City at World's End

City at World's End


(28 Reviews)
City at World's End by Edmond Hamilton









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City at World's End


(28 Reviews)
The pleasant little American city of Middletown is the first target in an atomic war - but instead of blowing Middletown to smithereens, the super-hydrogen bomb blows it right off the map - to somewhere else! First there is the new thin coldness of the air, the blazing corona and dullness of the sun, the visibility of the stars in high daylight.  Then comes the inhabitant's terrifying discovery that Middletown is a twentieth-century oasis of paved streets and houses in a desolate brown world without trees, without water, apparently without life, in the unimaginably far-distant future.

Book Excerpt

It went off right over Middletown, and it did something..." He faltered, and then said, "Nobody really knew what a super-atomic bomb would do. There were logical theories and assumptions about it, but nobody really knew anything except that the most violent concentrated force in history would be suddenly released. Well, it was released, over Middletown. And it was violent. So violent that..."

He stopped, again, as though he could not quite muster up the courage to voice the certainty that was in him. He gestured at the dusky sky.

"That's our Sun, our own Sun-- but it's old now, very old. And that Earth we see out there is old too, barren and eroded and dying. And the stars.... You looked at the stars, Ken, but you didn't see them. They're different, the constellations distorted by the motions of the stars, as only millions of years could distort them."

Kenniston whispered, "Millions of years? Then you think that the bomb..." He stopped, and he knew now how Hubble had felt. How did you sa

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Well, whilst this is an absorbing enough read, and a brilliant concept, it is totally spoiled for me by the entrenched attitudes of the characters, indicating, I presume, the small-town, inward-looking and downright prejudiced attitudes of people in those days.

For a start, the main character obviously cannot cope with women in positions of authority. He seems to expect them to be the little, semi-hysterical woman at home who only copes with life when he comes home to soothe her. And he only warms to Varn after he realises that she is "an anxious woman", "just a girl" and "afraid of men".

I also could not believe the attitude of the people in it, who were willing to fight and die to stay on a barren rock just because it was Earth, rather than be relocated on a living planet with warm sunshine, water, seas and life. It hardly seems possible that this was the attitude of people in the country that first went to the Moon. Consequently I have got to the stage where I really don't have any empathy with the characters as they are so frustrating.

Maybe I am just not accepting enough of the difference in culture between the time the book was written and now, but if that's how it was back then then I am glad I did not live in those times.

As I say, still an engrossing read. Haven't finished it yet either so I'm hoping for better things, but I'm beginning to lose hope.
Enjoyable and well-written. The treatment of the female characters was a little condescending, though. While it features a strong female character, the lead male eventually recognizes her to be just a "anxious woman, almost a girl". Well, it's easily enough ignored, at least for this (male) reviewer.
This book holds a very special place in my life, since it was the very first Sci-Fi novel I ever read (at the tender age of 7). From that point on, I was hooked; now, some 55 years later, I'm still an avid reader of the genre, with a Sci-Fi library of close on 3,000 books - and I STILL have my original hard-back copy of "City at World's End".
Had the book not been as well-written and absorbing, I would certainly have missed out on a lifetime of reading enjoyment.
Recommended to all lovers of science fiction, regardless of age.
Gorr Holl ("Growl", get it?) is described in ch. 9 on p. 85 and is so obviously the model for Chewbacca that I'm astonished that no one has ever made the connection. And Varn Allan comes across as a Leia character, albeit as an administrator, not a princess. There's even a galactic senate.

A must read for anyone who wants to piece together some of the origins of Star Wars.
Thrust a million or more years into the future by a superatomic blast, the town of Middleton is now surrounded by a cold, bleak landscape and a dying sun. The survivors find a deserted domed city and take up residence, but their future is uncertain at best. Broadcasts for help, at first unanswered, finally bear fruit when humans from the stars come to rescue and relocate them. But in a strange illogical but very human way, they don't want to be relocated. Now they must face something that hasn't changed in a million years; Bureaucracy! Find out how they make allies with other species and slap the pusses of the bureaucrats in a valiant effort to save their dying Earth.
A good read.

Basically, a space opera. Reminded me of some of the sci-fi B movies I used to enjoy as a kid. It's a little flat in the telling in places, a bit pulpy (although it's meant to be I suppose because it is space opera after all), and the aliens reminded me of the crew of Space Quest (the game), but you can't fault the passion behind the story. Despite the basic premise, there's an undercurrent of humanity that's quite moving. Made me think how finite our world really is. Still, a great little book. I enjoyed it enough to look up the author and seek out some of his other work.
Grabs you from the opening paragraphs and keeps you going to the end, and then wanting more. I highly recommend this.