Watchmen, a popular graphic novel by Alan Moore, is one novel that discusses the topic of nuclear weapons. It’s set in the 1980s in an alternate reality, although the United States still has a tense relationship with the Soviet Union in this world. Moore places superheroes into this Cold War-era environment and examines just how they would react to an impending nuclear crises. The graphic novel includes superheroes such as Doctor Manhattan, a man given that name because the government wants him to create the same type of fear that the atomic bomb does and Adrian Veidt, a man who seeks to stop the fear of a nuclear attack between the Soviet Union and the United States. The main symbol of the novel is a smiley face with a splatter of blood positioned in such a way that it resembles the hands on the Doomsday Clock, a symbolic clock that is meant to represent just how close humanity is to a nuclear catastrophe. The mixture of superheroes and nuclear weapons seems to prove the point that humanity may not be better off even if these superheroes really existed. Humans are still responsible for their own fate.
Nuclear Weapons also exist in the popular dystopian novel “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury. At the end of the book, jets fly over the city and drop nuclear weapons on the city. The city is obliterated and one of the characters, Granger, explains that mankind is similar to the tale of the phoenix. “And it looks like the we’re doing the same thing, over and over, but we've got one damn thing the Phoenix never had. We know the damn silly thing we just did.” (Bradbury) Bradbury seems to be making the point that mankind repeats itself despite knowing the horrors of the past. After the horrific atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it would have made perfect sense for nuclear weapons to cease to exist. Despite the tragedy that followed the bombings, even more countries gained access to nuclear weapons despite knowing the horrible outcome of using them.
Watchmen and Fahrenheit 451 are just two books that explore the use and presence of nuclear weapons. Even Dr. Seuss touched on the subject with his children’s book “The Butter Battle Book”. Dr. Seuss uses the fictional races, the Yooks and the Zooks, to satirize countries that compete in the arms race. Popular Culture represents the taste of the masses and general apocalyptic fiction seems to be on the rise as news stories about North Korea, Iran and other countries continue to come out.