A Novel of the Atomic Age


S.  G. Scott


$22.00 / ISBN-13: 978-1-58790-143-0 / 418 pages / paperback / 6” x 9”


Fiction / Nove;

Similar in dynamics to California’s “Gold Rush” were demographic, environmental and financial impacts from the trillions of dollars the Department of Defense disbursed into California during the Cold War. While the gold rush era was a frenzy of exploitation, the “defense rush” was the opposite – a tidal wave of fortune poured into the State, and it became emblematic of what President Eisenhower called the “Military-Industrial Complex.” This novel links these two exploitative times through Fernville, a town whose roots are from the 19th-century gold rush, but its sustenance is the 20th-century missile rush – and its characters, despite distractions of romance and mystery over thirty years, cannot ignore the glint from gold and the shadow cast by uranium. The novel takes place in 1955 and 1986, two watershed years of the Cold War. If whimsey and a slight parody tend to intrude in the distant narratives of 1955, they are brought up short by the hard edge of reality in those of 1986. The characters find their relationships drastically change over those years, through the pitfalls of sex and uranium. NIKE, an easy read in spite of its troll through the ugly years of the Cold War, gives a slanted and wicked portrayal of life inside the secret missile industry in 1955. A murder mystery parallels a more serious narrative – that greed, hubris and character flaw, along with the playing out of those dark and lurking contingencies, can potentially visit disaster upon both an individual and a society. “A rollicking but provocative saga across three decades of the cold war!”


S. G. Scott grew up in California’s Gold Rush country and  developed and interest in its history and environment which provide the backdrop to this novel. His early career was in the defense industry working on secret missile and satellite projects. He then worked for NASA, involved in the design of atmospheric research experiments. Scott’s experience in the defense industry, and his association with scientists who spoke of a possible nuclear winter prompted this novel. Its drama was inspired by the politics and personalities behind the uranium adventure.

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