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The Long Tomorrow

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  949 ratings  ·  100 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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F.R.
Reading this (virtually) back to back with the excellent ‘Station Eleven’, it struck me that in an end of the world scenario, religion really isn’t your friend. The religious types encountered across both books are likely to either stone you or forcibly marry you. Okay, those are the very extremes, but even the milder examples would be insane zealots in any other type of fiction. Now I’m an atheist to my bones, but even I think this a little strange. Surely there’s hope in religion. The word ‘fa ...more
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
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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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
Mel
This was very interesting. The first post nuclear holocaust book ever written and the only one I've read that had Mennonites! It was pretty spectacular in many ways, here was a woman, writing in the 50s about science vs religion and how religion was making America backwards! There were some rather dull sections in the middle and it was disappointing that nearly all the characters were male! But all was forgiven with this section, "I know now what lies across the land, the slow and heavy weight. ...more
fromcouchtomoon
Well-written '50s SF, with a post-apocalyptic, pastoral setting that brims with Cold War regrets about knowledge and technology. A controversial ending that keeps you guessing until the final page, but Len's decision is the only one that makes sense given Brackett's powerful theme: [redacted because find out for yourself].
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
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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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
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
Badseedgirl
The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett was one of those novels I was not sure what to write about when I set down to write this review. I knew I liked it, but had a hard time figuring out why I did. These early Sci-fi novels tend to be “gentle.” I don’t mean the story is gentle, because there is a horrific murder very early in this novel, but the story is written in a way that can be best described as soft.

The main character, Len, grows throughout this novel both physically and emotionally. The cho
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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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Artur Coelho
Um livro clássico, que aborda um temor muito em voga na FC golden age, especulando sobre um mundo pós-guerra nuclear. Brackett não segue o caminho dos monstros mutantes que se acotovelam nas ruínas radioactivas e dá-nos um futuro pós-apocalíptico quase idílico, de regresso à natureza num mundo que regrediu ao nível tecnológico do século XIX rural. Duas gerações após a guerra entre o ocidente e o leste, não parecem restar traços das ruínas e da radioactividade. A ruralidade deste mundo explica-se ...more
Vivian
I had no idea this was a novel from the 1950s, until I came to Goodreads to write my review. In many ways, it seems so contemporary, even thought the action is set after a nuclear war and the surviving population has reverted back to a pre-industrial society, of farms and small, very small cottage industries. Feeling restricted by their God-fearing new Mennonite farming community, Len and his cousin Esau run away, in search of the mythical "Bartorstown," encountering strangeness and distrust dur ...more
Bruce Baugh
A truly remarkable book, that gathers up the cliches of post-atomic war fiction already well laid down by the time Brackett wrote this in 1955, and tosses them all out in favor of a fresh look at a world after calamity. This is set eighty years after a global atomic war, and decades after the 30th Amendment to the US Constitution prohibited communities of more than one thousand people or two hundred buildings per square mile. That right there sets the tone: there's still a Constitution, and stil ...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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Michael
I enjoyed this old-school science fiction novel, but I'm knocking off one star because I think it was about 30 pages too long. In a not too distant future, mankind has survived a horrendous nuclear war that results in a ban on all technology. In the aftermath of the war, and the destruction of all modern cities, the country folk--Mennonites, Amish, other sects like that--have not only survived but risen to political and social prominence. Everything about the modern world--machines, electricity, ...more
Lisa
I chose to read The Long Tomorrow on impulse because I was surprised, when I heard about it a week or two ago, that I hadn't heard of it earlier. The author, Leigh Brackett, was known as the "Queen of Space Opera" and loved writing science fantasy when neither space operas nor science fantasy garnered much respect - or money. She also wrote the first draft of the script for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. To my chagrin, I had no idea that there were any women who worked on the script for Sta ...more
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.

Heather
READ FOR SCI-FI BOOK CLUB

The cover line shown in the thumbnail here reads: ..."comes awfully close to being a great work of science fiction." --The New York Times

OOOOF. What remarkably damning praise. A particularly odd choice for the cover, I thought. Then again, I think the Gray Lady is right in that this book is hardly science fiction. It's barely speculative fiction. It follows two religiously conservative young men on the cusp of adulthood. They know there is more to the world beyond the fi
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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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Frank
Written in 1955, this is the post-apoco novel that started it all. I picked it up because I'm interested in the history of genres and post-apocalyptic is one of my favorites. Unlike other science fiction novels, TLT does not show its age. Focusing on the lives of two young boyhood friends, the story follows them from their "idyllic" hometown to a legendary place called Barterstown where technology and free-thinking are still allowed.
As I said, the story is still fresh today because she doesn't
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Beth Riches
This was absolutely one of my favorite post-apocalypse books I've read so far.

In this take on it, all the major cities are destroyed in a nuclear war, and agrarian societies proliferate. The New Mennonites are one sect, and young Len Colter belongs to that particular tribe. Len is a little too curious for his own good and goes in search of the legendary Bartorstown.

There was much in this book concerning the forbidden fruit of knowledge. Those who ask too many questions are mistrusted and sometim
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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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Sarah
With some interesting themes and ideas, The Long Tomorrow is a post-apocalyptic novel which does not give reader any easy answers. Although it offers some food for thought, Leigh Brackett’s novel does not quite succeed in its execution and is ultimately less than the sum of its parts.

The Long Tomorrow is set in the aftermath of a nuclear war that took place in the 1950s. This nuclear war destroyed cities worldwide but left plenty of survivors behind. However, in the absence of technology, the s
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SF Masterworks Group: The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett 1 4 Jul 19, 2013 05:57AM  
  • A Wrinkle in the Skin
  • The Year of the Quiet Sun
  • Some Will Not Die
  • Greybeard
  • The Genocides
  • Limbo
  • A Mirror for Observers
  • Summer of the Apocalypse
  • When Worlds Collide (When Worlds Collide, #1)
  • Wolf and Iron
  • Ring Around the Sun
  • A Gift Upon the Shore
  • The World Ends in Hickory Hollow
  • Level 7
  • Last and First Men
  • Gather, Darkness!
  • Journey Beyond Tomorrow
  • The Embedding
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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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“Len Colter sat in the shade under the wall of the horse barn, eating pone and sweet butter and contemplating a sin.” 1 likes
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