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This has bugged me for years so I'm thrilled to find this site. I read this in the 70s. I don't remember if it was a novel or short story. It might have been young adult.

Most of the story takes place in Denver, although everywhere is now seriously polluted. Because Denver is in a "bowl", bad inversion days cause masses of people to die. Protestors picket the airport to stop airplanes, which add to the problem. Few people fly anymore.

The protagonist is a man searching for those who will save the planet through their extraordinary knowledge. He ends up finding two kids, whom he takes to a secret location nicknamed "Magic" -- it is populated by the best and the brightest young adults. They are the ones who will save the world.

That's all I remember. I REALLY want to find this story again. Thanks!

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    Answered, but not accepted, here: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/27512/…
    – Buzz
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 15:39
  • Darn. Beat me to it. :)
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 15:40
  • @Buzz the best course of action is to answer here as well, pointing to the other answer, so Janet can accept here — if it is indeed the same book.
    – SQB
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 19:34
  • The answer I linked to is definitely the book Janet is looking for. The "Magic" place pretty much clinches that. It looks probably like the answer to the earlier question too, but that's not quite so certain.
    – Buzz
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 21:49

1 Answer 1

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This appears to be Nature's End by Whitley Strieber and James W. Kunetka. According to this synopsis

Synopsis

The year is 2025. Immense numbers of people swarm the globe. In countless, astonishing ways, technology has triumphed—but at a staggering cost. Starvation is rampant. City dwellers gasp for breath under blackened skies. And tottering on the brink of environmental collapse, the world may be ending...

It is a future that could well be ours. In their second shocking and fascinating portrait of America's possible destiny, Whitley Strieber and James Kunetka have again written a breathless thriller, a book that gives us an important warning and ultimately a message of hope.

Imagine cities with blackened air, where men, women, and children gasp for breath. Imagine a countryside with almost no trees... a land where severe droughts, dust storms, and forest fires rage. Imagine an America of astonishing achievements — but so overpopulated and ravaged by its own excesses that it totters on the brink of the destiny predicted long ago in Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.

This is the world that confronts us in Nature’s End — a world only a few years from now. With all the vivid detail, compassion, and compelling suspense of their New York Times bestseller, the highly acclaimed Warday, Whitley Strieber and James Kunetka now bring us another riveting novel based on scientific fact. Where their earlier book depicted the grim reality of nuclear war, Nature’s End portrays, the same powerful documentary style, a devastation even more likely to occur: total environmental collapse. It is a crisis that will endanger the entire globe — and demand all the creativity, strength, and courage of humankind.

As Nature’s End opens, the horrifying proposals of Dr. Gupta Singh are gathering momentum. A frightening demagogue with a saintly Gandhi-like demeanor Singh has dared to voice the unthinkable: the voluntary suicide of one third of the world’s people.

Threatened by poisoned air, water, and food that no longer can support the too rapidly growing populace, nation after nation has joined the Depopulationist International. And now, as the United States stands on the edge of environmental disaster, terrified voters elect a Depopulationist majority in Congress.

Time is running out; only a handful of Americans can stop Singh and expose the danger of his views before his Manifesto becomes the law of the land and millions die. Led by journalist John Sinclair, they find themselves on the run, speeding toward catastrophe, with their lives — and the lives of all humanity — hanging perilously in the balance.

As Singh fights back, in one master stroke of psychological warfare after another, their hope lies in the coded data files of Sinclair’s dead son, Tom, and a mysterious clue: the secret of mankind’s future has something to do with children and a place called Magic.

Here are the horrors — and the wonders — of a technology that is both destroying and advancing humanity. Here is a mystery, a quest, a thriller — an absorbing novel about a future that may someday be ours.

The place called "Magic" with the children is present.

Moreover, this answer identifies the book as taking place in Denver, and that Magic is "a secret community of hyper-intelligent children and uplifted apes."

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