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y On the Beach single work   novel   science fiction  
Issue Details: First known date: 1957 1957
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'After a nuclear World War III has destroyed most of the globe, the few remaining survivors in southern Australia await the radioactive cloud that is heading their way and bringing certain death to everyone in its path. Among them is an American submarine captain struggling to resist the knowledge that his wife and children in the United States must be dead. Then a faint Morse code signal is picked up, transmitting from somewhere near Seattle, and Captain Towers must lead his submarine crew on a bleak tour of the ruined world in a desperate search for signs of life. Both terrifying and intensely moving, On the Beach is a remarkably convincing portrait of how ordinary people might face the most unimaginable nightmare'. Source: bookseller's website.

Adaptations

form y On the Beach John Paxton , Los Angeles : Stanley Kramer Productions , 1959 Z1421090 1959 single work film/TV science fiction

Set five years in the future (in 1964), On the Beach explores the lives of several Australians and some crew members of an American submarine following a nuclear war that has wiped out the population of the northern hemisphere. The submarine finds temporary safe haven in Australia, where life as usual covers growing despair that the winds will inevitably spread radiation to the southern hemisphere, bringing about the end of mankind. The principal characters are the submarine's commander, Captain Dwight Towers, who is in denial about the loss of his wife and children in the holocaust; the careworn but gorgeous Australian woman, Moira Davidson, who begins to fall for him; Julian Osborne, a conscious-stricken scientist whose dream is to win the Australian Grand Prix automobile race; and Lt. Cmdr. Peter Holmes, who is as concerned about his wife and newborn child's future as his own. All cope with the inevitability of death in their own way, but also with love, dignity, and affection. When a Morse code signal is picked up from San Diego, the submarine travels back to the United States' west coast.

form y On the Beach David Williamson , Bill Kerby , Australia : Southern Star Entertainment Edwards/Sullivan Productions , 2000 Z1606977 2000 single work film/TV science fiction

'Australia is the last place on earth still unaffected by the nuclear fallout of World War II. As the people of Melbourne await the deadly radiation clouds southerly drift, a few survivors from the northern hemisphere, including the US submarine SSN Charleston commanded by Lt. Commander Dwight Towers, make their way into the last safe port of call.'

Source: Screen Australia. (Sighted: 2/8/2012)

Notes

  • Epigraph: Stanzas from T. S. Eliot's 'The Hollow Men', including the final two lines:

    This is the way the world ends

    Not with a bang but a whimper.

  • Other formats: Also braille and sound recording.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Heinemann , 1957 .
      Extent: 312p.
      Reprinted: 1959
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Heinemann , 1957 .
      563705891372233303.jpg
      Extent: 312p.
      Reprinted: 1957 , 1958 , 1959 , 1960
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Ballantine Books , 1957 .
      Extent: 278p.
      Reprinted: 1974 , 1990 , 1997 , 1977
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      William Morrow , 1957 .
      Extent: 320p.
      Reprinted: 1966 , 1969 , 1986
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      The Book Club , 1958 .
      Extent: 242p.
      • Publisher: Pan
      London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Pan , 1966 .
      Extent: 266p.
      ISBN: 0330105701
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Heron Books , 1968 .
      Extent: 311p.
      Note/s:
      • Original illustrations by Charles Keeping.
    • Geneva,
      c
      Switzerland,
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Edito-Service , 1968 .
      Extent: 311p.
      Note/s:
      • Original illustrations by Charles Keeping.
    • Toronto, Ontario,
      c
      Canada,
      c
      Americas,
      :
      New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Bantam Books , 1968 .
      Extent: 278p.
      Reprinted: 1972
    • c
      Canada,
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Heron Books , 1970-1979 .
      Extent: 312p.
      Note/s:
      • Published by arrangement with William Heinemann. Original illustrations by Charles Keeping.
    • Mattituck, New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Amereon House , 1970-1979 .
      Extent: 311p.
  • Appears in:
    y A Nevil Shute Omnibus Nevil Shute , London : Heinemann , 1973 Z1423366 1973 selected work novel London : Heinemann , 1973
    • Leicestershire,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Thorpe , 1984 .
      ISBN: 0708982328
    • Cutchogue, New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Buccaneer Books , 1985 .
      Extent: 250p.
      ISBN: 0899683657
    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Dover , 1987 .
      Extent: 100p.
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Mandarin , 1990 .
      Extent: 320p.
      ISBN: 0749304081
  • Appears in:
    y A Town Like Alice ; The Far Country ; On the Beach Nevil Shute , London : Peerage Books , 1991 Z1423359 1991 selected work novel London : Peerage Books , 1991
    • Thirsk, Yorkshire,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      House of Stratus , 2000 .
      Extent: 296p.
      ISBN: 1842322761
Alternative title: Ventetid
Language: Danish
    • Copenhagen,
      c
      Denmark,
      c
      Scandinavia, Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Tonder , 1957 .
      Extent: 217p.
    • Copenhagen,
      c
      Denmark,
      c
      Scandinavia, Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Stjernebogerne , 1959 .
      Extent: 211p.
      Reprinted: 1961 , 1984 Alt title: Pa stranden.
    • Copenhagen,
      c
      Denmark,
      c
      Scandinavia, Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Vinten , 1968 .
      Extent: 209p.

Works about this Work

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Our Ground Zero : Future Wars and the Imagined Destruction of Australia's Cities Robin Gerster , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 75 no. 3 2016; (p. 11-32)
Utopia and Utopian Studies in Australia Andrew Milner , Verity Burgmann , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Utopian Studies , vol. 27 no. 2 2016; (p. 200-209)
'There are no independently Australian translations of Thomas More’s Utopia. Nor is there any equivalent in Australia to the Society for Utopian Studies in North America or the Utopian Studies Society in Europe. Nor are there any extant formal research groups or undergraduate or graduate courses in utopian studies. There are, however, distinctively Australian traditions of utopian writing, both eutopian and dystopian, and also a limited field of Australian utopian studies, essentially the work of individual scholars. This article attempts a brief description of both.' (Publication summary)
The Perfect Place to Set a Novel about the End of the World? Trends in Australian Post-Nuclear Fiction for Young Adults Elizabeth Braithwaite , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Bookbird , vol. 53 no. 2 2015; (p. 22-29)
'"Australia has a fascinating yet contradictory nuclear history," writes Jeffrey Lantis, and this ambiguity can be seen in the post-nuclear young adult fiction produced in that country. British, American and German speculative fiction for young readers set after nuclear disaster tends to suggest reasons for the disaster, and by implication, to position readers towards acting to stop the disaster happening in the real world. By contrast, Australian writers of both fantasy and speculative fiction tend to be less concerned with the cause of the disaster than with how the nuclear apocalypse can be used to explore a range of cultural issues which may appear to have little or nothing to do with nuclear disaster. Working with the notion of apocalypse as both revelation and, more popularly, as a violent "end event" (Curtis), this paper explores why young adult post-nuclear fiction produced in Australia tends to be different from that produced in Britain, the USA and Germany, and demonstrates how the nuclear disaster is used in a selection of Australian young adult post-disaster fiction to address cultural issues, particularly those dealing with Australia's Indigenous population, and with the contemporary treatment of refugees.' (Publication summary)
The Sea and Eternal Summer : An Australian Apocalypse Andrew Milner , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: Green Planets : Ecology and Science Fiction 2014; (p. 115-126)
Exile on Uranium Street: The Australian Nuclear Blues Robin Gerster , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 74 no. 1 2014; (p. 55-70)
Between the Motion and the Act Rebecca Giggs , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Telling Stories : Australian Life and Literature 1935–2012 2013; (p. 247-253)
Australia : An Alternat(or) Future Brendan Lee , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Making Worlds : Art and Science Fiction 2013; (p. 182-199)
The Fiction of the Future : Australian Science Fiction Russell Blackford , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Sold by the Millions : Australia's Bestsellers 2012; (p. 128-140)
'According to Russell Blackford 'commercial science fiction is the most international of literary forms.' He observes that 'Australian SF continues to flourish, even if it trails heroic fantasy in mass-market appeal.' Australian SF writers although published internationally, with a dedicated fan followings in USA, UK and Europe, were overlooked for a very long time by Australian multinational publishers. The international editions had to be imported and were then distributed in Australia (Congreve and Marquardt 8). Blackford in his chapter throws light on the history of Australian SF and observes how Australian SF writers, with their concern for the future, achieved a powerful synthesis in form and content. The progress of Australian SF, maturity of style in the work of younger writers, and massive worldwide sales make Blackford optimistic as he asserts that 'the best Australian writers in the genre will be prominent players on the world stage.' (Editor's foreword xii-xiii)
The Shield of Distance : Apocalypse in Australian Literature After 1945 Roslyn Weaver , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Apocalypse in Australian Fiction and Film : A Critical Study 2011; (p. 54-82)
'...One of the major themes of the Australian apocalyptic discourse is the nation's vulnerability to outside influence. In a sense, Australia's position on the edge of the globe not only excludes it from the world and its advantages but also shields the country from crises as a kind of utopian space free from harm, whereby the end of 'the world' can occur even if Australia still exists.

In the case studies in this chapter, the nation initially appears to be relatively utopian setting while war has destroyed the rest of the world, and the country's remote location seem to have protected it from the disaster elsewhere; yet this proves to be a false hope. Australia cannot escape catastrophe, and the authors suggest social and political complacency and indifference as the main reasons for collapse. In this way the novels function as warnings, using crisis to reveal dystopian futures. The associations these case studies make between disaster and Australia ultimately work to reinforce the concept that the nation is an apocalyptic space.' (54)
'All the Water in the Rough Rude Sea' Suvendrini Perera , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australia and the Insular Imagination : Beaches, Boarders, Boats, and Bodies 2009; (p. 33-51)
Shute the Messenger Gideon Haigh , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Monthly , June no. 24 2007; (p. 42-53)
'Yet 50 years ago this month, Shute published arguably Australia's most important novel - important in the sense of confronting a mass international audience with the defining issue of the age.' (Gideon Haigh)
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— Appears in: Our Patch : Enacting Australian Sovereignty Post-2001 2007; (p. 167-196) Imagined Australia : Reflections around the Reciprocal Construction of Identity between Australia and Europe 2009; (p. 57-87)
Australian Science Fiction : In Search of the 'Feel' Dorotta Guttfeld , 2007-2008 single work criticism
— Appears in: Zeitschrift fur Australienstudien , no. 21-22 2007-2008; (p. 65-72)
Solace by the Sea Fiona Capp , 2004 single work essay
— Appears in: The Age , 13 March 2004; (p. 8)
Book Packs a Bang as World Whimpers Robert Hefner , 2004 single work review
— Appears in: Canberra Sunday Times , 22 August 2004; (p. 19)

— Review of On the Beach Nevil Shute 1957 single work novel
The Joy of Text Patti Miller , 2003 single work essay
— Appears in: Good Weekend , 26 July 2003; (p. 39, 41)
Miller discusses the pleasure she derives from reading. She cites a number of books that she has particularly enjoyed, including The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James as well as some works by Australian authors.
Aussie Words : Chunder Fred Ludowyk , 2002 single work column
— Appears in: Ozwords , June vol. 9 no. 1 2002; (p. 6)
British by birth, Australian by write Jane Sullivan , 2001 single work criticism biography
— Appears in: The Sunday Age , 11 March 2001; (p. 10)
Untitled Culture Vulture , 1999 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian Magazine , 5-6 June 1999; (p. 56)

— Review of On the Beach Nevil Shute 1957 single work novel
Book Packs a Bang as World Whimpers Robert Hefner , 2004 single work review
— Appears in: Canberra Sunday Times , 22 August 2004; (p. 19)

— Review of On the Beach Nevil Shute 1957 single work novel
Reviewed Briefly 1957 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 25 September vol. 78 no. 4050 1957; (p. 59)

— Review of On the Beach Nevil Shute 1957 single work novel
Untitled 1957 single work review
— Appears in: New Republic , 12 August no. 137 1957; (p. 20)

— Review of On the Beach Nevil Shute 1957 single work novel
Untitled 1957 single work review
— Appears in: New York Herald Tribune Book Review , 28 July 1957; (p. 1)

— Review of On the Beach Nevil Shute 1957 single work novel
Untitled 1957 single work review
— Appears in: San Francisco Chronicle , 24 July 1957; (p. 19)

— Review of On the Beach Nevil Shute 1957 single work novel
Untitled 1957 single work review
— Appears in: Saturday Review , 27 July no. 60 1957; (p. 12)

— Review of On the Beach Nevil Shute 1957 single work novel
Untitled 1957 single work review
— Appears in: The New York Times , 28 July 1957; (p. 4)

— Review of On the Beach Nevil Shute 1957 single work novel
A Heart-Wrenching Tale of a Psychopathic Murderer and His Prey Stan Barney , 1991 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 5 May 1991; (p. 23)

— Review of On the Beach Nevil Shute 1957 single work novel
Untitled Culture Vulture , 1999 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian Magazine , 5-6 June 1999; (p. 56)

— Review of On the Beach Nevil Shute 1957 single work novel
The Joy of Text Patti Miller , 2003 single work essay
— Appears in: Good Weekend , 26 July 2003; (p. 39, 41)
Miller discusses the pleasure she derives from reading. She cites a number of books that she has particularly enjoyed, including The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James as well as some works by Australian authors.
The Golden Age of Australian Science Fiction Sean McMullen , 1995 single work column
— Appears in: Science Fiction : A Review of Speculative Literature , vol. 12 no. 3 (Issue 36) 1995; (p. 3-28)
Solace by the Sea Fiona Capp , 2004 single work essay
— Appears in: The Age , 13 March 2004; (p. 8)
Shute the Messenger Gideon Haigh , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Monthly , June no. 24 2007; (p. 42-53)
'Yet 50 years ago this month, Shute published arguably Australia's most important novel - important in the sense of confronting a mass international audience with the defining issue of the age.' (Gideon Haigh)
Mr Shute's Apocalypse David Moody , 1959 single work
— Appears in: The Melbourne Critical Review , no. 2 1959; (p. 100-105)
The Mind that Conceived On the Beach David Martin , 1960 single work criticism biography
— Appears in: Meanjin , June vol. 19 no. 2 1960; (p. 193-200)
Dying to Come to Australia : Asylum Seekers, Tourists and Death Jon Stratton , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: Our Patch : Enacting Australian Sovereignty Post-2001 2007; (p. 167-196) Imagined Australia : Reflections around the Reciprocal Construction of Identity between Australia and Europe 2009; (p. 57-87)
Australian Science Fiction : In Search of the 'Feel' Dorotta Guttfeld , 2007-2008 single work criticism
— Appears in: Zeitschrift fur Australienstudien , no. 21-22 2007-2008; (p. 65-72)
The Fiction of the Future : Australian Science Fiction Russell Blackford , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Sold by the Millions : Australia's Bestsellers 2012; (p. 128-140)
'According to Russell Blackford 'commercial science fiction is the most international of literary forms.' He observes that 'Australian SF continues to flourish, even if it trails heroic fantasy in mass-market appeal.' Australian SF writers although published internationally, with a dedicated fan followings in USA, UK and Europe, were overlooked for a very long time by Australian multinational publishers. The international editions had to be imported and were then distributed in Australia (Congreve and Marquardt 8). Blackford in his chapter throws light on the history of Australian SF and observes how Australian SF writers, with their concern for the future, achieved a powerful synthesis in form and content. The progress of Australian SF, maturity of style in the work of younger writers, and massive worldwide sales make Blackford optimistic as he asserts that 'the best Australian writers in the genre will be prominent players on the world stage.' (Editor's foreword xii-xiii)
'All the Water in the Rough Rude Sea' Suvendrini Perera , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australia and the Insular Imagination : Beaches, Boarders, Boats, and Bodies 2009; (p. 33-51)
The Shield of Distance : Apocalypse in Australian Literature After 1945 Roslyn Weaver , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Apocalypse in Australian Fiction and Film : A Critical Study 2011; (p. 54-82)
'...One of the major themes of the Australian apocalyptic discourse is the nation's vulnerability to outside influence. In a sense, Australia's position on the edge of the globe not only excludes it from the world and its advantages but also shields the country from crises as a kind of utopian space free from harm, whereby the end of 'the world' can occur even if Australia still exists.

In the case studies in this chapter, the nation initially appears to be relatively utopian setting while war has destroyed the rest of the world, and the country's remote location seem to have protected it from the disaster elsewhere; yet this proves to be a false hope. Australia cannot escape catastrophe, and the authors suggest social and political complacency and indifference as the main reasons for collapse. In this way the novels function as warnings, using crisis to reveal dystopian futures. The associations these case studies make between disaster and Australia ultimately work to reinforce the concept that the nation is an apocalyptic space.' (54)
On the Beach William Dunlea , 1957 single work criticism
— Appears in: Commonweal , 23 August vol. 66 no. 1957; (p. 524)
On the Beach 1977 single work criticism
— Appears in: Survey of contemporary literature, vol. 8 1977; (p. 5553-5555)
On the Beach : Apocalyptic Hedonism and the Origins of Postmodernism Andrew Milner , 1993 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Studies , November no. 7 1994; (p. 190-204)
Modernity and Belatedness in Australian Cultural Discourse David Carter , 1994 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , Summer (1994-1995) vol. 54 no. 4 1994; (p. 6-18)
On the Beach i "Nuclear war in northern zones", John Broomhall , 1983 single work poetry satire
— Appears in: Oz Shrink Lit. 1983; (p. 52)
Trustee From the Toolroom 1977 single work criticism
— Appears in: Survey of contemporary literature, vol. 12 1977; (p. 7800-7802)
Apocalypse Australia Andrew Milner , 1993 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , August no. 153 1993; (p. 36-37)
British by birth, Australian by write Jane Sullivan , 2001 single work criticism biography
— Appears in: The Sunday Age , 11 March 2001; (p. 10)
Between the Motion and the Act Rebecca Giggs , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Telling Stories : Australian Life and Literature 1935–2012 2013; (p. 247-253)
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