blowup n.

a war that destroys a culture or a large part of the population

Often as a proper noun Blowup. Obs.

  • 1945 ‘L. Padgett’ Piper’s Son in Astounding Science-Fiction Feb. 19/1 page image Henry Kuttner C. L. Moore bibliography

    If he had been born before the Blowup, it might have been different. Impossible to say. One could read history, but one couldn’t live it.

  • 1945 ‘L. Padgett’ Beggars In Velvet in Astounding Science Fiction Dec. 14/2 page image Henry Kuttner C. L. Moore bibliography

    After the Blowup, the fringes of the radioactive areas had caused the mutations of which the telepaths were the only survivors, aside from the occasional monsters—reptiles and harmless beasts—that still lived near the blasted areas.

  • 1946 ‘L. Padgett’ Time Enough in Astounding Science Fiction Dec. 127/2 Henry Kuttner C. L. Moore bibliography

    Five hundred years before, an atom was split and the balance of power blew up. Prior to that time, a number of people had been playing tug of war with a number of ropes. Nuclear fission, in effect, handed those people knives. They learned how to cut the ropes, and, too late, discovered that the little game had been played on the summit of a crag whose precipitous sides dropped away to abysmal depths beneath. The knife was a key as well. It opened fantastic new doors. Thus the Blowup. Had the Blowup been due only to the atomic blast, man might have rebuilt more easily, granting that the planet remained habitable. However, one of the doors the key opened led into a curious, perilous place where physical laws were unstable. Truth is a variable. But no one knew how to vary it until after unlimited atomic power had been thrown onto the market. Within limits, anything could happen, and plenty of things did. Call it a war. Call it chaos. Call it the Blowup.

  • 1947 J. Speer It's Up To Us in Fancestral Voices (2004) 188 Jack Speer

    Little leisure can be seen in the post-Blowup world.

  • 1949 F. Brown Letter to Phoenix in Astounding Science Fiction Aug. 149/1 page image Fredric Brown bibliography

    It’s not like a blow-up war, when nine-tenths or more of the population of Earth…is killed.

  • 1954 E. C. Tubb Tomorrow in Science Fantasy May 7 page image E. C. Tubb bibliography

    This was a free world, had been since the Blowup, and a man did what he wanted, when he wanted, and how he wanted. That was freedom, and I was free. But I still had to eat.

Research requirements

any evidence 1945

Earliest cite

Lewis Padgett, 'The Piper's Son'

Research History
Mike Christie submitted a 1946 cite from Lewis Padgett's "Time Enough".
Mike Christie submitted a 1945 cite from Lewis Padgett's "Beggars In Velvet".

We would like cites of any date from other sources.

Last modified 2021-01-05 18:01:00
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.