It was a short story anthology. Read the book in 2005-2007 when it was thrown out to be recycled. Can only remember two of the stories. Book cover might have been blue.

One story deals with the after math of a war with a sergeant recalling his time with a lieutenant with no name. Goes into details about how machines would break down and with Europe pretty much destroyed by the war they cant get replacements. No planes fly. So what artillery they have is towed by horse. I think eventually the lieutenant turns on his command when he launches an attack to take London for himself. The sergeant just refers to him as his lieutenant.

Second story is about earth being so polluted that the air is barely breathable. There are two smog clouds in the sky that makes the air toxic so you have to have some sort of oxygen gear. The story focuses on a man, not sure if he was a detective or a reporter. Hes following the story/case about an illegal car using gasoline since all vehicles have to be electric or some form of non combustible engine. He is sent on a wild goose chase to a garage where there are a lot of old model cars but finds out they have been modified to electric. Eventually he goes back to the source that sent him there to realize it was the man that gave him the information. Guns are drawn and he kills him when he just wanted to make him surrender. At the end the smog clouds combine making all air umbreathable so he takes the gas powered car and his girl for one last ride on the open road before the end.

Spent a good amount of time trying to find this book. Looked up a lot of Isaac Asimov but I could have missed it in there. Any help would be a appreciated.

  • 1
    I reverted your title edit, as there is no real need to write "Found" in it; the green background to the number of answers already identifies questions with an accepted answer.
    – lfurini
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 6:28

2 Answers 2


first story sounds like Final Blackout by L Ron Hubbard - link is to the wiki page Final Blackout - Got nothing for the second story, sorry

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    Thanks, that was the story. Swear I read it in a collection but could have been two books I read that day. Old age must be catching up to me.
    – Barknight
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 2:14
  • Wait.....Ron Hubbard.....the Scientologist?! Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 3:39

The second story is East Wind, West Wind by Frank M. Robinson. There is the gunfight you describe at the end:

It was an accident, there was no way to help it. I aimed low and to the side, to knock him off his feet, and at the same time he decided to do what I had done and sprawl flat in the shadows. If he had stayed on his feet, the small rocket would have brushed him at knee level. As it was, it smashed his chest.

He crumpled and I ran up and caught him before he could hit the door. He twisted slightly in my arms so he was staring at the car as he died. I broke into tears. I couldn’t help that, either. I would remember the things Dave had done for me long after I had forgotten that one night he had tried to kill me. A threat to kill is unreal—actual blood and shredded flesh has its own reality.

And it ends:

And that was pretty funny because morning was never coming. The recording had said dryly that the tagged radioactive chimney exhausts had arrived, that the dragon’s breath had circled the globe and the winds blowing in were as dirty as the air already over the city. Oh, it wouldn’t happen right away, but it wouldn’t be very long, either ...


I ran my hands around the wheel, then located the starter switch on the steering column. I jabbed in the key and closed my eyes and listened to the scream of the motor and felt its power shake the car and wash over me and thunder through the room. The movie at the club had been my only lesson, but in its own way it had been thorough and it would be enough. I switched off the motor and waited.

When Wanda got there we would take off for the high ground. For the mountains and the pines and that last clear lake and that final glimpse of blue sky before it all turned brown and we gave up in final surrender to this climate of which we’re so obviously proud ...

I read this in the anthology Car Sinister, which is all about cars so it won't contain your first story. The IFSDB listing includes several other anthologies in which East Wind, East Wind has been published and you are presumably thinking of one of these. I have a copy of Nova 2 and the first story is not in that. I'll have a dig around to see if I can find copies of them to try and find the other story.


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