cover image Beyond Armageddon

Beyond Armageddon

Various. Dutton Books, $16.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-917657-55-9

Miller, whose novel A Canticle for Leibowitz is a landmark of post-holocaust SF, opens this anthology of SF stories on nuclear war with a provocative and challenging introduction: he suggests that the bomb would be safer with Qaddafi than Reagan. This properly unsettles the reader for the following 21 imaginations of disaster. Arranged in a rough future chronology, they include such classics as J. G. Ballard's apocalyptic ""Terminal Beach,'' Stephen Vincent Benet's vision of a ruined New York in ``By the Waters of Babylon,'' Ray Bradbury's nostalgic ``There Will Come Soft Rains'' and Harlan Ellison's fierce ``A Boy and His Dog.'' Where most seek metaphors of devastation, the less well known stories are sometimes grittier, for example, Lucius Shepard's ``Salvador,'' on a possible future Vietnam, Jim Aiken's nasty ``My Life in the Jungle'' and Poul Anderson's 1946 ``Tomorrow's Children,'' the only story here to mention the effect of nuclear winter and the story that deals most pragmatically and tragically with the human consequences of radiation-induced mutations. Altogether, a thought-provoking, varied and well chosen anthology. October 31