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On the beach by Nevil Shute

On the beach (original 1957; edition 1966)

by Nevil Shute

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3,079901,842 (3.85)215
Title:On the beach
Authors:Nevil Shute
Info:Pan Books (1966), Mass Market Paperback
Collections:Your library, Read, Second-hand, Storage
Tags:Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Science Fiction, Australian Fiction, Setting Australia

Work details

On the Beach by Nevil Shute (1957)

  1. 70
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    The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (Simone2)
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    A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. (lisanicholas)
    lisanicholas: Another post-apocalyptic story, Miller's Canticle takes place centuries after nuclear war destroys the world's civilizations, and a new civilization has arisen from the ruins.
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    The Last Ship by William Brinkley (goddesspt2)
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    Level 7 by Mordecai Roshwald (weener)
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    In the Wet by Nevil Shute (Booksloth)
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    Forbidden Area by Pat Frank (BeckyJG)

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» See also 215 mentions

English (86)  Danish (3)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (90)
Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
Part of my ongoing "I read it years ago so I'll read it again" phase. I liked it.
Very low key, but none the worse for that. Other reviewers have said it's unrealistic, but I don't think that's the point. The destruction of all life by the military powers of the northern hemisphere is the point. The rest is one way of looking at the consequences, and not a bad one at that. Also, the final couple of chapters are very moving, I think. ( )
  ghostdog801 | Nov 25, 2014 |
It's not a science-fiction book, it's a nightmare! ( )
  mariusgm | Sep 12, 2014 |
Well written & so plausible that it's scary, it's also survived the test of time very well. Written over 50 years ago in 1957 by engineer Nevel Shute Norman, an engineer who owned a firm that made secret stuff for the British government, it amazed me by how the politics & cause of the war are still so possible.

The book follows about 6 people for the last 6 months of their lives. There is no explicit sex or violence. The northern hemisphere has been turned into a radioactive wasteland & the radioactivity is slowly moving south. Australia has about 6 months to live & they know it. They keep their civilization going. No 'Mad Max' scenarios. Just law abiding folks who know the end is coming.

It's fantastic & horrifying & depressing, but also neat on several levels. Shute shows us people at their very best after the very worst has happened. The coping mechanisms they use & the little problems they have & overcome. it's quite a fantastic journey & well worth the time to read.

I've never seen either film made from the book & don't think I care to since they screwed up the endings according to Wikipedia. ( )
1 vote jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
Dystopi i långsamt tempo! Undergången ser alla personerna i boken, men de låtsas inte om det! Tragisk, sorgligt men för mig lite opersonligt, okänslosamt, lite ryck på axen, whatever!
bra intrig men lite mer tempo, lite mer känsla! Håller inte riktigt! ( )
  Drusus | Aug 4, 2014 |
On the Beach is probably the most famous atomic war book of the 1950s and 60s, and Nevil Shute's best known book, along with A Town Like Alice. He has a unique vision of the apocalypse, more like catching smallpox or the flu as radiation the silent killer slowly spreads around the world exterminating all living things. Shute's characters are exceedingly sober and responsible, and those that cross the line or don't redeem themselves get their due. Yet in the end no amount of sobriety can save them and you are left wondering what is life for. Partying? Racing cars? Scientific exploration? Religious piety? Fishing? Making babies? These were questions facing a generation of WWII vets in the 40s and 50s who were home from the war with its adrenaline highs and who found civilian life boring and slow. Shute's characters act out of duty, even when it's obvious it no longer makes sense to do so. It was this same blind obedience to duty that caused the war. He is advocating, indirectly, the dereliction of duty - rebellion. Just on the cusp of the 1960s, On the Beach was a book of rebellion for the sake of life. ( )
  Stbalbach | May 23, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nevil Shuteprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Powers, Richard M.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river...

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

--T.S. Eliot
First words
Lieutenant Commander Peter Holmes of the Royal Australian Navy woke soon after dawn.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345311485, Mass Market Paperback)

"The most shocking fiction I have read in years. What is shocking about it is both the idea and the sheer imaginative brilliance with which Mr. Shute brings it off."
They are the last generation, the innocent victims of an accidental war, living out their last days, making do with what they have, hoping for a miracle. As the deadly rain moves ever closer, the world as we know it winds toward an inevitable end....

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:06:26 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A novel about the survivors of an atomic war, who face an inevitable end as radiation poisoning moves toward Australia from the North. The most shocking fiction I have read in years. What is shocking about it is both the idea and the sheer imaginative brilliance with which Mr. Shute brings it off. They are the last generation, the innocent victims of an accidental war, living out their last days, making do with what they have, hoping for a miracle.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

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