Study Guide

Alas, Babylon What's Up With the Ending?

By Pat Frank

What's Up With the Ending?

After a year spent struggling to survive, the residents of Fort Repose are getting something they haven't in a long time: visitors. It starts with planes flying low over the city, and culminates with a military helicopter landing on Randy's property. It's a dream come true.

These guests, soldiers performing a recon mission in the so-called "Contaminated Zones," are shocked by the sight of Fort Repose—it's in better shape than most towns under government control. That's a testament to the persistence and toughness of Randy and his crew.

They also offer something that would've sounded like a godsend eleven months ago: immediate evacuation. The soldiers have permission to shuttle survivors back to government-controlled land, they explain, and they can start with Randy and co.

Not a single person takes them up on the offer. As Randy explains,

This was [his] town and these were his people and he knew he would not leave them. (13.90)

They've spent too long rebuilding this community to leave it now.

As a ironic post-script, we finally learn who won the war between the United States and Soviet Union. It was America. This, of course, is a bitter irony, as even in victory the United States loses most of its population.

But that's exactly the point—nuclear war has no winners. Sure, one side might be a little more dead than the other, but that doesn't mean much to the survivors left behind.

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