Doomsday Morning by C. L. Moore is a well-crafted science fiction novel about the suppression of a revolution in a post-apocalyptic dystopian America. Rohan is a has-been, washed-up actor retrieved from his dreary new life as a “cropper,” personally recruited for a vague mission by the head of Comus (Communications U.S.). Here’s how the author described Comus: “You can’t imagine life without Comus. Comus is everybody. It’s the newspapers, the schools, the entertainment. It’s the communications-theory boys who quantify language, the public relations people, the psychologists, the artists in all media who take the prescriptions the computers feed them and build sugar-coated truths that will cure any social bellyache before society knows it has one. You can’t get along without Comus. Life would be too unpredictable. Society would crumble like cheap cement.”
Rohan is to lead a theater troupe on tour through California, where there have been uprisings, ostensibly to spread subtle pro-Comus propaganda; but as Rohan coaches the actors through rehearsals of the specially designed play, he comes to suspect an even more sinister ulterior motive and reconsider his loyalties.
My only dissatisfaction with Doomsday Morning is that, for my taste, the style seems in some places repetitive with extensive description, particularly of Rohan’s often redundant ruminations and dreams; these passages sometimes lost my attention. However, as Rohan connects with rebels and learns of an “anti-Com” device, the novel gradually picks up pace, and the importance of these and other seemingly trivial aspects of the narrative clarify and come together in a way that makes sense in the action-packed climax; hence my earlier assertion this is a well-crafted science fiction novel.