The Folk of the Fringe
ou're never really prepared for how quickly the world can come down around
your ears. You spend your days working, watching TV, shopping at the same old grocery store,
mowing the same lawn, washing the same dishes. And then one day, without warning, there's
no water in the faucet, no shows on TV, no food in the stores, no job to work at. Looters run
through the streets. People fire on strangers who just happen to walk through the
neighborhood. Your children have caught a terrible disease. Someone is shouting and
knocking on your door. You'd trade your whole house for one gallon of gas so you could get
away, your American Express gold card for a loaded pistol so you could dare to open the door.
Civilized people are never prepared for the collapse of civilization.
But some do survive. Some towns hold together, some neighborhoods help each
other out, some communities follow the old rules of human behavior in spite of all the terror
and danger surrounding them.
The stories in this book take place in the near future. Only six missiles flew in
World War III, but that was enough to change the climate drastically. Biological weapons
killed millions, famine killed even more, and now in the ruins of America, a few surviving
communities are trying to hold onto enough of civilization that their children might grow up
in peace, and their grandchildren in plenty.
One such community is forming on the shores of the Mormon Sea-the Great Salt
Lake, now swelling to rival the size of the ancient Lake Bonneville. Word has spread: Head
for the Rocky Mountains. There's peace there, and enough to eat, and thousands make the
dangerous trek across the plains. Outriders come and meet them; relief organizations feed the
refugees; the largest land reclamation project in history gives them a place to live, a job to do.
Yet even in a land of peace and order, there are some people who just don't fit in. They search
for a niche that belongs to them, but learn, again and again, that they just don't belong. Not
right here. Not right now.
These are the folks of the fringe. All they want is to go home.
Copyright © 1989 Orson Scott Card
A Tor Book - Published by Tom Doherty Associates, Inc.
Cover Painting by Glen Bellamy
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