Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
First published in 1967 Damnation Alley is arguably the godfather of the biker (as in motorcycle) post-apocalyptic genre. It tells the story of Hell Tanner, a renegade biker and criminal who is pardoned by the Nation of California in return for him delivering the cure for a plague that is overwhelming the Nation of Boston. Most of the USA has been devastated by nuclear missiles and the cross country journey is extremely perilous due to radiation, huge storms and winds, swarms of giant creatures, and dangerous itinerant motorcycle gangs. The theme of a warrior going it alone against impossible odds is a familiar one, so not too many surprises here. Zelazny’s writing is stellar and in general keeps the linear plot moving at a breakneck pace. There is a weird two page stream of consciousness run-on sentence that made me think that the ebook had ended and that I was reading a printing error, although it the 1960s I’m sure that hip folks thought is was pretty groovy. A essential read for anyone interested in the nascent post-apocalyptic literary scene that soon exploded in popularity in the 1970s and ‘80s.
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