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City of Endless Night
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City of Endless Night

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Author: Milo Hastings
Publisher: Hesperus Press, 2014
Hyperion, 1974
Original English publication, 1920
Series: Hyperion Classics of Science Fiction: Book 19
Book Type: Novel
Genre: Science-Fiction
Sub-Genre Tags: Alternate History (SF)
Apocalyptic/Post-Apocalyptic
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Synopsis

Written shortly after the guns of World War I fell silent, CITY OF ENDLESS NIGHT presents a strange yet well-conceived vision of the future that might have been, had the Great War ended differently. The premise is that allied bombing in an extended WWI had driven the Germans in Berlin underground into a series of bunkers and subterranean factories. The Germans quickly discovered ways of surviving under these conditions, while the Allies failed to figure out any means of ferreting them out, and the war turned into a frustrating stalemate.

The year is 2041. Since the end of WWI, Berlin has been an enormous subterranean city, home to 300 million citizens who have never seen the sun, and presided over by the autocratic Hohenzollern dynasty. Every aspect of life is regimented; from controlled rations that are issued on the basis of work-for-food, to a press that works exclusively under the auspices of the Information Service. Christianity has been abolished and all breeding is carried out on the basis of strict eugenic principles. Lyman De Forrest, an American chemist, discovers a way of neutralizing Berlin's defenses and, assuming the identity of a dead German man, enters the city to discover its hidden truths. The first outsider for decades to enter the forbidden metropolis, he is horrified to find a society where women are kept in isolation for breeding or the pleasuring of high status men. Can De Forrest escape this living tomb?

Published shortly after the end of WWI, this tremendous example of early dystopian science fiction is thought to have been the inspiration behind Fritz Lang's Metropolis.


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