"Alas, Babylon" is a novel by the American writer Pat Frank, published in 1959. The book was one of the first fictional novels to deal with the theme of nuclear war and one of the first survivalist novels of its genre. It is consistently ranked in Amazon.com's Top 20 Science Fiction Short Stories list even half a … [Read more...] about Alas, Babylon
Pat Frank was born Harry Hart Frank on May 5th, 1908 in Chicago, Illinois. He worked as a journalist for newspapers, magazines, and government agencies before the 1940's and served with the Office of War Information during World War II. He also acted as a war correspondent during the Korean War.
Frank began writing novels in the 1940's and drew upon this experience with the military and government for them. As with many people that lived during his time, Frank had a lot of concern about impending nuclear war and radiation poisoning.
Frank's first published work was "Mr. Adam" in 1946 which related the story of an accident at a nuclear power plant that left all of the man on earth sterile except for one. The novel was satirical. Ten years later, Frank published two more novels, "Hold Back the Night" and "Forbidden Area," the latter being another book about a nuclear war happening some time in the future.
Frank's most well-known book, "Alas, Babylon" was published three years later in 1959. The novel was written while Frank was living in a Tangerine, Florida and the town of Fort Repose depicted in the novel was based on the real town of Mount Dora, Florida, nearby. The novel was conceived of by Frank while he was working on a magazine assignment at the headquarters of the Strategic Air Command. While there, he began wondering how America would react after a nuclear war. Thus, the novel's plot was born.
In 1962, Frank also published a non-fiction book called "How to Survive the H Bomb and Why." Frank's work has seen many adaptations, including the 1956 feature film for "Hold Back the Night" and a 1964 comedy based on his short story, "The Girl Who Almost Got Away."
In 1961, Frank was the recipient of the American Heritage Foundation Award, and later he acted as an adviser for NASA. Frank died at the age of 56 on October 12th, 1964 of acute pancreatitis. He is now buried in Jacksonville, Florida where he passed away.