Daily Blog #350: I re-read Alas, Babylon

Greetings and Salutations, Blog Readers!

I have been working hard to read more, not just rereading old books I love but new books I want to read, but, in this blog I am talking about a book I haven’t read in two freaking decades, but think about and talk about like once a week: Alas, Babylon.

So this book was originally an assigned reading book for people going into AP English 1, and this was summer reading. I had actually just moved to Texas in the past year and when I read this book it definitely made me think the train noise I wasn’t yet used to (turns out I never get used to it) was the Russians attacking.

Needless to say, it made an impression on younger me. Me back then had no idea how much apocalypse fiction and content would play into my life, hell, back then I didn’t know I would pursue being a writer. My dumbass was still thinking I would be an attorney or go into politics to save the world. (Laughable, I know, I was a naïve dumbass)

The cover, slightly worn, of Alas, Babylon.

But, regardless, this book made a large impression on me, and I think about it all the time, but, I literally read that book twenty years ago, and felt I could use a reread on it, so, when I finished my October read, which is The Night Circus, I launched into Alas, Babylon.

I forgot how it all went down, within the first few pages I was struck by how many details I didn’t even remember, and, was even more pleased to see some of the things I do in my own writing, like Flake City, happening in Alas, Babylon.

I tore through the book, quickly realizing it wouldn’t last the month, which ultimately is a good thing, and before long, I had finished the book.

Scenes I thought were entire chapters were condensed into paragraphs. Scenes I had forgotten hit me hard and were amazing. So many details about survival, the daily struggle, were amazingly well written. I actually read and appreciated the prologue before the book, which…wasn’t in the version I read…because it was printed in a reprint…oof hurting my own feelings with how time passes here, anyways, I was engrossed in all the details.

Alas, Babylon is a brilliant apocalyptic fiction book that covers a lot of topics, and honestly did a lot to help form the genre I spend so much of my time in. I did forget a lot though, and I want to blame my English teacher for it, but trying to remember back, we may not have even discussed it much in class, because 9/11 also happened shortly after school started.

I forgot things like the racism in the book, the main character working hard to stop racism, but the time period lending itself to some characters having racial bias. I forgot things like the way they stayed alive, the struggles they went with, the people they dealt with, and of course, I had forgotten how it ended. Twenty years had passed, and this book I have often talked about loving, was ripe for rediscovering.

And rediscover it, I did. I highly suggest you give it a read if this sort of book is your thing, but also even if it isn’t because things are getting crazier and crazier, and this book is a school reading list book for a reason. It is also an amazing novel that I love.

Let me know if you have rediscovered a book recently, or if you have read or decide to read Alas, Babylon.

Thanks for reading,

Abbi

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