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mzs
June 13th, 2006, 03:13 PM
When I was in my first or second year of high school (`91 or `92) I read a short story (or an excerpt from a novel) that I have always wanted to read again. I hope someone can tell me the title and author.

The story was after an apocalypse (I think it was after a nuclear war). There was a boy exploring the world. One specific thing I remember is that it was very dangerous to touch metal. (I think the conclusion I came to was that some metal things could be bombs or mines and would explode.) I think that there was something about only some people that learned magic were able to discern which metal was safe to handle and which was not. I think that the young character was the son of such a magician.

Also there was another character at some point and I remember that there was some line about one looking at the other with both eyes. I remember that when I read that I decided that what must have happened is that humans must have had some genetic mutations (possibly due to radiation) such that their heads were mis-shapen with the eyes on the sides of the head much like a deer. This made more sense because there were some other human survivors that hunted these mutated humans and with eyes on the sides of their heads they would be better able to see danger.

I really liked this excerpt from a book or short story, at least to a kid it was really fun for me to figure-out what must have happened to account for the weirdness in world.

Monty Mike
June 13th, 2006, 03:27 PM
Not sure, but it sounds a little like Damnation Alley (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0575073462/sr=1-1/qid=1150226596/ref=pd_bowtega_1/203-5551754-7851959?%5Fencoding=UTF8&s=books&v=glance) by Roger Zelazny. The book description from amazon.co.uk reads:

The world has been devastated by atomic war and only small pockets of civilization still exist in an inferno of deadly storms, tortured volcanic landscapes and monstrously mutated animals. In North America the major surviving centres are California and Boston. And Boston is ravaged by a terrible plague with the only serum in California, three thousand miles of radioactive wasteland away...Hell Tanner is one of the last of the biker Angels, a survivor of the Big Raid that destroyed America, and the only man with even the ghost of a chance of making the nightmare journey through Damnation Alley

Let me know if it is ;)

Ward
June 13th, 2006, 04:41 PM
It definitely isn't Damnation Alley, wish I could say what it is but I don't recognize it.

Archren
June 13th, 2006, 05:57 PM
It reminds me of a story I read in high school; it may have been called "On the Shores of Babylon" or "By the Shores of Babylon." Does that ring a bell? Maybe a post-apocalyptic coming of age story? :confused:

Monty Mike
June 13th, 2006, 07:07 PM
I thought Damnation Alley was a long-shot, but oh well.

If no one comes up with any answers, I suggest you check out the Post-apocalypse (http://sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6489&highlight=post-apocalyptic) thread ;)

Good luck.

Ward
June 13th, 2006, 08:44 PM
Oooh, a whole post-apocalypse thread: didn't know we had one, I'll check it out ;)

mzs
June 13th, 2006, 10:51 PM
It reminds me of a story I read in high school; it may have been called "On the Shores of Babylon" or "By the Shores of Babylon." Does that ring a bell? Maybe a post-apocalyptic coming of age story? :confused:

Archren you are amazing, doing a bit of googling from your starting point I found this:

By the Waters of Babylon [“The Place of the Gods”] • Stephen Vincent Benét • ss The Saturday Evening Post Jul 31 ’37

I also turned-up some more details on the story and I am almost 100% certain that this is it. Thank you very VERY much.

Ropie
June 14th, 2006, 03:27 AM
Oooh, a whole post-apocalypse thread: didn't know we had one, I'll check it out ;)

Ward - where is your avatar from? It is very good and looks somewhat familiar....

Ward
June 14th, 2006, 10:49 AM
@Ropie: here's the full pic. (http://www.zeitcom.com/majgen/cuzharry.jpg)

Found it on an old wargaming site, it's an old photo and I believe the man is showing off the latest in body-armor :)

I'm going to hunt down that story as well, Benet was the author of John Brown's Body and The Devil and Daniel Webster.

This might also be useful:benet bib (httphttp://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/b/stephen-vincent-benet/://)

Randy M.
June 14th, 2006, 04:14 PM
@Ropie: here's the full pic. (http://www.zeitcom.com/majgen/cuzharry.jpg)

Found it on an old wargaming site, it's an old photo and I believe the man is showing off the latest in body-armor :)

I'm going to hunt down that story as well, Benet was the author of John Brown's Body and The Devil and Daniel Webster.

This might also be useful:benet bib (httphttp://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/b/stephen-vincent-benet/://)
It's been years since I read any of Benet's short fiction, but I recall being pleased and entertained by it. He often touched on the weird and fantastic.

Randy M.