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The City At Worlds End [Kindle Edition]

Edmond Hamilton
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $12.00
Kindle Price: $0.99
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Book Description

The sky split open and Middletown became the "City at Worlds End"

Kenniston realized afterward that it was like death. You knew you were going to die someday, but you didn't believe it. He had known that there was danger of the long-dreaded atomic war beginning with a sneak punch, but he hadn't really believed it.
Not until that June morning when the missile came down on Middletown. And then there was no time for realization. You don't hear or see a thing that comes faster than sound. One moment, he was striding down Mill Street toward the plant, getting ready to speak to the policeman coming toward him. The next moment, the sky split open.
It split wide open, and above the whole town there was a burn and blaze of light so swift, so violent, that it seemed the air itself had burst into instantaneous flame. In that fraction of a second, as the sky flared and the ground heaved wildly under his feet, Kenniston knew that the surprise attack had come, and that the first of the long-feared super-atomic bombs had exploded overhead....
Shock, thought Kenniston, as his mouth crushed against the grimy sidewalk. The shock that keeps a dying man from feeling pain. He lay there, waiting for the ultimate destruction, and the first eye-blinding flare across the heavens faded and the shuddering world grew still. It was over, as quickly as that.
He ought to be dead. He thought it very probable that he was dying right now, which would explain the fading light and the ominous quiet. But in spite of that he raised his head, and then scrambled shakily to his feet, gasping over his own wild heartbeats, fighting an animal urge to run for the mere sake of running. He looked down Mill Street. He expected to see pulverized buildings, smoking craters, fire and steam and devastation. But what he saw was more stunning than that, and in a strange way, more awful.
He saw Middletown lying unchanged and peaceful in the sunlight.
The policeman he had been going to speak to was still there ahead of him. He was getting up slowly from his hands and knees, where the quake had thrown him. His mouth hung open and his cap had fallen off. His eyes were very wide and dazed and frightened. Beyond him was an old woman with a shawl over her head. She, too, had been there before. She was clinging now to a wall, the sack of groceries she had carried split open around her feet, spilling onions and cans of soup across the walk. Cars and street-cars were still moving along the street in the distance, beginning erratically to jerk to a halt. Apart from these small things, nothing was different, nothing at all.

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Product Details

  • File Size: 348 KB
  • Print Length: 185 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1419156837
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: eStar Books (April 21, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004XMOQZ6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,754 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Culture Shock August 13, 2009
Format:Kindle Edition
A small town in the mid 1950s, population about 50,000, is suddenly displaced through time and finds itself on a dying planet that circles a dying star. Soon it becomes clear that they are still on Earth, but are millions of years in Earth's future. The problem: survival.

Although I found it a little predictable in places, this novel held my interest and is well written and well formated for the Kindle. The writing is in the 1950s style, so a few of the author's facts are a bit dated. Overall, however, the story line holds up well.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid SF tale. March 10, 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A solid science fiction effort. Certainly no classic, but generally well written and interesting. The story unfolds nicely as the residents of a small city try to find out why the world around them has changed so much (and why they are still alive!) after a nuclear bomb hits their town. City at World's End is 1950's science fiction and not for all taste. It will probably be enjoyed most by those who enjoy Ray Bradbury or the original Star Trek TV series.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An original kind of civilization shock December 31, 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book's strong opening chapter confronts scientists with the unthinkable: a superatomic bomb has fallen on Middletown, a small American city hiding a secret antiatomic laboratory, servering it from its surroundings; the sun is now red and drawn out, the moon is unrecognizable, the temperature is low. Various hypotheses are considered to explain all of this, and the most unlikely might well be the one closest to the truth. After the initial event has occurred, transmission of knowledge proceeds in a myriad of interesting ways: between scientific and non-scientific Middletownians at first, but then between strangers from the future - some apparently human, some not - and scientific Middletownians (who take on the role of their non-scientific peers because of their relative ignorance). Even though they generally remain on the good side, the 20th century humans' role is decently complex and shows a nuanced way of approaching the space opera subgenre of science-fiction: they frequently reverse roles with `the other' and even become an historical curiosity under the eye of an historian from the future. This novel's structure is careful, every step being taken with a studied internal cohesion and sense of pace. Its position on science remains ultimately optimistic, but it does acknowledge some of the dangers it could cause and offers an original kind of civilization shock.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stands up very well after all these years! April 16, 2007
I read this book in my early teens in the 60's, and then lost it, and have hunted for it ever since. At last, a friend found it and sent it to me, and last night, I read it again and held my breath to see if it was as good a story as my younger self thought it was.

To my surprise, it really was. It's obviously very dated, and there's some sexism in there that made me grit my teeth. (Especially the bit about the main [male] character's frustration with the inability of the female mind to grasp scientific concepts! Grrr.) And then there was the people's unquestioning faith in science to solve every problem, so that all the scientists had to do when people were panicking was assure them that the science was reliable, so therefore everything would turn out okay. That made me smile a little fondly, at the good ol' days.

But apart from some of those things, the story really does stand up well. It was an excellent examination of what might have happened to people whose entire town had been thrust far into the future of an almost-expired earth. The story poignantly conveyed the loneliness of the arid world, and the deep loss felt by the people, yet it also portrayed their resilience and the power of the human spirit to adapt and bring good out of something terrible.

It definitely resembled the first Star Trek series, in the way it had such faith in that resilience and human spirit. In much the same way as many Trek episodes, you got that scene where the undaunted human being stood alone in front of a galatic council, reminding the star-flung descendants of his world that they owed all their high principles and peaceful lifestyle to the struggles -- and yes, wars -- that the people of his time went through. Very rah-rah humanity.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WORTH A REREAD and A PONDER September 16, 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I first read this one in the mid 70s. I enjoyed it then and after digging through my storage rooms (I never throw anything, in particular books away), I found it and read it again. Certainly different than the standars SiFi we get today. Anyone interested in tracing the evolution of SiFi would certainly be interested in this one. The book is well written, well crafted. While, as one reviewer put it, it will never be a classic, it certainly is worth a second look. Recommend it highly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Nils
Format:Kindle Edition
I loved this book when I was young, and I still like it almost fifty years later.

When I was young, growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, I was scared of the idea of nuclear war. It seemed almost inevitable that there would be one, and popular culture reflected that expectation. Partly, probably, as a way of understanding this frightening possibility, I read a lot of books about the nuclear armageddon, including books in which all human life ended (Nevil Shute's On The Beach), and "survivalist" tales about families who somehow survived and rebuilt after the world they had known ended (like Pat Frank's Alas Babylon).

City at World's End is an end of the world book, in a way, and I like the author's point of view, which is clearly stated: that the war (presumably between the U.S. and Soviet Union) that begins the narrative was meaningless, the antagonists long gone and forgotten. It meant nothing, and neither did the nations that fought it. In an era of national chauvinism in which "it's okay to blow up the world and kill everybody as long as we get those damned Russkies" was a common attitude, it was nice to find writers who saw things from a broader context.

As a twist, the war that begins this book does end one world and way of life but begins another. The world of the characters in Middletown (a small midwestern town in the U.S.) ends in bewilderment, thrusting the characters into a situation different from anything they had imagined or prepared for. For a portion of the book, it's unclear whether the human race, which appears to be limited to the population of the population of the town that somehow survived the bombings, will find a way to survive at all. Then things get more complex, and the questions the book starts asking become more interesting.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story
This book is a great read of original science fiction. A great story with a simple plot that keeps you captivated.
Published 3 days ago by nomad327
4.0 out of 5 stars with a good and inventive plotline
Interesting story from probably the 50s, with a good and inventive plotline. For .99 you can't go wrong.
Published 9 days ago by bassmanmusic
1.0 out of 5 stars Worth Reading Again and Again
This story is still as full of suspence - Will they be able to survive on survive on Earth during its last eon? - mystery - What happened to the last Earthmen? Read more
Published 28 days ago by Brenda Caldwell
5.0 out of 5 stars Great old sci fi well written by a master in ...
Great old sci fi well written by a master in the art he is the reason there are so many good sci fi writers now . Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
interestimg SCIFI from 40 years ago
Published 1 month ago by Cricket Dixon
4.0 out of 5 stars A book that I have 're-read several times
Edmond Hamilton is a very prolific writer with great skills of human behavior, this is the fourth time I read this book and I always get inspired by it.
Published 1 month ago by Nicolai Alenikov
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed this book.
I didn't realize it was such an old work until partially through the story. Knowing when it was written made it more fun as I realized many of the concepts were new at the time... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Annie
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgia at its very best!
How I have longed for this kind of SF to return.... This masterpiece is "dated" only in the minds of those who would colorize a classic black and white movie. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Melissa Costa
3.0 out of 5 stars Like in Toby Keith's song
This idea, of a community transported, has been used before in "1632" by Eric Flint. This novel, having a science fiction direction, transports us in time not space. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Meehlticket
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked it.
Maybe I'm old fashioned but I found this book refreshing. It had more heart than most other books of more modern authors.
Published 3 months ago by edl
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