In reprinting Beyond Armageddon, a 1985 anthology of stories focusing on nuclear holocaust, Bison Books validated an enigma. Undoubtedly, the world was different 20 years ago. But equally true is the diametric adage that the more things change the more they remain the same.
Although the 21 stories compiled by Hugo Award-winning author Walter M. Miller Jr. and master anthologist Martin H. Greenberg cover decades of writing, they also reflect the world at the time Beyond Armageddon was originally released. Ronald Reagan had been sworn in for a second term and Mikhail Gorbachev assumed had leadership in the Soviet Union. Only two years had passed since Reagan, discussing proposals for a nuclear weapons freeze, called the U.S.S.R. "an evil empire." The world was on its way to record number of nuclear weapons and the doomsday clock was almost the closest it has ever been to a nuclear midnight.
Today, the number of nuclear weapons has diminished and the Cold War has ended. But in the same time we have seen the disintegration of controls over the Soviet stockpile, the efforts of North Korea and Iran to obtain such weapons, Pakistan joining its neighbor and foe India in the nuclear club and the increased threat of terrorism. As a result, while the hands of the nuclear clock have retreated, they today are they closest to midnight in more than a decade. Sadly, Beyond Armageddon is not an interesting historical artifact. It remains relevant today.
The release of this edition is part of a continuing effort by Bison, a paperback imprint of the University of Nebraska Press, to reprint classic books in a variety of genres. Thus, with the exception of Greenberg's new postscript to Miller's original introduction, the reprint seeks to remain true to the original, even matching the pagination. Among science fiction aficionados, Miller's introductions to the anthology and each story are themselves notable.