In Orson Scott Card's classic apocalyptic science fiction novel The Folk of the Fringe, only a few nuclear weapons fell in America--the weapons that destroyed the nation were biological and, ultimately, cultural.
But in the chaos, the famine, the plague, there existed a few pockets of order. The strongest of them was the state of Deseret, formed from the vestiges of Utah, Colorado, and Idaho. The climate has changed. The Great Salt Lake has filled up to prehistoric levels. But there, on the fringes, brave, hardworking pioneers are making the desert bloom again.
A civilization cannot be reclaimed by powerful organizations, or even by great men alone. It must be renewed by individual men and women, one by one, working together to make a community, a nation, a new America.
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Best known for his novels, multiple Hugo- and Nebula-winner Card has written only a handful of short stories, collected in the present volume. Set in a post-World War III America, they again demonstrate Card is a natural raconteur, capable of vividly fleshing out his original characters in a few strong strokes, without hitting a false note or lapsing into sentimentality. Like Walter M. Miller Jr.'s A Canticle for Leibowitz , of which this book is reminiscent, the stories are set against a background of the efforts to rebuild civilization by people of a religious community--in this case, Mormons. But unlike Miller's, Card's scenario is a bit more optimistic and is marked by an ecological consciousness that has been born in the hard decades between the publication of the two books. This is one of the strongest SF story collections of the past few years. The five tales complement each other and collectively have the impact of a novel. One of the entries, ``Pageant Wagon,'' is published here for the first time.