Backmatter Part 3: Thunder Road

High Concept: Dieselpunk with the governors filed off. Big action involving big people doing big stuff.

Genre: Slow-Apocalypse Cyberpunk/pulp postapocalyptic fic with fewer mutants and bigger engines

Overview: World War III started on Christmas Eve, 1954 when the MacArthur administration ordered a pre-emptive A-bomb strike on Leningrad. It ended with a tense peace treaty signed aboard the locomotive-city Stalin 1 as it roared across the tundra.

That peace lasted eight months, until a mushroom cloud appeared over Wichita and the first Mobile Expeditionary Force made its beachhead in Siberia, leaving the ground blackened under the wheels of a thousand souped-up Jeeps and warcycles.

Fifty-two years and six World Wars later have turned the USSR into a network of switching stations from which locomotive-cities journey on rails to remain one step ahead of The Bomb. In the U.S., costal megalopali churn out war materiel to shovel into the Western Front of Siberia and the atomic battlefields of central Europe while the Information Superhighway keeps inventors, innovators and engineers plugged in and on the move, under the all-seeing eye of the enigmatic AI, BURMA-Shave.

The bomb-ravaged American Heartland has been largely left out of the equation, falling prey to unchecked corporate land-barons and motorcycle-riding, nazidope-smoking MEF veterans ravaging the wastes. Some small towns have become fortresses, while others have followed the Soviet model and taken to the road, with clans roaming from one corp-compound to the next. Route 66, Interstate 70 and a dozen other superhighways have become the new frontier, where fortunes can be made with grit, cunning and a steady hand.

System: Ex Machina or Savage Worlds, depending on my need for moving pieces
Illustrator: Steven Sanders
Director: Sam Raimi
Potential casting: Adam Baldwin, Billy Bob Thornton, Cynthia Ettinger, Gina Torres
Royalties paid in advance to: John Wagner and Carlos Ezuqerra, who did it bigger, as well as Jared Sorensen, whose OcTAne does it quicker and cleaner.

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