On the Beach
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Nevil Shute’s most powerful novel—a bestseller for decades after its 1957 publication—is an unforgettable vision of a post-apocalyptic world.
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. Both terrifying and intensely moving, On the Beach is a remarkably convincing portrait of how ordinary people might face the most unimaginable nightmare.
deck.” “I mean — recently. Has anyone been up into the radioactive area since the war stopped?” He nodded. “The Swordfish — that’s our sister ship — she made a cruise up in the North Atlantic. She got back to Rio de Janeiro about a month ago. I’ve been waiting for a copy of Johnny Dismore’s report — he’s her captain — but I haven’t seen it yet. There hasn’t been a ship across to South America for quite a while. I asked for a copy to be sent by teleprinter, but it’s low priority on the radio.”
shrugged his shoulders slightly. “We could say a year. I imagine it will be your last posting, Holmes.” The younger man said, “I know, sir. I’m very grateful for the opportunity.” He hesitated, and then he asked, “Will the ship be at sea for much of that time, sir? I’m married, and we’ve got a baby. Things aren’t too easy now, compared with what they used to be, and it’s a bit difficult at home. And anyway, there’s not so long to go.” The admiral nodded. “We’re all in the same boat, of course.
little way aside and talked to Eddie Brooks, standing in the rain. “Tires are the same size as ours. Wheels are different, but if we took the hubs as well… That Maserati’s crashed up by The Slide. We might have a look at that one, too. I believe that’s got a lot of the same front-end parts as we have…” They walked back to their newly acquired transporter and drove it back in the half light to Haystack Corner, and commenced the somewhat ghoulish task of stripping the dead bodies of the wrecked
her. She blew a long cloud of smoke from her nostrils. “It’s a change, anyway. What’s your name?” “Dwight,” he told her. “Dwight Lionel.” “Dwight Lionel Towers,” she repeated. “I’m Moira Davidson. We’ve got a grazing property about twenty miles from here. You’re the captain of the submarine, aren’t you?” “That’s right.” “Happy in your job?” she asked cynically. “It was quite an honor to be given the command,” he said quietly. “I reckon it’s quite an honor still.” She dropped her eyes.
department was on the second floor; he climbed the stairs and found the garden seats he had remembered. He selected a fairly light one with a brightly coloured detachable cushion that he thought would please Mary and would also serve to pad the roof of his car. With great effort he dragged the seat down two flights of stairs to the pavement outside the shop, and went back for the cushion and some rope. He found a hank of clothesline on a counter. Outside he heaved the seat up on the roof of the