Fallout is part memoir and part speculative fiction. It is rooted in my experience as a twelve-year-old boy living through the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. What made this event unique for me was that our family was the only one in town who actually had a full-scale bomb shelter built beneath our house.
This gave me a unique perspective in as much as I not only worried along with everyone else in our country about the very real possibility of a World War Three, but I had to worry about trying to survive as well. Many of my anxieties concerned the possibility that a war might start while my father was at work, and therefore too far away to get home before the bombs fell. In that case: 1) Would there be time for me to run home from school before the bombs fell? 2) Since everyone in town knew we had a bomb shelter, would others get there first and demand to be allowed in? 3) What if my mother, brother and I got inside and our neighbors came and wanted us to let them in? 4) How would we know how long to stay in the shelter? 5) What would we do when we got out? These worries mixed with and influenced many of the other insecurities – about girls, sex, athletics, school – that boys that age feel.
Thus the Bomb is partly the story of what really happened, and partly about what could have happened. As a memoir, it is a recollection of the affect such a dire world event had on an innocent young man who was growing up in a protected homogeneous middle-class environment. As speculative fiction it is an exploration of what very well might have occurred had there really been a war.
And finally, I hope that, in its own small way, it is a celebration of life in the face of adversity.