I’m thinking about “Level 7,” an apocalyptic 1959 novel that had quite an effect on me when I read it as a boy 📚

”Level 7,” by a Ukrainian-born Israeli writer named Mordecai Roshwald, is written in the first person by a modern soldier whose name was taken away from him by the state, and is now designated only as X-127. He lives in an underground military complex, and his sole job is the push the buttons that launch the missiles in the event of nuclear war. X-127’s nation, and that nation’s enemy, are intentionally left unidentified.

The residents‘ lives are regimented and standardized, with the people reduced to little more than machines themselves. And yet I found X-127’s little world fascinating, and weirdly appealing.

Next paragraph is a spoiler—cut-and-paste it into Rot-13.com to read:

Va gur zvqqyr bs gur abiry, gur rarzl angvbaf unir gurve ahpyrne jne, naq rirelobql ba gur fhesnpr vf xvyyrq. Gura gur ahpyrne ernpgbe gung cbjref gur haqretebhaq pbzcyrk ortvaf gb yrnx enqvngvba, naq gur erfvqragf ortva gb qvr bar ol bar. K-127 vf gur ynfg fheivibe, naq ur qvrf ng gur raq bs gur abiry, fpenjyvat gur svany jbeqf vagb uvf wbheany. Gung ohttrq zr jura V jnf n obl—vs gur ynfg zna ba Rnegu vf qrnq, jub’f ernqvat guvf svefg-crefba obbx. Vaqrrq, V yrnea abj gung guvf cbvag obgurerq Ebfujnyq, gbb; gur bevtvany abiry unq na nccraqvk fhccbfrqyl jevggra ol Znegvna nepurbybtvfgf jub pnzr gb Rnegu naq sbhaq gur znahfpevcg.

Roshwald emigrated to America and died in Maryland in 2015.

Mitch W @MitchW