is a novel by Whitley Strieber and James Kunetka. It was first published in 1984 and deals with slightly fictionalized versions of the authors
traveling across the United States after a nuclear war to conduct a series of studies and research. Written in the first person, the book is meant to give the impression of what a postwar future would be like.
Notable for its abundance of AuthorTracts
and containing numerous documents from the world it depicts
. The book was supposed to be the start of a series
, but subsequent projects were abandoned so one of the two authors could write books about his personal encounters with aliens.
This book provides examples of :
- After the End: In the US (And the Soviet Union) people are trying to survive in the aftermath of a "limited" nuclear war.
- "Honorary" Alternate History: Even though the book was set nine years in the future of when it was published time has marched on.
- Apocalypse How: Class0 Regional/Societal Disruption
- Apocalypse Wow: Whitley Streiber's Author Avatar relates his first hand experience of the war in New York at the beginning of the story.
- Arab-Israeli Conflict: One of the few bits of news from outside the US is that the Arabs and Israelis have had another war. The details aren't given, but the Arab nations are said to be Israeli puppet states, implying that Israel wiped the floor with the Arabs.
- Crapsack World: About a third of the US (and possibly more of Soviet) people were killed in the war and the aftermath, if you are not from California you are an illegal alien, one of the main characters is triaged (barred from medical treatment), etc.
- Deus Angst Machina: Due to the "limited" aspect of the war, only three US cities are directly nuked: Washington DC, New York, and San Antonio, TX. The only real reason why is that James Kunetka is from San Antonio.
- Divided States of America / Fallen States of America: California has closed its borders, the Southwest has become Aztlan and much of the Eastern US is uninhabitable.
- Other parts of the US are implied to be slowly breaking away - Texas has its own currency (backed by oil), and Washington and Oregon have a joint legislature.
- Self-Insert Fic
- Unexpected Successor: The Under Secretary of the Treasury ends up being the self-described caretaker President.
- World War III: The Soviets start it. Inverted in that actually the Soviets respond to the US starting to deploy Spiderweb, a space based ABM system.
- Write Who You Know: The main characters are fictionalized versions of the authors.