View Full Version : Nuclear Winter in "The Road"

2008-Sep-09, 07:53 PM
If you haven't read Cormac McCarthy's The Road (http://www.amazon.com/Road-Cormac-McCarthy/dp/0307265439) but you're planning to read it, then you probably don't want to read this thread.

So, to get to it, the landscape in the novel has been almost completely sterilized by the nuclear war and the nuclear winter that followed it. The two main characters in the book very rarely run across other human beings, and even more rarely encounter any other kind of organism. They come across one emaciated dog, a few mushrooms, and a small bit of moss or something. There literally are no living plants or wild animals of any kind, except for a batch of snakes hibernating underground that some other people dig up, or at least they aren't mentioned. No insects or anything. Every body of water that they encounter seems completely devoid of any kind of life. I started to get the impression that even microbes were are nearly extinct because there doesn't seem to be much infection or sickness, although at one point the boy does get a fever.

It's a great book and a very haunting depiction, but could a nuclear winter really sterilize the surface of the Earth so completely?

2008-Sep-09, 08:22 PM
Not likely, on a long time scale

Earth has gone through events that make nukes look pretty puny and has come back. It may take a million years, but things would end up green again.

On the other hand, for the short time scale, your depicition may be a bit more true than most would like.

2008-Sep-10, 05:45 AM
They come across one emaciated dog, a few mushrooms, and a small bit of moss or something.
Which begs the question, what did the dog eat?

2008-Sep-10, 04:17 PM
Maybe the dog ate bits from the human corpses that seemed to be in plentiful supply, or maybe it belonged to one of the cannibal marauder groups.