Farnham’s Freehold

Farnham’s Freehold
Publication date:1964.07
Genre:Science fiction novel
Preceded by:Orphans of the Sky
Followed by:The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
Wikipedia page

“Farnham’s Freehold” is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein. A serialised version, edited by Frederik Pohl, appeared in Worlds of If magazine (July, August, October 1964). The complete version was published in novel form by “Putnam” later the same year.

The book is popular with survivalist groups as it combines the civil engineering and physics of fallout shelter survival with the social dynamics of “lifeboat rules,” or autocratic authority under extreme conditions, a theme further explored in depth in “The Number of the Beast.” To paraphrase Mr. Farnham, “How do you know who is the officer in the lifeboat? The one with the gun.”

Exposition

Hugh Farnham is a practical, self‐made man, and when he sees the clouds of nuclear war gathering, he builds a bomb shelter under his house, hoping for peace and preparing for war. But when the apocalypse comes, something happens that he did not expect. A thermonuclear blast tears apart the fabric of time and hurls his shelter into a world with no sign of other human beings. Farnham and his family have barely settled down to the backbreaking business of low‐tech survival when they find that they are not alone after all. The same nuclear war that catapaulted Farnham 2,000 years into the future has destroyed all civilization in the northern hemisphere, leaving Africans as the dominant surviving people. In the new world order, Farnham and his family, being members of the race that nearly destroyed the world, are fit only to be slaves. After surviving a nuclear war, Farnham has no intention of being anyone’s slave, but the tyrannical power of the Chosen race reaches throughout the world. Even if he manages to escape, where can he run to?

Alternative covers

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