Patrick Gibson's Reviews > Level 7

Level 7 by Mordecai Roshwald
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May 11, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: the_apocalypse, science-fiction
Read from May 11 to June 14, 2011

I am so glad this novel is now available in e-book form. I read it in high school, loved it, and have wanted to read it again. I’m sure that beat up library copy was out of print even then. What? I just noticed it was published in 1960. No wonder it was in crappy condition and smelled of mildew. I am even more impressed the story feels so 2011ish.

The story is told in diary form, written by a missile technician only known as x-127. The story starts out as the solider x-127 and 250 other soldiers (men and women) head down deep into an underground bunker called Level 7. The bunker is an immense system of tunnels and rooms about 4000 ft underground. Room enough for the button pushers, engineers and scientist to continue our way of life after a nuclear holocaust strikes. The mood of the story is grim, as X-127 realizes that once he makes the descent down into Level 7, there is no turning back to the outside world. The government has deemed the soldiers in the bunker the saviors of our way of life. They have enough food, water, and air to last them 5 lifetimes.

Well, eventually it gets to a point where a war breaks out. There are not descriptions of nuclear explosions, or fiery death raining down on the populace's heads. Instead the author portrays the war through the eyes of radar technicians and button pushers who only see blips on radar screens and are told via a loudspeaker on what buttons to push.

After the totally destructive war, radiation spreads and wipes out life on the surface. A claustrophobic life in a bunker becomes stifling for X-127 has he watches and listens to his fellow soldiers start to loose it in a "not so" hermetically sealed bunker.
This story is very sad, and chilling. The last paragraph of the story has to be the most riveting.
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