“Maybe you don’t know it, but the world is dead.”
A fine example of early science fiction in general and the works of C. L. Moore in particular, though no mention of space travel or aliens. Published in 1957. Set in a post-apocalyptic America ruled by an aging dictator and suffering unrest, all seen through the eyes of a washed up actor. Spies and betrayal abounds.
“When a Comus sampling turns up false, they’ll repeal the law of gravity.” “In California the law of gravity has been repealed.”
Well-conceived and executed. Moore still had the touch she first exhibited in the 1930s. She takes you deep into the mind of her protagonist and deep into his world. Works well.
“When you’re young you never doubt yourself. You never wonder if you’re justified. But as a man gets older he learns to doubt.”
Fewer technical groans than you’d expect for a story written sixty years ago. She managed to create a “modern” world which contains few jarring anachronism–except maybe telephone booths, and even those have video.
Quibble: “The hollow thunder of bomber was beginning to blanket all other sound.” Even in the 50s, you couldn’t hear approaching bombers. (B-52 bombers were already operational then.)
“How do I get out of here?” “Don’t act like that.” “It’s not acting.”
Contains the requisite SF/F cliché phrase: “I had been holding my breath without realizing it.”
“What’s past is prologue. Wait and see.”