A frighteningly possible future world as seen through the strange and demonic imagination of Robert Bloch.
being hemmed in like this."
"Well, a bomb wouldn't help. You know that." Frazer pursed his lips. "Robertson figured out what would happen, with the chain-reaction."
* * * * *
Harry glanced sideways at his companion as the car started forward once again. "I've always wondered about that," he said. "Seriously, I mean. Is the story really true, or is it just some more of this government propaganda you fellows like to hand out?"
Frazer sighed. "It's true, all right. There was a scientist named Robertson, and he did come up with the thermo-nuc formula, way back in '75. Proved it, too. Use what he developed and the chain-reaction would never end. Scientists in other countries tested the theory and agreed; there was no collusion, it just worked out that way on a practical basis. Hasn't been a war since--what more proof do you want?"
"Well, couldn't they just use some of the old-fashioned hydrogen bombs?"
"Be sensible, man! Once a war started, no nation could resist the temp
"must have been written before terrorists ran amuck"
Well, yeah - 1958 is a bit of a giveaway.
And MAD did actually result in a lasting, if inordinately tense (for those of us who lived through it), peace.
In the future science has banished war and there's enough food to support everyone. As a result the world is intolerably overpopulated. Clearly a harsh solution is in the offing but unfortunately it's so improbable that it waters the story down a lot. Still worth a read though, the way the dissenters are represented by the media and the methods of public coercion may feel disturbingly familiar to the modern reader.
Too much exposition makes for awkward style of writing. Plus many of the assumptions are overly simplistic. Such as assured mutual destruction leads to lasting peace (must have been written before terrorists ran amuck) and people just go on multiplying. Dark and paranoic undertones make for an umpleasant read.