Bruce Clayton's survivalist masterpiece, Life After Doomsday
, certainly belongs in any collection of weird non-fiction. It comes from a time, not so long ago, when the general consensus was that we were all going to be blown to smithereens in a nuclear war, and Clayton offered detailed instructions on how to stay alive should you survive the actual bombs. Below is the 1981 Newsweek
review of the book, as well as Clayton's diagram of how to turn your home into a fortified bunker. And hey, why not read it together with Paul's After the Collapse
to get a real apocalypse vibe going!
Bruce Clayton's fantasy derives from the myths of frontier America: we have only to draw our wagons into a circle to survive a nuclear war. The war won't be as bad as you have heard. Assuming the Russians know what they are doing, 90 per cent of America will be fallout free. Clayton is interesting because virtually every point he makes will not have been considered by most of his readers: what about sex in the fallout shelter? he asks, or "How many members of your family are you willing to regard as acceptable losses?"
His point is, you must do something: "The question of which assault rifle you should buy isn't nearly as important as the fact that you must get one" — to mow down ghetto refugees or your neighbors in search of your food supply. In fact, refugees won't be much of a threat because the roads will be blown up along with the cities, but as for your friend next door — well, the Heckler and Koch HK91 heavy-assault rifle firing a 7.62 NATO cartridge works very well. If you're on your roof hosing down the fallout, a Colt Commander .45 autopistol modified for combat is easier to carry. He shows us, too, how to convert our houses into efficient fire zones, and suggests we store away five years' supply of wheat, milk, sugar and salt. A wheat stew in every pot and an Armalite AR-180 in every loophole will see us through, as long as we've ordered our gas masks (Clayton tells us where).