“By the Waters of Babylon” (1937)

Creators

Stephen Vincent Benét (writer).

Extent

Read in 2017.

Commentary

The title probably alludes to psalm 137 of Psalms (ca. 700–200 BCE). This short story is a portal to all the post-apocalyptic science fiction that followed, where technical civilization has regressed to a pseudo-medieval level. It’s amazing that it came out in response to the Spanish civil war, before any public knowledge of the atomic bomb as real, though after H. G. Wells predicted the bomb in The World Set Free (1914).

References here: Always Coming Home (1985).

fiction text