L. Ron Hubbard’s Final Blackout was first published in April 1940 as World War II raged across the face of Europe. Originally entitled “The Unkillables,” the novel is consistently ranked among the ten greatest works of science fiction’s Golden Age, rightfully compared to Orwell’s 1984, and certainly just as chilling.
Acclaimed as the exemplar of “future war,” and as a trendsetting “alternate history,” it is at its core antiwar and inevitably sparked no small controversy on that eve of international mobilization.
In a Europe laid waste by decades of unending warfare, one brigade of invincibles is led by a battle-tested strategist known only as “the Lieutenant.” In the end, it will be up to this band of survivors and the Lieutenant—whose conviction is that an individual can make a difference—to salvage what is left of their lives and their civilization before all is lost.
From its unforgettable opening lines, “He was born in an air-raid shelter─and his first wail was drowned by the shriek of bombs, the thunder of falling walls and the coughing chatter of machine guns raking the sky,” to its shattering conclusion, Final Blackout and the Lieutenant forever remain icons of science fiction literature.