Recent events have had me thinking about nuclear war and I had a vague memory of a short story I read where society has begun voting for all topics from an electronic device. The main character is suddenly awakened in the middle of the night to a notification about imminent nuclear strike and gave the people the option to retaliate or not. The story is about the philosophy of the decision to retaliate or not

I read this at least 6-7 years ago so I could be mixing up stories, but does anyone have any idea what I am talking about?

  • Hi, welcome to the site. Did you read this in an anthology, a magazine, or online? Mar 2, 2022 at 2:37
  • I read it for a class in middle school. So it was given to us as an individual story but cannot say where it came from
    – Ben
    Mar 2, 2022 at 2:40
  • Is this the story where they link up the devices to have "Universal Town Meetings"? .....maybe I'm trying to remember a different story!
    – Danny Mc G
    Mar 2, 2022 at 19:27
  • Maybe! What is the name of the one you are thinking of?
    – Ben
    Mar 3, 2022 at 3:51

1 Answer 1


I'm not sure it's exactly right, but this very much reminds me of "Thunder and Roses" (1997) by Theodore Sturgeon.

There has been a nuclear war, and the U.S. lost. All the cities are gone and just about everyone left will soon be dead of radiation poisoning. A singer, Starr Anthim, is singing songs of peace and acceptance.

It turns out she knows there's a missing set of launch keys out there somewhere, and it could be possible for someone to launch a massive counterstrike that will doom humanity utterly. She wants whoever finds those keys to destroy them without using them so at least there is a slim hope.

The story is currently online at the Baen website.

  • I don't think this is it because I remember the electronic voting being a key part of the story but thank you for your reply! I will look into this one
    – Ben
    Mar 2, 2022 at 3:00

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