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May 24th, 2010, 12:14 AM
This book or series of books was at least 10 years ago, probably more like 15-20 years ago.

Post apocalyptic America, where the people don't remember much if any of the current world, and little to no evidence remains of it. I seem to recall multiple different stories throughout the series, with different protagonists.
One seemed to be about a city built like a giant sea shell. Guy was thrown in jail for whatever, and soon began deciphering hidden writings on the walls. He's moved to various cells, deciphering more writings in each, till he finally gets to one with the final secret where he removes a certain stone and collapses the whole city.
Another story was about after centuries of erosion, part of some underground survival/fallout shelter finally becomes exposed, people living inside it since the apocalypse don't think the outside world is liveable. One of the people that do live outside, sees this exposed part and wants to investigate, but it's inside of some "hot" zone. It's actually the edge of a nuclear crater, still radioactive, but people outside don't know what radiaton is. He uses rocks to build a pathway over the "hot" ground to get to this shelter, thinking the rocks will protect him from the "heat". He finally makes contact with the people inside.
Another story or part of a story is where someone re-invents a steam engine for a ship, and uses it to travel upriver.

Hopefully I'm not confusing multiple, unrelated books.

May 24th, 2010, 01:32 PM
I haven't read them but, comparing your description to the titles of the books, its got to be the Pelbar Cycle by Paul O Williams. A series of 7 books

"The Breaking of Northwall" is the first one.

May 24th, 2010, 06:42 PM
Yep, that's it. Without even looking, I remember the names now that you mention them. I had been thinking of the name "Pell" as somehow involved, but as soon as you mentioned it, I remembered it was "Pelbar" instead.