The Last New Yorkers

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Published: 1911
Language: English
Wordcount: 44,183 / 131 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 84
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 2,319
Added to site: 2006.11.12 15221

In the decade following its completion in 1909, New York's once-tallest building, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Tower, suffered a series of unfortunate mishaps. In rapid succession it was exposed to poisonous gases, submerged under twenty thousand feet of water, struck by the tail of a comet, and transported back in time to the pre-Columbian era. Each time, the building somehow emerged intact.

Show Excerpt

--all changed.

"Not a sign of life anywhere; not a sound; the forests growing thick among the ruins? A dead world if--if all the world is like this part of it! All dead, save you and me!"

In silence they stood there, striving to realize the full import of the catastrophe. And Stern, deep down in his heart, caught some glimmering insight of the future and was glad.



Suddenly the girl started, rebelling against the evidence of her own senses, striving again to force upon herself the belief that, after all, it could not be so.

"No, no, no!" she cried. "This can't be true. It mustn't be. There's a mistake somewhere. This simply must be all an illusion, a dream!

"If the whole world's dead, how does it happen we're alive? How do we know it's dead? Can we see it all from here? Why, all we see is just a little segment of things. Perhaps if we could know the truth, loo


Average Rating of 3.7 from 3 reviews: ****
Henry L. Ratliff

(1912) Sci-fi (Post Earth disaster / Pulp) / Adventure

1st in trilogy, Darkness and Dawn

R: * * * * *

Plot bullets

  • Bernice and Allan, start this three book trilogy, when they awake to a crumbled almost dead world.

  • Something terrible has happened and it is not known what or when.

  • It appears that Allan's chemical experiments produced a gas that has suspended their lives hundreds or more years.

  • Time reveals that they are not only the last New Yorker's, but perhaps the last of what was modern mankind.

  • The current Earth seems to be inhabited by at least some primitive beings; savage, brutal, murderous beings.

  • The lives of these two people and the future of Earth, may depend on their abilities, cleverness and steadfastness of purpose.

  • The first order of survival is not only food and shelter, but to defeat the beasts, who want their lives.

  • Next, they must search, to determine if they are indeed, the last intelligent beings on Earth.

  • Their search will take them to the Great Oblivion and beyond.

England's trilogy published as - The Vacant World and Darkness and Dawn

Complete trilogy: Darkness and Dawn (1912) -

First book: The last New Yorkers (1912) -

Second book:Beyond the Great Oblivion (1913) -

Third book: Afterglow (1913) -


Only marred by some of the more blatant racist and sexist material; if you can overlook that, reading it as contemporary (i.e., 1911), it is fast and entertaining reading.


It's basically the Futurama story: a guy wakes up in a high-rise building, a thousand years in the future. (Luckily, so does his pretty stenographer.) And so far as they know, they're the only ones left. This is a fun, overwrought survival-and-scavenging story -- but also, because the two characters went to sleep around 1910, it's a fascinating window into the pre-atomic, pre-civil rights, pre-synthetics American mind. Maybe because the modern past is constantly held up against the future here, the core ideas of 1910 stand out in relief, in all their sexist, racist, great-man-theory glory. So it's interesting as sociology, though there are some passages that are a little hard to take.

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