Legend of the Holocaust
Scripts, Sydney, 1968
The blurb on the back:
The raw, brutal story of the aftermath of atomic holocaust.
Given the title, and the fact that it’s published by Australian trash-meisters, Scripts, who also gave us Buchenwald Hell, you might be forgiven for approaching this with some degree of trepidation. But actually, it’s not at all bad, and certainly has none of the appalling taste you might be dreading.
Set more than fifty generations after a nuclear war has wiped out most of the city-dwelling population of the world, this is about one of the rural communities who have survived the devastation and have reverted to a life of farming and hunting. They are simple societies, entirely turning their back on the notion of progress and restrained from initiating violence by the story-tellers who keep alive the tale of how humanity almost destroyed itself. This is the Legend of the Holocaust, and it serves to keep the destructive power of mankind in check.
It’s not a particularly startling scenario (one is reminded of Louis Mountbatten’s famous quote: ‘If the Third World War is fought with nuclear weapons, the fourth will be fought with bows and arrows’), but it is quite nicely sketched, and at times aspires to a poetry in its writing, as here when village elder, Burntar, takes his nominated successor, Branlan, to the ruins of a city (known simply as the Place):
Inevitably the sustainable tranquillity is challenged when a more violent group turn up and try to wipe out the village. At which point we get into a more straightforward warrior adventure. But the whole thing’s so short that it doesn’t outstay its welcome, and you’ll be surprised to find that you’ve actually finished it, without having used up more than a 90-minute train journey.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 3/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT: 3/5