Woman Alive (Susan Ertz, 1935)

A young doctor visits a man who, by semi-scientific, semi-mystic means, is able to project an image of future events into his subjects’ minds. The man asks to see London as it will be in 1986.

Much has happened in the intervening fifty years. Britain went to the Soviets after the world war of 1950, but communism had collapsed in on itself in by the 1960s and the country was once more independent and capitalist. It, and much of the world, is closely allied with the ocean-spanning United States of Europe. War was all but a memory until a few weeks ago, when a break-away state launched an air strike against the USE in a bid for independence. They dropped a new chemical weapon that specifically targeted women. In a matter of days, the contagion spread throughout the world, and soon it is believed that every woman on Earth is dead and that humanity’s last generation has been born.

One woman survived, however. She had been the guinea-pig for a new, experimental vaccine, which left her alone immune to the disease. The daughter of simple farmers in rural England, she becomes quite an important personage. The world is ready to war again for the possession of her — each nation wanting to use her to continue their race — but she would rather see humanity suffer the death it brought upon itself. At first, at least.

Wonderful Art-Deco illustrations (in the first US edition anyway — I can only assume they’re in the others, too)

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