All references to government and politics are purposefully general in order to create a more universal message about the dehumanization of nuclear war. I disagree completely. As one might imagine, Level 7 plunges its occupants into periods of extreme depression. One of the most powerful scenes recounts the discovery of the length of the tape of music.

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All references to government and politics are purposefully general in order to create a more universal message about the dehumanization of nuclear war.

I disagree completely. As one might imagine, Level 7 plunges its occupants into periods of extreme depression. One of the most powerful scenes recounts the discovery of the length of the tape of music. However, after twelve days the residents discover that the tape repeats itself. Yet another reminder of the repetitive passage of time. One of the more surreal moments happens when the loudspeaker informs the residents that they should consider getting married.

Of course, such a marriage will be like none on the surface due to the restricted living arrangements.

For Roshwald, the character of x exemplifies the dehumanizing aspects of nuclear war. He has been trained to follow orders, orders as simple as pressing a button that will result in the annihilation of millions.

He, and most others underground, rarely question their role. Over the course of the novel the purpose of the other six levels is described in an educational program by the loudspeaker. Level 6 is for other military personnel. The other five levels are for various important civilians and, the closer one gets to the surface, the less provisions are provided. The situations often verge on comical. For example, a philosopher characters spouts endless rhetorical about the perfect state of existence underground.

Be happy here. I recommend Level 7 for all fans of classic science fiction, especially works on Cold War themes. Absolutely fascinating.

Whenever you write about a book, it makes me want to read it immediately. But, hey, who gets jacket blurbs from Bertrand Russell! Very, very cool. There is a possibility that the astounding series of events depicted by the author will in fact occur a few years from now. It also contains specific progressive details of his created universe contrasting the monotony of life on Level 7. Sad AND exciting? I highly recommend it — despite the authors very condemnatory attitude towards some of the sci-fi from the era he hates Heinlein a delightful scholarly be warned analysis of a fascinating topic.

That sounds fantastic. Reading it makes me think of the novel We by Yevgeny Zamyatin in its protagonist who is known by a number and in the manner in which the reader is led to care about him despite his dedication to what we see as a terrifying government.

It is the psychological implications that make these kind of stories engaging. Loved We. I had not heard of this book, your review makes me want to find it. I would think that since there is no reference to politics it would be more well known. I did look up the author, at 91 years old he is apparently still teaching at the U of Minnesota.

Definitely going onto the TBR pile. Level 7 functions because of its political neutrality, the simple story, and the many surreal moments — a delightful and terrifying nuclear fable. What is your favorite late 50s atomic themed novel? But the plot of this one sounds pretty great. I usually buy two, sometimes even three books for that price!

Well, I recommend the more acknowledged classics first so you get a sense of the era. A Canticle for Leibowitz is generally considered one of the best…. And is probably quite cheap. On The Beach has a film adaptation which is ok as well…. I lent it to my non-sf-reading brother and not only did he fly through it, so did his classics-reading wife, and both raved about it. The stripped-down, methodical reporting style has a cumulative effect; the last 20 or so pages are just devastating in their simply-written bleakness.

So glad to have found your blog where you review these terrific older books with perceptive eyes and mind. Thanks for the kind words. But yes, I do try to showcase works which deserve wider audiences…. Compton, Brian N. Shockingly awful. Perhaps that was the point? The Paris Hilton inflection…. Holy cow, what a bummer! But yeah, unfortunately, I already know what happens in the story… Alas, read too many reviews of it online.

And Chaos Died is much more New Wave experimentation — it is also disturbing etc. But, uses, let us say, a very over the top style to convey its point — from the first page I glanced at in We Who are About To… she definitely toned down her extravagant prose. Thank you so much for the review of this book! It should be interesting to see what sticks out now vs when I was 10 or I loved it.

But then again they have been selected from the masses for such a mission so they must be of an unusual character makeup anyway.

Even after the point when the buttons were pushed that launched the weapons I was still thinking ahead how the wizard behind the curtain would reveal himself and the joke he was playing on the participants.

Wrong again. Dick short stories. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Uncredited cover for the edition 4. Like this: Like Loading Fantastic novel! He wrote very little — which is a shame…. What does he teach? Great summary and review. This is going on my reading list. Pingback: Level 7, by Mordecai Roshwald gaping blackbird.

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Level 7 is a science fiction novel by the Ukrainian-born Israeli writer Mordecai Roshwald. X fulfills the role of 'push-button' offensive initiator of his nation's nuclear weapons capacity against an unspecified enemy. It later emerges that the orders given have been wholly automatic due to a launch on warning strategy, [2] the war has taken place as a series of automated electronic responses to an initial accident. X and his fellow shelter inhabitants belatedly learn the criteria that had determined admission to the shelters: civilians were granted only an illusion of protection, while government officials and military personnel were granted significantly more security. Those who were assigned to launch the nuclear missiles, and their support staff, were selected for their ability to behave like machines, [3] yet are counted upon to preserve the human spirit and rebuild the human race. X and his colleagues attempt to carry on human life, but discover that institutions such as marriage and preparations for child-rearing have been hollowed out by conditions and attitudes in the antiseptic underground.


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Level 7 A novel by Mordecai Roshwald. Level 7 is the diary of Officer X, who is assigned to stand guard at the "Push Buttons," a machine devised to activate the atomic destruction of the enemy, in the country's deepest bomb shelter. Four thousand feet underground, Level 7 has been built to withstand the most devastating attack and to be self-sufficient for five hundred years. Selected according to a psychological profile that assures their willingness to destroy all life on Earth, those who are sent down may never return. Originally published in , and with over , copies sold, this powerful dystopian novel remains a horrific vision of where the nuclear arms race may lead and is an affirmation of human life and love. Level 7 merits comparison to Huxley's A Brave New World and Orwell's and should be considered a must-read by all science fiction fans. Genre: Science Fiction.

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