What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

442 views
SOLVED: Adult Fiction > SOLVED. YA book 80s dystopian after nuclear war *spoilers ahead* [s]

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Debra (new)

Debra Firestone | 121 comments I am trying to find the title of this book. Excerpts from the book were in my high school English textbook. 30 years later, I can still recall vivid details of the story.

It starts out with a teenage boy looking with someone trying to find food/supplies. It is mentioned that you do not eat dented "G-d" food because it means it will make you sick and die (you surmise from the descriptions he's talking about canned goods).

They go on to talk about wild packs of dogs and his father tells him how the "G-ds" used to keep the dogs as pets.

Everyone knows not to go near the "G-ds" cities because you get sick (sickness when described sounds like radiation poisoning).

The boy eventually has to go to one of the "G-ds" cities, why I don't remember. When he gets in there, he goes up in a building and into a room. There he finds faucets labled "hot" and "cold." He wonders about the strange magic the "Gods" must have had to be able to control the temperature.

He then sees a "G-d" looking out the window. It is an adult male whose skin over time has become leathery. The description is as if somehow the remains are mummified in a position. The boy realizes that the "G-ds" were not "G-ds" at all, but just people and he feels pity for the man at the window, wondering what the man's thoughts were as his world was destroyed around him.

As I said, I only read this story for English class, yet, all these years later, the scenes still haunt me. Hopefully, someone else has read the actual book and will recognize it :)


message 3: by Debra (new)

Debra Firestone | 121 comments Etta.n wrote: "Queen City Jazz??"

Thank you for the suggestion, but there was no nanotech in the story.


message 4: by Daphne (new)

Daphne | 245 comments It reminds me a great deal of "By the Waters of Babylon" by Stephen Vincent Benét. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/By_the_... That's just a short story, not a whole novel though.


message 5: by Debra (new)

Debra Firestone | 121 comments Daphne wrote: "It reminds me a great deal of "By the Waters of Babylon" by Stephen Vincent Benét. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/By_the_... That's just a short story, not a whole novel..."

That's it!!!! It's actually sold as a short book on Amazon. I just remember my teacher saying it was part of a larger text. Thank you so much!!!


message 6: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (new)

Lobstergirl | 38140 comments Mod
Just to clarify, wikipedia says:

"Benét wrote the story in response to the April 25, 1937 bombing of Guernica, in which Fascist military forces destroyed the majority of the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.[5] This story took place before the public knowledge of nuclear weapons, but Benét's description of "The Great Burning" is similar to later descriptions of the effects of the atomic bombings at Nagasaki and Hiroshima. His "deadly mist" and "fire falling from the sky" seem eerily prescient of the descriptions of the aftermath of nuclear blasts. However, the "deadly mist" may also be a reference to chemical weapons in World War I, particularly mustard gas, a feared weapon of war that Benét's generation was very familiar with. The story was written in 1937, two years before the Manhattan Project started, and eight years before there was widespread public knowledge of the project."


message 7: by Debra (new)

Debra Firestone | 121 comments Lobstergirl wrote: "Just to clarify, wikipedia says:

"Benét wrote the story in response to the April 25, 1937 bombing of Guernica, in which Fascist military forces destroyed the majority of the Basque town of Guernic..."
Hi, I wrote moderator Karen to let her know it was solved, I wasn't sure if there was a certain moderator we were to contact, so I just wrote the first one listed on the group that the topic was solved. I'm so glad it was found :)


message 8: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (new)

Lobstergirl | 38140 comments Mod
No Debra, you're fine. A mod will see that a thread is solved and move it to the appropriate folder. I was just commenting because it sounded like you were looking for a post-nuclear holocaust book but there had not been any nuclear weapons invented yet when the story was published. More a comment for my own personal interest.


message 9: by Debra (last edited Jan 03, 2018 06:30PM) (new)

Debra Firestone | 121 comments Lobstergirl wrote: "No Debra, you're fine. A mod will see that a thread is solved and move it to the appropriate folder. I was just commenting because it sounded like you were looking for a post-nuclear holocaust book..."

The comment made sense. I just wanted to make sure I did the right thing in listing the topic as "solved."

As a teen in the 80's, I "assumed" that it was post nuclear war because that's where our heads were at in that time. It will be interesting re-reading the story with the new knowledge about the author and his motivation.


back to top

unread topics | mark unread


Books mentioned in this topic

Queen City Jazz (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Stephen Vincent Benét (other topics)