I read a book years ago in Junior High. I am wracking my brain trying to remember more details. It was possibly a young adult novel, since I read it in middle school or early high school in the late 70's or early 80's.

It was set in the future, but in a pseudo-medieval setting - something had happened and there was no electricity. I think also no records about history from before the event.

There was however a secret society that knew about electricity, science and history. Christianity was another one of the things that was known only to the secret group.

There was a death caused by electricity in a bath tub. It may have been accidental, or it could've been a murder. I'm not sure, but the electric item might have been a radio.

Sorry the details are so fuzzy, but it's been 30 years or so since I read it.

It isn't The Long Tomorrow, (I read it since someone suggested it), and A Canticle For Leibowitz sounds more complicated than what I remember and what I would imagine I'd have chosen to read back then.

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    So this was the early 80's when you read this? Was it a Young Adult novel, you think? Do you remember any artwork on the cover or inside to go with the story? Was this a short story in a comic or magazine? Thanks for providing more details. – Joey T Sep 8 '12 at 4:23
  • Not an exact match, but The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub, published in the early 1980s, was a novel that featured a parallel world (not in the future) called "The Territories" in which electricity was unknown. – Eugene Seidel Sep 16 '13 at 11:08
  • probable duplicate of scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/161221/… (which is newer but has an accepted answer) – Otis Sep 18 '19 at 14:57

Maybe 'The Prince In Waiting' series by John Christopher. The world has become medieval, with city-states each having their own king. A secret 'religious' order uses technology to control people.

The books are:

  • The Prince In Waiting
  • Beyond The Burning Lands
  • The Sword Of The Spirits.
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    This includes a plot line where someone is electrocuted in their bath, a "secret" society (the Seers) who still had access to technology, and is a least 35 years old - I read it as a teenager, and I'm 50. – Gerry Coll Sep 16 '13 at 7:29

I believe that the book you are looking for may be The Long Tomorrow, a post-nuclear war world where electricity and many other modern conveniences have been banned, but there is a way of thought that promotes the return of these things, sadly following this is likely to get you killed.

  • I don't think en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Long_Tomorrow_(novel) is it, judging by the plot description – Joey T Sep 8 '12 at 4:20
  • It was not The Long Tomorrow. The book I am looking for was a pseudo-medieval setting and Christianity had disappeared from society. Christianity was one of the things that was known only to the secret group that also knew about electricity and science and history. – Fuzzy Memories Sep 30 '12 at 7:58

Is the title you're looking for, Into the Forest ?

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    No, I read the book in the late 1970's or early 80's. Society had regressed and seemed more medieval. Thank you so much for trying to help! – Fuzzy Memories May 15 '12 at 3:28

Possibly A Canticle for Leibowitz, although I'm not sure I remember a bathtub murder?

  • Definitely not. – Beta Jun 15 '12 at 21:01
  • @Beta In what sense definitely? Specifically the bathtub murder? Or is there a more intrinsic point I am missing? – Dovetailed Jun 15 '12 at 21:43
  • Canticle just doesn't fit the description. Yes, it's in a post-apocalyptic future, but there's no secret society and no such murder. – Beta Jun 15 '12 at 22:45
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    Doesn't the entire monastic order of Liebowitz act to preserve and hide books/knowledge from the Simpletons? – Dovetailed Jun 15 '12 at 22:58

Sean McMullen's Greatwinter trilogy (warning - Wikipedia page contains many, many spoilers!) is set in Australia in a time when electricity does not work but where libraries, computers and an internet still exist. The books actually explain how and why electricity doesn't work.

The librarians (a martially-trained group who are required to fight duels for the honour of their computer) do know why electricity is failing and have plans to work around the situation. I don't remember a death by electrocution on a bath, however.

McMullen did a lot of modeling to ensure that the computers described in the book actually would work.


I don't believe the idea of someone being murdered by an electric item in bath water is a match, but much of the rest of what you said sounds like Ayn Rand's Anthem.

I read this as required reading during my middle school education in the mid-80's, and the protagonist rediscovers electricity. The World Council of Scholars could be the "secret society" you mentioned.


I don't think it would be Ravage by René Barjavel, but anyway, that's a great story about metal conductors losing their ability to transport electricity. A total loss of electricity is otherwise unrealistic, unless the story takes place somewhere everthing with a nervous system is dead.

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    If you don't think it is an answer, you should not answer it. Also, attacking the premise of an obviously fictional story is not very polite. – The Fallen Oct 5 '12 at 19:58
  • Well "Fuzzy Memories" isn't really sure and I was under the impression that he was maybe mixing memories. And i'm not attacking any premise, i don't why you said that. – Benoît Oct 5 '12 at 20:37
  • My bad. I read the two paragraphs independently. I thought you were attacking the ability of loss of electricity in a sci-fi story. I removed my DV – The Fallen Oct 5 '12 at 21:10

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