic, and the writing was solid. However, the ending is a little predicable, and I didn’t like the second half of the book as much as the first half. Still worth a read, however, and I think if I had read this one befo ...more
Edward Davies
This book does nothing futuristic in its vision of a future where technology has been left in the past to avoid past mistakes. The characters have troubles outside of the obvious, and their journey to discover a secret town that possesses technology and the hope for a future similar to that left behind manages to be appealing while also acting as a warning to those that might wish to destroy the world around them by misusing their gifts. A solid tale that leaves us with a distinct feeling of amb ...more
Alison
I read this last year, and have been trying to review it since. I don't know quite how to explain why it is a massively five star book for me. There are flaws - in particular the female characters are forgettable and/or pathetic, which is definitely disturbing coming from a female author. The ending is not as satisfying as I would have liked either. But oh, the world Brackett creates - it is incredible. This is such a fascinating post-apocalyptic scenario, with a return to non technological livi ...more
Terry
This is the first [so I heard on NPR] 'post-atomic war' sci-fi story. Published in 1955, it tells the story of Len, a young man who escapes his New Mennonite village in Pennsylvania in search of the mythical Barterstown. The story begins 80 years after the Destruction. Only Gran--Len's grandmother--was alive before the Destruction. The Mennonites, with no dependence upon electicity or motorized equipment, were those who survived the Destruction. The New Mennonites, were those who survived the de ...more
Sylvie
Comment ai-je fait pour ne pas avoir lu ce livre avant ? Parce que j'ai lu tout ce qu'on peut trouver de Leigh Brackett plusieurs fois et qu'en français, on le trouve uniquement en CLA. Donc, il y a eu des bombes sur les villes des usa, lesquels en sont revenus plus ou moins au dix-huitième siècle, agrémenté de lois interdisant la construction de villes au-delà de mille habitants. Len et Esau, deux adolescent vivant dans une communauté de New Mennonites, fascinés par le peu qu'ils savent du pass ...more
Luke
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SF Masterworks Group: The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett 1 4 Jul 19, 2013 05:57AM  
  • The Year of the Quiet Sun
  • Some Will Not Die
  • Greybeard
  • The Genocides
  • The Death of Grass
  • Ring Around the Sun
  • Level 7
  • A Mirror for Observers
  • When Worlds Collide (When Worlds Collide, #1)
  • Limbo
  • Summer of the Apocalypse
  • The Embedding
  • Malevil
  • Venus Plus X
  • A Gift Upon the Shore
  • Journey Beyond Tomorrow
  • Wolf and Iron
  • Gather, Darkness!
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Leigh Brackett was born on December 7, 1915 in Los Angeles, and raised near Santa Monica. Having spent her youth as an athletic tom-boy - playing volleyball and reading stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs and H Rider Haggard - she began writing fantastic adventures of her own. Several of these early efforts were read by Henry Kuttner, who critiqued her stories and introduced her to the SF personalitie ...more
More about Leigh Brackett...
The Sword of Rhiannon The Ginger Star (The Book of Skaith, #1) The Hounds of Skaith (The Book of Skaith, #2) The Reavers of Skaith  (The Book of Skaith, #3) Sea-Kings of Mars and Otherworldly Stories

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“No city, no town, no community of more than one thousand people or two
hundred buildings to the square mile, shall be built or permitted to exist
anywhere in the United States of America.”
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“There's never been an act done since the beginning, from a kid stealing candy to a dictator committing genocide, that the person doing it didn't think he was fully justified. That's a mental trick called rationalizing, and it's done the human race more harm than anything else you can name.” 1 likes
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