After a nuclear World War III has destroyed most of the globe, the few remaining survivors in southern Australia await the radioactive cloud that is heading their way and bringing certain death to everyone in its path Among them is an American submarine captain struggling to resist the knowledge that his wife and children in the United States must be dead Then a faint Morse code signal is picked up, transmitting from somewhere near Seattle, and Captain Towers must lead his submarine crew on a bleak tour of the ruined world in a desperate search for signs of life On the Beach is a remarkably convincing portrait of how ordinary people might face the most unimaginable nightmare Peter Holmes was a Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Australian Navy and was soon to join the USS Scorpion as a liaison officer under an American submarine captain, Commander Dwight Towers Peter lived on a farm just outside Melbourne with his wife Mary and their baby daughter Jennifer Since the radioactive particles from the nuclear bombs of WWIII had started drifting across the earth, communities in the northern hemisphere had been wiped out The southern hemisphere had quickly followed, and northern Australia had already succumbed The object of the US submarine was to tour the northern waters for signs of life as far as the United States and Seattle in particular since a staticky morse code could occasionally be heard from that vicinity As the residents of Melbourne continued on with their lives, some with calm demeanors, not believing what was to come, continuing to plan for the future, while others lost themselves in a bottle, trying to drown out realityOn the Beach by Aussie author Nevil Shute was originally published in 1957, with the story set in the future (of that time) of 1963 A fascinating story with nightmarish qualities which settled on ordinary everyday people Buying gifts for people who were quite obviously no longer with us; planting a vegetable garden; repairing fences – all with only weeks to go until the end… Highly recommended.“It's not the end of the world at all, he said It's only the end for us The world will go on just the same, only we shan't be in it I dare say it will get along all right without us.”With thanks to Text Publishing for my hardcover copy which is a reprinting of the 1957 original release. It's a dystopian story that is possible, it could really happen How a global nucular war would play out nobody knows, but Nevil Shute's version is realistic It is tragic, horrific, romantic, and sad It shows humanity at it's best and it's worst and makes us all wonder how we would react in a similar situation The ending was brilliant; an instant tear in the eye and lump in the throat. This is definitely one of the silliest books I ever read That's precisely why I kept reading! Imagine, you are living in a postapocalyptic world and you are on the south coast of Australia where the last remaining people on earth are living You are scheduled to die within a couple of months, so then tell me, do you really care if your daffodils are coming up next spring or whether you should be faithfull to your wife, far away in the U.S., who surely is dead as everyone else is over there? Well, no, any rational being wouldn't You would imagine the few remaining people are terrified for the toxic cloud coming their way but, no, everyone is behaving rationally and politely and go on doing their usual stuff as much as they can The book was written in 1957 and the Apocalypse took place in 1963, so I should have some mercy on these people But, oh, are they tedious! Even the proverbial bad girl turns into a good girl and thinks it is a splendid idea to learn how to type and stenograph with just an estimated lifespan of three months of living to do! She should have kept on knocking away those double whiskeys, in my opinion! Anyway, it was a hilarious book and I liked it because of the outrageous 50's sentiments Perhaps I should pay some respect to Nevil Shute for writing what must be one of the first dystopian books in the popular sense So there you go, cheers Nevil, you managed to write a very peculiar book.P.S I later understood that this book terrified a lot of people, especially in the U.S Remarkable, but I notice there is often a distinct dividing line between the U.S and Europe in what is considered seriously scary. It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fineThat line from the old REM song pretty much sums up Nevil Shute's On the Beach The world has ended and everyone's pretty much OK with it.Written in the late 50's and set in the near future of the early 60's, On the Beach finds World War III has come and gone The final battle was set off by a misunderstanding with the bigger nuclear powers shooting first and asking questions later The result is the northern hemisphere is gone, nuked to oblivion and the southern hemisphere is waiting for the radiation to slowly spread across the entire planet and kills the survivors.It's these survivors that we meet in Australia And they're all taking it pretty well There's no chaos here Everything is running fairly normally, except for the fact that we're all going to die in about six months And not a pretty death, but a slow, painful one The big problem with this book is the quiet acceptance every character has of this Yes, there are some characters deep in denial and some are planning for a world beyond six months from now, but never is there any sense of panic or desparation by anyone The most panicked we get is they move up an auto race a few months becuase the time it's scheduled to take place will be after the radiation hits There are some moments of hope in the story that someone might be alive in the northern hemisphere or that the coming end might not come But these are quickly dashed and then everyone accepts it with quiet resignation.I'm sure when it was written, this book was strangely scary and virtually prophetic But reading it now, it's a story that seems dated, with characters who fail to spark much interest for the reader I haven't read a book since Lucifer's Hammer where I actively rooted for the apocolyptic event to happen already just to kill off some of the characters in the story and maybe get things moving And that's the biggest flaw in On the Beachnothing happens We don't get to see the end of the world and nothing seems to make any impact on the characters It's a hard book to read, not because of the subject matter but because virtually nothing happens and none of the characters are interesting enough to make the investment of time worth it in the end. Unlike many others by Nevil, I've only read this one once Didn't see movie Remember enjoying the Australian setting and characters, how Shute depicted their mindsets and behaviors Encourage readers who have read only this to try others by the author Pied Piper, Round the Bend, and Alice.Pied PiperRound the BendA Town Like AliceA classic post holocaust speculation from when terrorism wasn't When stationed at SAC, near Omaha, in the early 1960s, my barracks was closest to the flight line The sounds of brakes on the big war birds Recommended Genre Companion = Pat Frank's BabylonAlas, Babylon Nevil Shute’s On the Beach, originally published in 1957, is a postapocalyptic novel which takes place in Melbourne, Australia a year or so after a nuclear World War III This final world war was so devastating that radioactive clouds are slowly traveling the earth, and killing all people and animals in its wake Due to some (probably not very) complicated weather and wind pattern science, Australia and it’s surrounding islands are just about the last inhabited places to be affected by the radioactivity And this is where the story takes place; the final months, weeks and days of some of the last people on earth Remember the T.S.Elliot poem which ends with the statement that the world will end, “not with a bang but a whimper”? Apparently Shute agrees Scientists have predicted the approximate month when the radioactivity will reach Melbourne The people we meet all very quietly go about their days, doing what they love to do, or what they must do Although there is a bitdrinking, chaos does not ensue Looting, theft, vandalism or any other sort of crime is not on the rise Doctors continue to perform lifesaving (and life extending) surgery Occasionally people will make statements such as, “It won’t be long now” and “We all have to go sometime, only now we know when that sometime will be” But for the most part, people in Shute’s novel live their remaining time in a state of …denial? Forced ignorant bliss? They talk about what will happen with their garden, cars, children, and jobs in the future even though there is clearly no future “Mary looked at her gratefully “Well, that’s what I think I mean, I couldn’t bear to – to just stop doing things and do nothing You might as well die now and get it over.”Moira nodded “If what they say is right, we’re none of us going to have time to do all that we planned to do But we can keep on doing it as long as we can.”But that is all any of us can do under the best of circumstances, right? Granted, Shute chose to not write about religion, the breakdown of society, or the very American notion of “take this job and shove it” with the end of the world approaching Even so, if you do what you love every day, why change that when your days start to quickly dwindle away? I found this novel to be a commentary on everyday life as much as anything else Finally, many reviewers have commented on what a nice, well behaved apocalypse Shute has envisioned But I don’t believe this means his scenario is necessarily incorrect After all, remember the five stages of grief? In case you don’t, the first one is denial Clearly, you and I and anyone else reading this book, learning about the end of the world and contemplating our own mortality are going to freak out a little bit On the Beach takes place a year (or two?) after a brief nuclear war Shute’s characters have had time to work through their denial, anger, bargaining, and depression We meet them as they reach the final stage of grief, which is acceptance On the Beach is heartbreakingly sad Not so much in the whereistheboxoftissues way, but in a way that affects you quite subtly throughout and long afterwards I loved the characters in this story, the relationships, and the way people chose to face their deaths and resolve their lives This is a book I most definitely recommend. Maybe we've been too silly to deserve a world like this, he said The population of a small town in Australia goes very, very gently into that good night as they wait for a cloud of nuclear fallout to reach them no wind does blow right into the Southern Hemisphere from the Northern Hemisphere If it did we'd all be dead right now I wish we were, she said bitterly It's like waiting to be hung Maybe it is Or maybe it's a period of grace For the most part, everyone goes about their business They open their shops, and plant gardens It's life as usual, but with an expiration date In modernday America I'm sure things would be quite different: rioting in the streets, massive looting, and a prevailing attitude of If I'm going out, I'm spending my last few months living like a king! Oh, how I prefer this idealized, fictionalized world of exiting with a sigh, and a welltimed pill I must admit the pet owners in this one got to me, and the farmer worried about the fate of his livestock Who will care for these creatures when there are no humans? Turns out, as I discovered in the book I was reading concurrently with this one it's the most pleasant apocalypse ever!there is war! there are bombs! and everyone in the southern hemisphere knows the rest of the world is dead dead dead and they are just waiting for the radiation to drift downwards where they will succumb to vomiting and diarrhea and weakness and eventual death let me repeat: this is known and so what do they do to prepare themselves? not a whole lot they buy some presents for children they know are already dead in other parts of the world (yes, this means that even though they know they will be dead within the month, there are still people reporting to work at the toy shop) they plant gardens they will never see they have a car race they buy a playpen to keep their baby from harm duck and cover, indeed it'slike an old navy commercial than the end of the world not one single character freaks about about dying not one goes on a looting spree or has sex or has a bomb shelter with canned goods to at least give survival a go it's all shrug, oh well here is a quote, no good agonizing about it have another whiskey yes, there is some drinking, but even that seems to be in moderation, except for the wineuncle, who seemsconcerned about not letting the wine cellar go to waste than as psychological padding from his doom i'm sorry, but i get frustrated by unrealistic acrosstheboard behavior one character in denial, sure, i can see that one who is hopeful that the drift will just dissipate and never get to them fine but after one character is reminded that her hopes for grandchildren are probably not going to come to fruition, she remarks, oh, dear, i keep forgetting i don't see how the end of humanity is something that slips the mind maybe the first sign of radiation poisoning is a lack of affect i honestly don't know but cheer up, it can't get any worse!come to my blog! I have wanted to read this book for quite some time, and when it was offered on edelweiss, I decided to take it on Perhaps it was not the best time to read a book about the world ending through nuclear war, but then again, it just might make me realize that there are and were truly worse things that threatened our existence I realize the Wuhan virus is awful and a terrible ordeal for us all, but in this story most of the people of the world are already dead through radiation poisoning, and the characters in this story live in the last bastion of remaining living things However, this too shall end as the radiation traveled southward into Australia and New Zealand, places where the bulk of the story take place.People know, they realize that their time is limited, and yet they hold out hope that perhaps maybe there will be a next Spring and Summer, that perhaps it won't be as they know it will, perhaps they will escape the ravages of nuclear fallout.We follow a number of characters and because of the time when this book was written 1957, the threat of nuclear war was real Each character handles their ultimate doom in a different manner knowing that their death in imminent It is a bit dated of course, but the message it carries is quite clear We must all learn to enjoy the life we have been given for we never know when it could be taken from us.Interestingly, the title On the Beach is a Royal Navy term meaning retired from service I am glad I finally had an opportunity to read this book Thank you to Edelweiss for providing me the opportunity to do so.