Monday, July 21, 2008

Theodore Sturgeon's "Thunder and Roses" (novelette, nuclear apocalypse, free): Finding hope for humanity in an angry world

Quote from short story titled Thunder and Roses by Theodore SturgeonThe most interesting thing about this story is contrast with Arthur Clarke's "The Last Command". Both are about nuclear war & total annihilation of one side. In both stories, the annihilated side still has enough firepower left to annihilate the other side. Both stories are written with military men as protagonists or major characters. Both differ from umpteen stories about nuclear doom in their theme of forgiveness.

In Clarke's version, US has destroyed USSR. A USSR crack team capable of punitive retaliation is stopped to give humanity a chance, even if it's without USSR.

In Sturgeon's version, it's US that is annihilated by unnamed enemies. And while there is enough ammunition to retaliate, there are survivors awaiting imminent death that are working to give humanity a chance - even if it will be without the US.

Title comes from the lyrics of a song I'm unfamiliar with:

"When you gave me your heart, you gave me the world,
You gave me the night and the day,
And thunder, and roses, and sweet green grass,
The sea, and soft wet clay."

Collected in.

  1. David Drake, Jim Baen, & Eric Flint (Ed)'s "The World Turned Upside Down".
  2. John W Campbell, Jr (ed)'s "The Astounding Science Fiction Anthology".

Fact sheet.

First published: Astounding Science Fiction, November 1947.
Rating: B
Download full text.
Related: All stories of Theodore Sturgeon.