The Long Loud Silence by WIlson Tucker Dell Books, 1952 Price I paid: 50¢
Corporal Russell Gary—operator—angle man—black-marketeer, junior grade—liberator of anything loose—veteran of Salerno and Normandy—a man who knew how to live by his wits and a gun.
Celebrating ten years in khaki, Gary went on a monumental binge…
While he slept it off, the United States east of the Mississippi was laid waste by atomic bombs and plague germs. The few who survived were immune to the plague but carriers of the toxin. No one from the contaminated area crossed the Mississippi and lived more than a few seconds. The army guarded every bridge, every inch of shore line. If you happened to be east of the river when the bombs fell, you stayed there until you died. There was no other choice, no other future.
When Corporal Gary woke up he was on the wrong side of the river, the bombed and contaminated side…
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham Audible, 2009 (audiobook version) RosettaBooks, 2000 (eBook version) Originally published by Michael Joseph, 1951 Price I paid: $2.99 (audiobook), I don’t remember (ebook)
Bill Masen, bandages over his wounded eyes, misses the most spectacular meteorite shower England has ever seen. Removing his bandages the next morning, he finds masses of sightless people wandering the city. He soon meets Josella, another lucky person who has retained her sight, and together they leave the city, aware that the safe, familiar world they knew a mere 24 hours before is gone forever. But to survive in this post-apocalyptic world, one must survive the Triffids, strange plants that years before began appearing all over the world. The Triffids can grow to over seven feet tall, pull their roots from the ground to walk, and kill a man with one quick lash of their poisonous stingers. With society in shambles, they are now poised to prey on humankind. Wyndham chillingly anticipates bio-warfare and mass destruction, 50 years before their realization, in this prescient account of Cold War paranoia.
The Starmen of Llyrdis by Leigh Brackett
Ballantine Books, 1952
Price I paid: 50¢
Michael Trehearne had always been an outcast among his people on Earth. He knew he was different…but he did not know how or why.
Then one day, on the wind-swept coast of Brittany, a bewitchingly beautiful girl appeared and told him he had the look of the Vardda—those elite star travelers who alone could withstand the rigors of intergalactic flight.
Michael had to join them…had to find his place in the universe at last. But it would not be easy. For even when they allowed him to risk his life aboard their ship, to seal his fate upon their planet…even then, they viewed him as an outcast, a dangerous changeling who suddenly threatened them.
He was a man who sooner or later would have to be destroyed!