In Gloria D. Miklowitz’s After the Bomb, an accidental nuclear blast occurs over downtown Los Angeles. This book centres around Phillip, his family and their struggle. Although it very much had a 70s feel, it was a quick read and very much a page turner. In true children’s literature style, the youngest and weakest is left standing best and forced into a leadership role and position of strength. As a coming of age story, After the Bombdelivers. I noticed while I was researching this post that there is a sequel to After the Bomb entitled After the Bomb: Week One. I think that I will pick it up.
One of the things that struck me was that, today, no one seems to talk about the cold war or nuclear proliferation; whereas, Phillip’s family obviously were well-informed about these issues and talked about them in a family setting with some regularity. This particular family even had a bunker on their property. That it was poorly stocked, mostly used as a hangout for the family’s two teenage sons, and had been built by the previous owners is almost irrelevant. I do not know a single person who owns a bunker. Even the nearby Canadian Federal government bunker, nicknamed the Diefenbunker, has been declassified and turned into a really cool museum. I live a 15-minute drive from the oldest functioning nuclear reactor in the world and do not have a single idea of what to do in case of a meltdown. Honestly, it probably wouldn’t matter even if I did because I don’t think me family would survive long enough for it to make a difference. Why are these issues ignored today? They are still relevant, aren’t they? Weapons of Mass Destruction are not solely in the hands of big governments anymore. We have groups today, such as small marginalized governments, emerging and under-developed countries , and terrorist groups, that have access to nuclear weapons as never before. Our reality is almost straight out of 1970s sci-fi. And yet, we don’t talk about it? Why?