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Max The Magnificent
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re: What’s the best post-apocalyptic book / film / TV program?
Max The Magnificent   11/4/2011 6:23:54 PM
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I know that I’ve only scratched the surface here… so, what do you think… any recommendations?

Max The Magnificent
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re: What’s the best post-apocalyptic book / film / TV program?
Max The Magnificent   11/4/2011 6:24:33 PM
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And before you say anything David, of course there's the "Mad Max" trilogy .. that goes without saying...

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David Ashton   11/4/2011 11:57:47 PM
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I hope you're not implying that I would say anything derogatory? John Christoper wrote "A Wrinkle in the Skin" about the earth undergoing another major mountain-building period (earthquakes, changing geography, etc) which I found very good, though I have not read it for years. He wrote a lot of what I call "Social science fiction" as opposed to the "bug-eyed monster" genre - more about people and their reactions to events. "Death of Grass" and "Pendulum" were another two.

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   11/7/2011 4:39:57 PM
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It's amazing how much you forget until someone "tweaks" you -- I read both "A Wrinkle in the Skin" and "Death of Grass", both of which were excellent (I don't remember "Pendulum"). Actually they made a film about "Death of Grass" in the UK (a low-budget affair). It was set in the Lake District as I recall -- one of my friends got a bit part (girl in Red Sweater shouting something like "Mommy" :-)

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David Ashton   11/8/2011 1:44:40 AM
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As I recall "Pendulum" was merely about society falling apart, no scientific cause like earthquakes etc. I remember it gave me a very real dread of the future at the time, which the way mankind has changed since has not dispelled much. I'd like to read it again.

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Doug.Amos   11/8/2011 2:17:16 PM
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i remeber seeing it on the telly. it was called "no blade of grass". I was only young; it scared the hell out of me (a senstivie kid). I think Roger Whittaker sang the theme tune (like you say, funny what you remember).

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   11/8/2011 2:55:45 PM
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You are right -- the film version was called "No Blade of Grass" -- I'd forgotten that...

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re: What’s the best post-apocalyptic book / film / TV program?
garydpdx   11/4/2011 6:39:59 PM
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The first thing that comes to my mind would be the recent 'Battlestar Galactica' series (not the 70's original). Maybe I'm not trying so hard ... :)

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   11/4/2011 6:43:20 PM
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I used to watch the original series when I was a kid. I have the first season of the new series DVDs waiting for me to finish up some other things I'm watching -- I can't wait...

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Duane Benson   11/4/2011 6:46:36 PM
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Here's a rather obscure one: "Wizards" (the 1977 Ralph Bakshi version). I saw it in a double-feature with Phantom of the Paradise (another obscure film) back when it was new. It's animated, some by hand and some by rotoscope. As with "A Boy and His Dog", this might not appeal to everyone. I'm not actually sure that this qualifies as best, but I found it very different and intriguing. I love the ending too. It's a pretty standard good vs. evil plot. Humans were all exploded in (what else? a nuclear war) and ancient races have come back to populate the earth. The respective good hero and evil antagonist are twin wizards, one trying to save the Earth and the other, destroy it.

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   11/4/2011 7:47:00 PM
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I'd forgotten about that -- in fact I have a copy on VHS in a box somewhere in my office...

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windhorn   12/9/2011 7:39:09 PM
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Yes! Fantastic movie especially for us wannabe hippies. And funny too.

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zeeglen   11/4/2011 7:30:52 PM
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"The Chrysalids" by John Wyndham, 1955. The story is about a young lad growing up in a community in Labrador, Canada, one of many pockets of human culture several hundreds or thousands of years after a devastating world-wide nuclear war. Their society has re-invented stationary steam power and guns, but cannot understand the mutations to their crops, animals, and humans due to radiation still drifting from the south. Their religion is very strict as to destroying or sterilizing and banishing mutants who do not fit the definition of what is 'proper'. Some of the youngsters develop telepathy but must keep it hidden lest they too be judged as mutants. Salvation comes from New Zealand whose people escaped most of the effects of radiation and were able to recover technology much sooner. John Wyndham writes a very interesting story around small community religion, politics, bigotry, heresy, and human nature. A good read.

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   11/4/2011 7:48:43 PM
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Arrggghhh -- this is one of the ones that "popped into my head" while I was writing the blog and then it popped out again when I received a non-maskable interrupt (like my wife calling :-) But you are right -- this was a fantastic story...

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   11/4/2011 7:51:16 PM
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Two more post-apocalyptic tales by John Wyndham were "The Day of the Triffids" and "The Kraken Wakes" ... I think I will re-read all of these when I've caught up with the current pile of books I have (a) on the go and (b) waiting for for me in the wings...

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zeeglen   11/4/2011 9:37:23 PM
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Have to look for "The Kracken Wakes", and my ex lent away my copy of the "Triffids". I had to wonder in the Triffids when they were holed up on the farm behind the electric fence why he ran a gas-powered generator rather than salvaging a bunch of automobile batteries and wiring them in series to power the fence. Then they would only have needed occasional charging from the generator for leakage. Other than this, good story. Other post-apocalyptic suggestions are "Farnham's Freehold" by Robert.A. Heinlein, and "The Songs of Distant Earth" by Arthur C. Clarke.

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J.Wahlstrom   11/6/2011 5:16:31 PM
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A really horrifyingly post apocalyptic book is "After the flood", by P.C Jersild. It takes place like 30yrs after a global nuclear holocaust, in what used to be the Nordic countries. (mainly sweden). It's a great book, but boy what a downhill ride it is. It is even more gloomy than "The road". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/After_the_Flood

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   11/7/2011 3:43:35 PM
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Hmmm -- I'm not sure if I need "gloomy" at the moment...

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vrheaume   11/7/2011 12:48:42 AM
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I nominate the "Jericho" TV series for your "best TV program" ranking: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jericho_(TV_series) (Jericho is one of the very few TV series I ever got hooked on... Unfortunately, CBS axed the show when it didn't receive good enough ratings on the Nielsen box. Fans blamed the poor ratings on Jericho airing at the same time as American Idol or some other reality TV show... CBS actually produced a 2nd short season because of the outcry from the fans.) I .LOVE. post apocalyptic fiction, keep the suggestions coming!

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   11/7/2011 3:46:26 PM
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I have no idea how this can be, but I have never heard on this. I'm downloading the Pilot Episode to my iPad as we speak -- I've also added the complete series (seasons 1 and 2) to my Amazon "Wish List" -- if I like the Pilot as much as the reviews suggest I will then I'll see if I can get the boxed set of DVDs for Christmas :-)

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   11/8/2011 2:39:34 PM
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I started watching the pilot last night while walking on my treadmill -- it's not 100% grabbed me yet, but it's early days and it's good enough that I've downloaded the second and third episodes -- after that I'll make up my mind as to whether to watch the whole thing (that will keep me walking)

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garydpdx   11/7/2011 4:32:11 PM
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Oh, I remember that one! So at least two of us watched it ... There was also a similar series on Showtime, Jeremiah, with Luke Perry (of '90210' fame). But that setting was after a virus wiped out much of human civilization.

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   11/8/2011 2:38:11 PM
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For some reason they don't have Jeremiah season 1 on iTunes (they do have season 2). The reviews on Amazon are a bit mixed -- but I've added this to my "Wish List"

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OmegaMan   11/7/2011 3:36:28 PM
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I have always liked "The Postman" by David Brin. The movie wasn't so great, but the book was a very good read.

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   11/7/2011 3:47:14 PM
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You are correct -- I'd forgotten this one -- the book was fantastic -- the film was OK-ish

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   11/7/2011 3:54:38 PM
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Another one I'd forgotten is Riddley Walker by Russel Hoban. As I recall, this is set about 1000 years in the future -- a post nuclear war world (the war took place around our time) where people are struggling to rediscover the technology of today, but have not yet reached the level of gunpowder. The author took an existing dialect from a small corner of England and then "evolved" it by 1000 years. The result is a bizarre pidgin English. When you first start reading the book, it's difficult to understand anything ... by about 1/3 of the way through you are reading it without any problems at all ... at which point you really need to start again at the beginning (grin) This book takes a bit of effort, but it's an incredibly rewarding read. PS Now I come to think about it, I saw the stage play in Manchester, England, sometime around the mid-1980s.

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Wnderer   11/7/2011 6:58:16 PM
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You can watch the old Vincent Price 'Last Man on Earth' at the internet archive. http://www.archive.org/details/the-last-man-on-earth

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   11/7/2011 7:57:15 PM
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I just watched the first few minutes -- I'll watch the rest when I have enough free time... ... I just looked this up on the Wikipedia -- I had no idea that the 2007 "I am Legend" film came from the 1954 book called "I am Legend" -- or that this was adapted to film as "The Last Man on Earth" (1964) and "The Omega Man" (1971) ... of that the original book was the inspiration behind the film "Night of the Living Dead" (1968)... ... you learn something new every day...

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seaEE   11/8/2011 3:21:35 AM
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I remember reading Silent Running in grade school. The Missing Persons League by Frank Bonham was good too.

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   11/8/2011 2:41:24 PM
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Silent Running was a brilliant film that I saw ages ago -- I hadn't really thought of it as a post-apocalyptic story until you mentioned it, but now I come to think of it you are correct...

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Doug.Amos   11/8/2011 2:34:19 PM
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Great discussion, Max, What kind of post-apocolyps are you into? take your pick. . . Gloomy: The Road, Cormac McCarthy; book or film - they're almost identical. really gloomy: Threads, a BBC Docu-drama from 1984. Scary at the time. Hopeful: Wall-E, of course! actually can't think of any other hopeful ones.

Max The Magnificent
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re: What’s the best post-apocalyptic book / film / TV program?
Max The Magnificent   11/8/2011 2:54:44 PM
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Ooooh - that's a tricky one. I didn't like "The Road" -- way too realistic and too sad. Also I don't like it when folks get hurt -- particularly kids. The problem is that the nasty guys would be left along with the nice guys -- and without the police around the nasty guys could bet to be real nasty. Another point is that I think we tend to have a "romantic view" of a post-apocalyptic world -- by which I mean we think things like "well, I wouldn't have to do my boring job anymore" and "it would be great just to take what food and clothes I need from the stores" ... but what we don't think about is what life would be like without air conditioning and hot and cold running water ... just the fact that you would have to stay near a water supply -- and what about things like parasites (like worms) and stuff... One type of scene I like to visualize is when people in the post-apocalyptic future are walking through old cities -- imagining how they would view something like a deserted New York, for example... Hmmm, I'll have to think about this one...

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   11/8/2011 2:42:01 PM
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There was a book called "The White Plague" by Frank Herbert ... but as I recall I thought it was a bit "so-so"

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Xplain   11/8/2011 3:00:46 PM
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Hardware from 1990 is another one.

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   11/8/2011 3:02:54 PM
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Que? Not sure what you mean...

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   11/8/2011 7:12:19 PM
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How could we all forget the classic "On the Beach" by Nevil Shute?

David Ashton
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David Ashton   11/8/2011 9:13:54 PM
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And they made a half-decent film of that one not long ago.

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   11/8/2011 9:19:28 PM
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You are right -- I just did a search -- apparently it was a Television Film on Showtime in 2000 -- I didn't know they'd remade it -- I only knew about the 1959 version. I remember this as being in black-and-while -- but that may be because we only had a black-and-white television when I was younger ... do you recall if the film was in B&W or in color?

David Ashton
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David Ashton   11/15/2011 6:36:09 AM
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The recent OTB was in colour, 1990s sometime I think, starred Bryan Brown among others. I've never seen the original. Good book, as I remember, but then all of Neville Shute's are good.

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   11/8/2011 9:25:59 PM
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Someone just reminded me about the book Eon by Greg Bear (I LOVED this book -- I wish they would make a film about it). Although it comes across as a bit of a side issue, there is in fact a global nuclear exchange between the Russians and Americans caused by the appearance of the asteroid...

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MikeSantarini   11/9/2011 9:37:25 PM
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Crossing the Chasm?

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   11/9/2011 10:20:31 PM
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Isn't that a book about Marketing?

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Duane Benson   11/9/2011 9:49:28 PM
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Would Soylent Green be considered post-apocalyptic? They haven't suffered the nuclear holocaust, but the planet has been devastated and exhausted by other means. Hmmm. It's only a decade away.

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   11/9/2011 10:22:42 PM
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I'm not sure if it counts or not -- but the prospect scares me -- I plan on being around in 2050 (I'll be 93 years old -- just getting my second wind) by which time there are expected to be 9+ billion people on the planet ... scary...

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David Ashton   11/15/2011 6:33:54 AM
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Soylent Green was a good film, I seem to remember Max remarking on the bit where Sol dies (to films of Earth when it was beautiful, and Beethoven's "Pastoral" - I liked that too but the way things are going I can see us ending up in something similar. I think SG was based on a Harry Harrison story called "Make room! Make room!" - Yes it was, just wikipedia'd it....

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   11/10/2011 2:40:11 PM
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When you say book -- are you actually talking about the TV Series / DVDs? If So, I have the first season sitting in my office -- just waiting for me to catch up with the other things I have on the go -- I've heard so many good things about this that I can't wait...

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davidarig   11/10/2011 7:40:56 PM
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Gee, I'm surprised no one mentioned "Alas Babylon", by Pat Frank. A blacker and more recent version is "One Second After", by WILLIAM R. FORSTCHEN. It made me seriously "think" about buying some firearms and stocking food in my basement.

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   11/10/2011 7:56:49 PM
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I hadn't heard of either of these -- but checking up on Amazon "Alas Babylon" has really high reviews -- and "One Second After" looks pretty good also... ... I just added them both to my Amazon Wish List...

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HereBeDragons   11/15/2011 5:45:46 AM
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two of my favourites: "Hothouse" by Brian Aldiss, about a far distant future where humans have devolved into small green people who live in a world-spanning banyan tree. Or "Battlefield Earth" by Ron Hubbard. Unfortunately Hollywood completely ruined this with their version of the movie.

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   11/15/2011 2:07:26 PM
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I'd forgotten all about Hothouse -- that was an interesting one... Sorry to say that I never could get excited about Hubbard's writings...

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Paul A. Clayton   12/8/2011 8:30:56 PM
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No one has mentioned A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr. (it won a Hugo).

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   12/8/2011 8:58:02 PM
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I have never heard of this -- but I just checked on Amazon and it has stellar reviews -- I just added it to my (ever-growing) wish list...

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windhorn   12/9/2011 7:50:09 PM
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Excellent book! Not as popular as it should be owing to its being assigned in literature classes :-)

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BurtB   1/6/2012 4:59:03 AM
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A Canticle for Leibowitz is a great book, and I am surprised more people have not heard of it. There is a great passage where monks are copying over Blueprint, and do not realized that the white portion is the information.

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   1/23/2014 5:33:54 PM
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@BurtB: A Canticle for Leibowitz is a great book, and I am surprised more people have not heard of it.

I have it on the shelf here in my office waiting for me to get to it ... after the other books I want to read ... too much to do, too little time to do it all in...

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   12/22/2011 6:56:27 PM
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I just remembered "Swan Song" by Robert R. McCammon. This is a really, REALLY good one!!!

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kfield   1/23/2014 5:22:29 PM
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OMG have you read the Matthew Corbett series - starting with Speaks the Nightbird by McCammon? Admittedly not apocalyptic, but a fabulous set!!

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   1/23/2014 5:34:56 PM
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@kfield: OMG have you read the Matthew Corbett series - starting with Speaks the Nightbird by McCammon?

I haven't read it -- but I've heard a lot about it -- that one is getting closer to the top of my Wish List on Amazon

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   12/23/2011 7:14:06 PM
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How could we have forgotten "The Postman" by David Brin?

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   12/28/2011 8:55:29 PM
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Another one that just sprung into my mind is "The Journey of Joenes" by Robert Sheckley Also, I just read a recent (2011) release called "Robopacalypse" by Daniel H Wilson -- now I want to get his other book called "How to Survive a Robot Uprising" :-)

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LarryJ   12/29/2011 3:55:15 AM
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Max, how could a savant of Commonwealth background such as yourself forget the BBC series "Survivors" from the 1980's? It was shown on SF Bay Area PBS TV in the 90's if memory serves me correctly. I used to have the entire series taped off the air on VCR cassettes and loaned it out many times to rave reviews! One aspect of the series I appreciated was that the apocalypse was a bio-engineered virus so there were not a lot of pseudo-science based "radiation" problems or incidents. In my mind clearly the best and most realistic post-apocalyptic series ever, at least of the ones I've seen.

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   1/2/2012 6:02:02 PM
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The scary thing is how the mind forgets things as you get older. Now you've mentioned it I do remember this series and it was good ... how could I have forgotten it?

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chrisshore   1/5/2012 11:09:48 AM
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You mentioned Harlan Ellison, which reminded me of one of the most powerful short stories I have ever read - "I have no mouth and I must scream". Search for it online and you'll find a complete version somewhere (no idea whether this is a legal copy or not so I won't post a link). Tells the story of the last surviving humans, who live under the rule of a self-aware computer which hates them, tortures them and will not let them die. The story is utterly harrowing and brilliant. I have never forgotten it since coming across it in an anthology years ago.

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   1/5/2012 8:11:00 PM
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I know the name but I don't think I ever read it ... I just checked it on the Wikipedia and it sounds pretty gruesome ... but also something that deserves to be read ... I'll keep my eyes open for an anthology containing it...

chrisshore
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chrisshore   1/5/2012 5:25:39 PM
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Another old one, and a story which amazed me when I read it, is "The City and the Stars" by Arthur C Clarke. A much-revised version of his first novel "Against the Fall of Night."

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   1/5/2012 8:06:38 PM
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Oh -- yes -- I remember this one (now I just looked it up on the Wikipedia) -- I read it when I was a young lad and it really made me think... Strange to relate the story itself popped into my mind a week or so ago ... but I couldn't remember the title or who had written it, so thanks for reminding me



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Max Maxfield

Analog Faceplate Design Decisions: Art or Science?
Max Maxfield
50 comments
My degree is in Control Engineering -- a core of math with "surrounding subjects" of electronics, mechanics, and hydraulics and fluidics. The only official programming I did as part of ...

Jolt Judges and Andrew Binstock

Jolt Awards: The Best Books
Jolt Judges and Andrew Binstock
2 comments
As we do every year, Dr. Dobb's recognizes the best books of the last 12 months via the Jolt Awards -- our cycle of product awards given out every two months in each of six categories. No ...

latest comment kfield Some good recommendations here!
Engineering Investigations

Air Conditioner Falls From Window, Still Works
Engineering Investigations
3 comments
It's autumn in New England. The leaves are turning to red, orange, and gold, my roses are in their second bloom, and it's time to remove the air conditioner from the window. On September ...

David Blaza

The Other Tesla
David Blaza
5 comments
I find myself going to Kickstarter and Indiegogo on a regular basis these days because they have become real innovation marketplaces. As far as I'm concerned, this is where a lot of cool ...