Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Long Tomorrow - Leigh Brackett


Number of words : 80000
Percent of complex words : 5.8
Average syllables per word : 1.4
Average words per sentence : 18.0


Fog : 9.5
Flesch : 74.7
Flesch-Kincaid : 7.3

: The Long Tomorrow - Leigh Brackett


A post nuclear holocaust USA where the oldest people still alive were very young children at the time. It is now politically dominated by Mennonite types who are against technology and expansion, and some of them are of the more violent persuasion. That is, they will stone offenders to death.

Piper's Run

Colter's home town, in Pennsylvania.


A larger town, approaching the legal limit for development according to the Thirtieth Amendment. Situated on the North bank of the Ohio. Most of the people of a different sect here.


A commercial rival town on the Kentucky side of the Ohio.


A hidden mountain settlement with a functioning computer, doing research into anti-nuclear defenses: "named for Henry Waltham Barter, the Secretary of Defense who had it built". It is near the Fall Creek mining town.


Len Colter

Boy that favors learning and advancement. Acquires some physics books and a radio against the wishes of the elders.

Esau Colter

Len's cousin, their destinies entertwined.

Amity Taylor

Girl from refuge, love interest of both and later wife of Esau.

Elijah Colter

Len's father.

Judge Taylor

Refuge authority figure and conservative.

Reba Taylor

His wife and Amity's mother.

Mike Dulinsky

Refuge businessman who wants to expand past the legal limits, forces a conflict.

Ed Hostetter

Bartorstown trader and agent keeping an eye on Len.


Len's grandmother.

David Colter

Esau's father, a conservative.

James Colter

Len's brother.


Len's mother.


Man who is stoned to death for being a progressive.

Mr. Nordholter

The schoolmaster and Piper's Run councilman.

Mr. Spofford

Miller and James future father-in-law.

Mr. Glasser

Piper's Run councilman.

Mr. Harkness

Piper's Run councilman.

Mr. Clute

Piper's Run councilman.

Mr. Fenway

Piper's Run councilman.


New Mennonite in Refuge.


Refuge conservative.

Noah Burdette

Twin Lakes preacher who comes with farmers to confront Dulinksy and shotguns him down.


Refuge conservative that tries to lynch Len.


Refuge conservative that tries to lynch Len.

Harry Sherman

Bartorstown mine superintendent.

Joe Kovacs

Bartorstown river-boat man.


Bartorstown radio operator.


Bartorstown electronics man.


Bartorstown administrator and canal operator.


Bartorstown boiler operator.


Bartorstown man, father of Joan and hence father-in-law of Len.

Julio Gutierrez

Bartorstown chief physicist.

Frank Erdmann

Bartorstown electronics engineering chief.

Mary Sherman

Sherman's wife and manager.

Joan Wepplo

Wepplo's disaffected daughter, becomes Len's wife.


Bartorstown man.

Jim Sidney

Bartorstown steam plant chief.

Irv Rothstein

Bartorstown librarian.


New Mennonites

Mutated and more aggressive form of the pre-holocaust strain.

Old Mennonites

Pre holocaust religious sect.


Pre holocaust religious sect.

Church of Holy Thankfulness

Called Kellerites after the James P. Keller who founded the sect. Many such in Refuge.


Group of wandering extreme religious crazies that can be aggressively violent.



The name for Bartorstown's computer.


Solution Zero

Term for the possibility that Bartorstown will never be able to discover a working forcefield as an anti-nuclear defence.


Len and Esau Colter are older boys in a New Mennonite society that is around 3 generations removed from a nuclear war that destroyed the cities. This particular religious group grew out of the old being suited to life in this setting. They have seized political power in some places. They believe in keeping a static way of life, and have amended the Constitution to limit the size of human settlements by law. This also inclues technological proscription as work of the devil. Complete with stonings to death, etc.

Len and Esau want more, and after having their childhoods literally beaten out of them due to an incident with some purloined textbooks and a radio decide they will leave. They do, and go to Refuge. This town is run by a different sect, and is more commerce oriented, as opposed to agriculture. One local businessman is looking to expand past the limits of the law, and Len takes his side. This leads to a literally fiery and violent confrontation where Dulinsky is shot.

A Bartorstown traded named Hostetter had been keeping an eye on Len, and manages to get the boys and Amity out of trouble, and takes them on the trek to Bartorstown. They find out they have nuclear power and a computer, and are rather stunned. Their upbringings clash very hard with what they see, mentally. Esau is both less bright and now also a father, so manages to settle. Len falls in with Joan, who has teenaged boredom with being stuck in the one place, and sees Len as a way out, little understanding how things are out in the world, even though Len does. An attractive young woman, she marries him and they do make a run for it - but what to do when you have no place in particular to go and it is hard to go anywhere or be accepted anywhere is a big problem.

Hostetter tracks them down, and it is life or death decision time, absolutely, for Len. Bartorstown can't have people leading a raid to their facility, so it is up to Len as to what he will do. Joan has had enough, too.

4 out of 5

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