Today I treated myself to a one-two punch of good old fashinoned cold war era nuclear war goodness. Well, good in a fictional sense, at least, not if you’re one of the tens of millions vaporized in a full scale nuclear war.
I finished today’s nuke-fest with a re-watch of By Dawn’s Early Light from 1990. I’ve seen it several times before, of course, but it had been a while. Today was the perfect time to re-visit it because I started the day by finally getting to finish the novel that the film is based on, Trinity’s Child by William Prochnau.
I’m a bit of a broken record as I keep repeating the fact that 80s nuclear war is my favorite type of post-apocalyptic scenario. Testament, The Day After, and of course, Threads are the standards when it comes to post-nuclear war stories, but there aren’t that many high quality stories that depict the waging of the war itself.
Trinity’s Child is exactly that. We start with the report of missiles approaching the U.S. Russia says that the attack was launched by accident, and the U.S. President is given three choices – accept the limited attack, respond in kind, or retaliate in full, which would escalate the conflict into full-blown war.
As you can imagine, circumstances conspire against those who try to limit the conflict and end the war as soon as possible.
As the author puts it in a passage from the book:
Among the elite few who had even a lottery player’s chance of altering the events, the miscalculations, and confusion were almost total. The were making assumptions that were logical but wrong, and acting on both. In fact, in all the beleaguered world, not a single person had the access or the wisdom to understand the swirl of events engulfing them.
The book really checked all the boxes for what I was in the mood for, and even includes several pages describing the devastation of multiple missile impacts to the islands of Hawaii (where I live.) It’s like it was written specifically for me.
I don’t want to spoil much of the story, so I’ll just say that if you you’re excited by mentions of SAC, NORAD, B-52s, Looking Glass, or nuclear launch codes, then you’ll enjoy both the book and the movie.
Trinity’s Child does not appear to be available on Kindle yet, but a used hard copy won’t cost you much.
By Dawn’s Early Light is available in its entirety on YouTube if you’d like to check it out.