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Alas, Babylon Paperback – July 5, 2005
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About the Author
Pat Frank (1908–1964) is the author of the classic postapocalyptic novel Alas, Babylon, as well as the Cold War thriller Forbidden Area. Before becoming an author, Frank worked as a journalist and also as a propagandist for the government. He is one of the first and most influential science fiction writers to deal with the consequences of atomic warfare.
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As much as I loved this book, I do not recommend buying the kindle edition at all. There are a LOT of errors. It looks like they used OCR to scan a paper version of this book, and the original font didn't take well. I have seen this before in other Kindle books, but this is the worst I have seen. Very distracting and confusing to have to go back and try to figure out what was said. One sentence started with "We Ye...." after reading a couple of times I realized it was probably supposed to say "We've...". Even the last sentence of the book "The engine started and Randy turned away to face die thousand-year light". "Die" should of been "the". There are so many spelling and flat out misinterpreted words it is very distracting to say the least. Really wish I had read s hard copy of this one... or better yet, that the Kindle version wasn't so overrun with errors.
I have friends who read this book every year, to remind themselves of how much we have to enjoy during peace and what hardships befall the survivors.
This is an easy to read and engaging book. It's easy to churn through the pages, but I wouldn't call it a page turner, because it doesn't build artificial tension. The story engages the reader through character development and a genuine interest in what happens to the people in the novel.
The story certainly has its weak points. For example, it is completely plot-driven with very little character growth. The protagonist, Randy, is a hero straight out of a 1959 movie. Strong, resolute, and always right. Still, it is a great read and in many ways was the progenitor of apocalypse fiction.
Also, I should mention that the story is a bit racist and sexist when viewed with today's mores. The reader must keep in mind that for a book written by a white male southerner, set in the South of its day, the book really is rather enlightened. The black family is definitely deferential to Randy but they are also very resourceful and treated respectfully by the author. Two of the female characters, Rita and Lib, are depicted as strong women who are in control of their bodies and have had adult relationships with multiple men. So, yes, there's some latent white supremacy and sexism in the story, but for its day this must have been rather a enlightened book.
All in all, this was a welcome return to one of my beloved books of my early teen aged years. Highly recommend.