While it won't be officially published until September, Fall out has been chosen by the Junior Library Guild.
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.