After Doomsday

After Doomsday is a science fiction novel by American writer Poul Anderson. It was published as a complete novel in 1962, having been serialized as The Day after Doomsday in the magazine Galaxy, between December 1961 and February 1962.

After Doomsday
After Doomsday book cover
Lurid and misleading cover picture from original paperback printing.
AuthorPoul Anderson
Cover artistRalph Brillhart
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
GenreScience fiction novel
PublisherBallantine Books
Publication date
1962
Media typePrint ( Paperback )
Pages128pp
Galaxy 196112
After Doomsday was serialized in Galaxy as The Day After Doomsday in 1961-62

Plot introduction

The novel explores events after the destruction of Earth, from the point of view of two returning starship crews, one entirely made up of men, the other consisting entirely of women.

The story is set in the early 21st century. Even as the Cold War dragged on, Earth has been suddenly contacted by the Monwaingi space-faring culture. The technology of interstellar travel is spreading across the galaxy, disrupting one culture after another. Monwaing itself was contacted only a few centuries previously. Another culture, the Vorlak, underwent a transition from a stable planetary society to a warlord culture similar to the Japanese Shogunate. The nomadic Kandemirian culture became a hegemonistic one similar to the Mongol Empire. Earth found itself on the fringes of a conflict between Kandemir and a coalition led by Vorlak, with Monwaing on the sidelines, actively supporting the anti-Kandemir forces.

There is a lingua franca called Uru, which bonds the diverse cultures together. The original speakers of the language may have also initiated the spread of interstellar technology, but the language seems to have outlived, or at least outstripped its originators.

In the 20 years since contact, several expeditions have set out, some in borrowed ships, some in ships built on Earth. The ship USS Benjamin Franklin, with an all-male crew, set out to visit the core of the Milky Way — actually an unusual quest by the stodgy standards of the typical galactic culture. Another ship has gone as far as the Magellanic Clouds. The pan-European expedition in the ship Europa, crewed entirely by women, has roamed far outside the local group of cultures. The star-drive technology allows journeys of tens of thousands of parsecs in mere months. In spite of this, most cultures are "stay-at-homes" compared to humans, interacting only with the local group of cultures, known as a "cluster".

Now the Franklin and the Europa return to find that Earth has suffered the ultimate disaster.

Plot summary

Ragnarok

The USS Benjamin Franklin, a starship crewed entirely by men returns to Earth, to find the planet consumed by eruptions from within the crust. All life is gone, along with the few outposts of humanity on the Moon and artificial satellites. Missiles lurk throughout the Solar System, ready to destroy returning ships. Unable to leave a message drone because of the missiles, the Franklin flees to Tau Ceti. Discipline breaks down, the captain is killed, and a nucleus of a new crew forms behind a man named Carl Donnan. Donnan is an engineer and adventurer who gave up wandering the Earth for a chance to see the galaxy, courtesy of a Senator who owed him a favor. Now he is leading almost 300 men on a quest for other humans, and for Earth's murderers. Chief suspects are the Kandemirians, especially since the missiles swarming through the Solar System are Kandemirian.

Earth is new to interstellar trade, and a handful of ships have gone out into the wider galactic society. The men realize they have little hope of finding other humans, let alone women. They do have a guide with them, an alien called Ramri from the polycultural society originating on the planet Monwaing. Ramri is a biped descended from feathered, bird-like creatures.

Some time afterwards, the ship Europa with a crew of 100 women returns, to find Earth destroyed and missiles roaming the Solar System. They are able to disable one missile. A small team boards the missile, including Navigation Officer Sigrid Holmen and her friend Gunnery Officer Alexandra Vukovic. The missile appears to have been manufactured by Kandemirians, although there are symbols in an unknown script scrawled on a bulkhead within it. Other missiles approach, and the Europa must leave without addressing the central mystery. The officers confer about where to go next.

The Quests

Travelling to Vorlak, Donnan sells the crew's services to the warlord, or Draga, Hlott Luurs. His proposition is that the humans will develop new technology allowing a ship to detect the drives of other ships far beyond the usual range. Donnan's friend Arnold Goldspring is a mathematician who has a host of new ideas for the technology. The detector is just the first one. To prove its worth, Donnan bargains for a Vorlak ship which they will use on a stealth raid on a Kandemirian outpost.

The raid is a disaster, and they are captured by Kandemirians. Interrogated by the head of the Kandemirian forces, Tarkamat, Donnan is told that if he refuses to re-create the technology for Kandemir, his crew will die horribly, one by one. He has no choice but to comply.

The crew of the Europa travel far beyond the boundaries of the local cluster to one with a vibrant capitalist economy. At Sigrid Holmen's suggestion, they set themselves up as "Terran Traders Inc." and proceed to amass wealth, hoping to be able to buy or charter ships to search for survivors of Earth. Sigrid is kidnapped by representatives of a rival trader culture, the Forsi, who resemble heavyset gnomes. The Forsi want to take her away to study, determined to discover why "Terran Traders Inc." is able to be so successful. She is in the process of attempting escape from them when Alexandra Vukovic, a former urban guerrilla, tracks her down and uses her skills to eliminate Sigrid's captors.

Earth's suicide?

Donnan's crew, laboring on one of the Kandemirians' subject planets, are being carefully monitored to make sure they only work on the drive detection device. However, the monitoring of the material making up the chassis of the device is less stringent, and they are able to create a dummy copy of a common soldier's rifle from seemingly unrelated parts. With this they bluff their way out of confinement, capture real weapons, and eventually steal a starship. The price of this escape is the loss of a suicide squad who hold off the local troops long enough for Donnan, Goldspring, Ramri and the rest to take off.

Ramri takes them to his homeworld, Katkinu. Like many Monwaing worlds, this has different and apparently incompatible cultures living side by side. The official Representative of the homeworld on Katkinu is from the Laothaung culture. Unlike Ramri's culture, this one uses biotechnology efficiently and ruthlessly. Specialized lifeforms, designed to have just enough intelligence to do work, and subservient to the rulers, carry out all labor. There are even altered types of Monwaingi being used as slaves. In the Representative's office they are shown a recording of an interrogation of an agent of the merchant culture of Xo. It indicates that Earth was destroyed by bombs sold to two of the minor national powers, and set up as a suicide weapon, to be detonated if either power was attacked with nuclear weapons.

The Battle of Brandobar

The men are shocked, but are still determined to fight on against the Kandemirians. Returning to Vorlak, Donnan bluffs his way past Hlott Luurs, who is still angry over the loss of a ship and his kinsman aboard it. Goldspring has designed more weapons using the stardrive technology. The basis of the drive is that space is a standing wave pattern. Where interference fringes occur, there is in effect no space and no distance. A ship may jump from fringe to fringe and travel from star to star in a short time. The new devices manufacture artificial fringes. With this they are able to distort space-time inside enemy ships, disabling missiles, inducing small thermonuclear explosions, and producing coherent sound waves. This last weapon lets them administer the coup de grâce to the Kandemirian fleet, broadcasting a message which demoralizes the crews, at the same time encouraging the subject races in the Empire to revolt.

After the victory, the news, in the form of a carefully crafted minstrel song, spreads around the galaxy. The song, in Uru, has the title "The Battle of Brandobar", and describes the final battle in a series of quatrains. A chapter of the novel is dedicated to a scholarly analysis of the song, teasing out both the story of the song and the calculated structure of the verses, designed to resist alteration as the song spreads from one singer to another along the trade routes.

It is through this song that the crew of the Europa, via their trade connections, learn where the USS Benjamin Franklin went.

Reunion — and the awful truth

Once the two crews are united, apart from the obvious considerations, they must decide who destroyed the Earth. The men still believe it was the Kandemirians, with the trader story being disinformation. When they decode the symbols the women found, they realize the truth. It is a base 12 to 6 conversion table to help technicians reprogram the weapons. The missiles are Kandemirian, but the script is Monwaingi. One of the many different Monwaingi societies, possibly the ruthless biotech Laothaung culture, wanted the Earth and saw fit to cleanse it before colonizing with their own biota. Ramri leaves for his home planet, determined to purge the culture that committed the crime, but aware that his own world might well be destroyed in the process. Carl Donnan and Sigrid Holmen can only look at each other and say "What have we done?"

Characters

  • Carl Donnan
  • Ramri, a 5-foot-tall (1.5 m) bird-descended biped with brilliant blue feathers. He is a product of the high-technology Tantha culture who believe in trade with other cultures. As a Monwaingi representative on Earth, he is enraptured by human culture and its arts. He is particularly taken by human music, especially Beethoven. Despite his size and a somewhat delicate appearance, he is a willing fighter, and wields talons on his clawed feet.
  • Arnold Goldspring, the Detector Officer on the USS Benjamin Franklin. A mathematician, he is able to re-invent the "paragravitic standing wave" technology behind interstellar travel to create new and revolutionary weapons.
  • Sigrid Holmen, the Navigation Officer on the Europa. Tall, blonde, and Swedish, she is a stoic figure who has to control her grief over the loss of her beloved country, its forests, waters and people, and keep going forward in the hope that humanity might continue.
  • Alexandra Vukovic, the Gunnery Officer on the Europa and Sigrid's best friend. She is a Serb and a graduate of "the Soviet incursion of 1995". This event turned her into a guerilla, a staunch friend, and a habitual rebel.
  • Hlott Luurs, a Draga or warlord of the Vorlak, a race of bipeds of about the same size as humans, but resembling otters in the head shape and in the possession of a coat of fur. Hlott Luurs is the head of the Draga Council by virtue of support from a coalition of other Draga. Like the other Draga he is pugnacious, proud, quick to take offense, but bound by a code of honor, which Donnan uses to his advantage.
  • Tarkamat of Kandemir, the military leader for the entire campaign against the Vorlak-led forces. After Donnan and his raiders are captured, he personally interrogates Donnan in his luxurious quarters. Like all Kandemirians, Tarkamat is well over 2 meters tall, handsome by human standards, a broad-shouldered and narrow-waisted biped with a ruff of hair framing the face. His officers and other soldiers are also members of his clan, a typical Kandmirian arrangement.

External links

Ark Two Shelter

The Ark Two Shelter is a nuclear fallout shelter built by Bruce Beach in the village of Horning's Mills (north of Toronto, Ontario). The shelter first became habitable in 1980 and has been continuously expanded and improved since then. The 10,000-square-foot shelter is composed of 42 school buses, which were buried underground as patterns for concrete that was then poured over to provide the main structure, onto which up to fourteen feet of earth were piled to provide fallout protection.With construction beginning in the early 1980s (during the height of the cold war), the shelter was designed to accommodate as many as five hundred people for the length of time required to allow the widespread nuclear fallout to decay to a level allowing a safe return to the surface after a cataclysmic nuclear event.

Powered by redundant diesel generators, the heavily fortified ("virtually impenetrable to anything short of a direct nuclear strike") shelter includes two commercial kitchens, full plumbing (including a private well for potable water and a motel-sized septic tank), three months' worth of diesel, a radio based communications center, a chapel, and a decontamination room.Ark Two is equipped with a communications room capable of broadcasting locally on the FM broadcast band, and throughout Canada and the United States on the AM and Shortwave Bands. A particularly novel feature is a collapsible, weather balloon deployed antenna, capable of being launched from within the shelter. All Ark Two communication equipment is EMP hardened and generator powered so as to be able to transmit survival information to the general public in the event of nuclear war.

Beach does not charge money for admission to the shelter, instead guaranteeing individuals admission in return for sweat equity and active involvement in the Ark Two communities' various activities. In addition, "Everyone is welcome here, regardless of religion, race, nationality, political views...". In return for the promise of safe haven in times of nuclear attack, a person residing in nearby areas might be expected to, for example, work at the shelter several weekends each year, assisting in the routine maintenance or continuing renovations of the facility. A large percentage of the shelter population is expected to be children, as the primary purpose of the shelter is to serve as an "underground orphanage, a place where a new generation could be saved from nuclear apocalypse", which, according to Beach, would otherwise wipe out over 80% of the world's population. "We're going to say to people: 'Well, we have room for your children, but we don't have room for you.' That's the nature of life... this is the lifeboat."Beach believes that the majority of preppers are too concerned with personal survival, when they should be focused on reconstructing the world after a cataclysmic disaster. He runs an online "reconstruction network" (the "SAFE" community) through which he shares information about Ark Two and his evacuation plans.Ark Two was featured in Beach's interview for National Geographic's "Doomsday Preppers", episode 8: "It's Gonna Get Worse". It was also featured on the Global Television Network series "16:9" (original air date: February 25, 2012), and on the Showtime series "Penn & Teller: Bullshit!" season one episode four: "End of the World".

Beach has authored two related books: Society After Doomsday (ISBN 978-0-919553-20-0) and TRIAD Individual Networking: Preparedness For Disastrous Times (ISBN 978-0-919553-50-7)

Boodikka

Boodikka is a fictional character featured in comic books published by DC Comics. Boodikka is a tall, well-muscled humanoid alien female with pink skin and reddish black hair. Her name is a play on the ancient British warrior-queen Boudica.

Bruce D. Clayton

Bruce D. Clayton is a noted forest fire and biological control ecologist as well as being the author of several books of interest within the survivalist movement.

Bug-out bag

A bug-out bag or BOB is a portable kit that normally contains the items one would require to survive for 72 hours when evacuating from a disaster, although some kits are designed to last longer periods. Other names for such a bag are a 72-hour kit, battle box, grab bag, go bag, GOOD bag (get out of Dodge), INCH bag (I'm never coming home), personal emergency relocation kit (PERK), or quick run bag (QRB).The focus is on evacuation, rather than long-term survival, distinguishing the bug-out bag from a survival kit, an aviation or a boating emergency kit, or a fixed-site disaster supplies kit. The kits are also popular in the survivalism subculture.

Chemical chirality in popular fiction

The theme of chemical chirality, or the "handedness" of the molecular structure of certain substances, appears in many works of fiction.

Doomsday rule

The Doomsday rule is an algorithm of determination of the day of the week for a given date. It provides a perpetual calendar because the Gregorian calendar moves in cycles of 400 years.

The Doomsday algorithm for mental calculation was devised by John Conway in 1973 after drawing inspiration from Lewis Carroll's perpetual calendar algorithm. It takes advantage of each year having a certain day of the week, called the doomsday, upon which certain easy-to-remember dates fall; for example, 4/4, 6/6, 8/8, 10/10, 12/12, and the last day of February all occur on the same day of the week in any year. Applying the Doomsday algorithm involves three steps:

Determination of the anchor day for the century.

Calculation of the doomsday for the year from the anchor day.

Selection of the closest date out of those that always fall on the doomsday, e.g., 4/4 and 6/6, and count of the number of days (modulo 7) between that date and the date in question to arrive at the day of the week.This technique applies to both the Gregorian calendar A.D. and the Julian calendar, although their doomsdays are usually different days of the week.

Since this algorithm involves treating days of the week like numbers modulo 7, John Conway suggests thinking of the days of the week as "Noneday"; or as "Sansday" (for Sunday), "Oneday", "Twosday", "Treblesday", "Foursday", "Fiveday", and "Six-a-day". There are some languages, such as Greek, Portuguese and Galician, that base some of the names of the week days in their positional order.

The algorithm is simple enough for anyone with basic arithmetic ability to do the calculations mentally. Conway can usually give the correct answer in under two seconds. To improve his speed, he practices his calendrical calculations on his computer, which is programmed to quiz him with random dates every time he logs on.

Fallout shelter

A fallout shelter is an enclosed space specially designed to protect occupants from radioactive debris or fallout resulting from a nuclear explosion. Many such shelters were constructed as civil defense measures during the Cold War.

During a nuclear explosion, matter vaporized in the resulting fireball is exposed to neutrons from the explosion, absorbs them, and becomes radioactive. When this material condenses in the rain, it forms dust and light sandy materials that resemble ground pumice. The fallout emits alpha and beta particles, as well as gamma rays.

Much of this highly radioactive material falls to earth, subjecting anything within the line of sight to radiation, becoming a significant hazard. A fallout shelter is designed to allow its occupants to minimize exposure to harmful fallout until radioactivity has decayed to a safer level.

Fortress of Solitude

The Fortress of Solitude is a fictional fortress appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly in association with Superman. A place of solace and occasional headquarters for Superman, the fortress is typically depicted as being in frozen tundra, away from civilization. Its predecessor, Superman's "Secret Citadel", first appeared in Superman #17, where it was said to be built into a mountain on the outskirts of Metropolis. By issue #58 (May–June 1949) it is referred to as the Fortress of Solitude, seems at a glance to be a freestanding castle, and is said to be located in a "polar waste". When the Fortress reappears in 1958 and for the first time takes center stage in a story ("The Super-Key to Fort Superman", Action Comics #241), it is again an underground complex in a mountainous cliffside.

Traditionally, the Fortress of Solitude is located in the Arctic, though more recent versions of the Superman comics have placed the Fortress in other locations, including the Antarctic, the Andes, and the Amazon rainforest. The general public in Superman's world is either unaware or at best only vaguely aware of the existence of the Fortress, and its location is kept secret from all but Superman's closest friends and allies (such as Lois Lane and Batman). A trademark of the Fortress is that it contains a memorial statue of Jor-El and Lara, Superman's Kryptonian parents, holding a large globe of Krypton. Although Superman has living quarters at the Fortress, his main residence is still Clark Kent's apartment in Metropolis. The arctic Fortress of Solitude concept was first created for pulp hero Doc Savage during the 1930s.

Frank Miller (comics)

Frank Miller (born January 27, 1957) is an American comic book writer, novelist, inker, screenwriter, film director, and producer best known for his comic book stories and graphic novels such as Ronin, Daredevil: Born Again, The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One, Sin City, and 300.

He also directed the film version of The Spirit, shared directing duties with Robert Rodriguez on Sin City and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, and produced the film 300. His film Sin City earned a Palme d'Or nomination, and he has received every major comic book industry award. In 2015, Miller was inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame.

He created the comic book characters Elektra for Marvel Comics' Daredevil series, and a female version of the Robin character, Carrie Kelley, for DC Comics.

Miller is noted for combining film noir and manga influences in his comic art creations. "I realized when I started Sin City that I found American and English comics be too wordy, too constipated, and Japanese comics to be too empty. So I was attempting to do a hybrid".

Great Bible

The Great Bible of 1539 was the first authorized edition of the Bible in English, authorized by King Henry VIII of England to be read aloud in the church services of the Church of England. The Great Bible was prepared by Myles Coverdale, working under commission of Thomas, Lord Cromwell, Secretary to Henry VIII and Vicar General. In 1538, Cromwell directed the clergy to provide "one book of the bible of the largest volume in English, and the same set up in some convenient place within the said church that ye have care of, whereas your parishioners may most commodiously resort to the same and read it."

The Great Bible includes much from the Tyndale Bible, with the objectionable features revised. As the Tyndale Bible was incomplete, Coverdale translated the remaining books of the Old Testament and Apocrypha from the Latin Vulgate and German translations, rather than working from the original Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic texts. Although called the Great Bible because of its large size, it is known by several other names as well: the Cromwell Bible, since Thomas Cromwell directed its publication; Whitchurch's Bible after its first English printer; the Chained Bible, since it was chained to prevent removal from the church. It has less accurately been termed Cranmer's Bible, since although Thomas Cranmer was not responsible for the translation, a preface by him appeared in the second edition.

Ice (comics)

Ice (Tora Olafsdotter) is a fictional character, a comic book superheroine in publications from DC Comics.

List of science fiction novels

This is a list of science fiction novels, novel series, and collections of linked short stories. It includes modern novels, as well as novels written before the term "science fiction" was in common use. This list includes novels not marketed as SF but still considered to be substantially science fiction in content by some critics, such as Nineteen Eighty Four. As such, it is an inclusive list, not an exclusive list based on other factors such as level of notability or literary quality. Books are listed in alphabetical order by title, ignoring the leading articles "A", "An", and "The". Novel series are alphabetical by author-designated name or, if there is none, the title of the first novel in the series or some other reasonable designation.

Poul Anderson

Poul William Anderson (November 25, 1926 – July 31, 2001) was an American science fiction author who began his career in the 1940s and continued to write into the 21st century. Anderson authored several works of fantasy, historical novels, and short stories. His awards include seven Hugo Awards and three Nebula Awards.

Poul Anderson bibliography

The following is a list of works by science fiction and fantasy author Poul Anderson.

See also Category:Works by Poul Anderson

Rena Vale

Rena Vale, or Rena M. Vale, (1898–1983) was a writer who was a scriptwriter for Universal Studios in Hollywood from 1926 to 1930 and in the 1930s was an investigator for a U.S. House of Representatives committee that later became the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

Retreat (survivalism)

A retreat is a place of refuge for those in the survivalist subculture or movement. A retreat is also sometimes called a bug-out location (BOL). Survivalist retreats are intended to be self-sufficient and easily defended, and are generally located in sparsely populated rural areas.

Survivalism

Survivalism is a primarily American movement of individuals or groups (called survivalists or preppers) who actively prepare for emergencies, including possible disruptions in social or political order, on scales from local to international. Survivalism also encompasses preparation for personal emergencies, such as job loss or being stranded in the wild or under adverse weather conditions. The emphasis is on self-reliance, stockpiling supplies, and gaining survival knowledge and skills. Survivalists often acquire emergency medical and self-defense training, stockpile food and water, prepare to become self-sufficient, and build structures such as survival retreats or underground shelters that may help them survive a catastrophe.

Use of the term survivalist dates from 1976.

Tim Drake

Tim Drake is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly in association with the superhero Batman. Created by Marv Wolfman and Pat Broderick, he first appeared in Batman #436 (August 1989) as the third character to assume the role of Batman's vigilante partner Robin until 2009. Following the events in Batman: Battle for the Cowl, Drake has adopted the alias of Red Robin.

As a young boy, Drake was in the audience the night Dick Grayson's parents were murdered and later managed to discover the identities of Batman and the original Robin through their exploits. After the death of the second Robin, Jason Todd, and witnessing Batman spiral into darkness, Tim was convinced that he should train to become the third Robin.

The character has been featured in various adaptations, including the animated television series The New Batman Adventures, Young Justice: Invasion, and the video game series Batman: Arkham. In 2011, Tim Drake was ranked 32nd in IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes.

Weird War Tales

Weird War Tales was a war comic book title with supernatural overtones published by DC Comics. It was published from September–October 1971 to June 1983.

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