Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

By Pat Frank

The vintage apocalyptic novel that surprised the realm.

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No. " "Oh, that's good. " "Thanks, Mizzoo. " "Caleb's going to be happy to see Ben Franklin," Missouri said. Caleb was Missouri's son, and just Ben's age, thirteen. Last year, Randy had let them take the boat out on the river, fishing, just as Randy, as a boy, had fished with Caleb's uncle, Malachai, except that twenty years ago the boat was a skiff, powered by muscle and oars, instead of a sleek Fiberglas job with a thirty horse kicker. Missouri gathered up her cleaning materials and left Randy alone with his nightmare.

When the wars subsided, the fort was decommissioned and Lieutenant Peyton was assigned to sea duty. Four years later he returned to Fort Repose with a wife, a daughter, and a grant from the government for one hundred acres. He had picked this precise spot for his homestead because it was the highest ground in the area, with a steep gradient to the river, ideal for planting the oranges just imported from Spain and the Far East. Peyton's original house had burned. The present house had been built by his son-in-law, the first Marcus Bragg, a native of Philadelphia and a lawyer eventually sent to the Senate.

But if your sister bore a legitimate baby, its sex and weight would soon be known all over town. Florence awoke at six-thirty, as always, on a Friday in early December. Heavy, stiff and graceless, she pushed herself out of bed and padded through the living room into the kitchen. She stumbled onto the back porch, opened the screen door a crack, and fumbled for the milk carton on the stoop. Not until she straightened did her china-blue eyes begin to discern movement in the hushed gray world around her.

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