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Earthdoom was reissued in 2011 by Dark Quest Books. Previous editions were titled Earthdoom! but we finally decided this was somewhat over-sensational for our younger readers.

  • Publication Date: September 2011
  • Publisher: Dark Quest LLC: Howell, New Jersey
  • Format: B-format paperback only
  • ISBN: 9780983099390
  • Page Count: 245
  • Cover Design: Danielle McPhail
  • Availability: Book Depository UKBook Depository US
  • Reviews

The 1987 Earthdoom! by David Langford and John Grant is a raucously tasteless spoof of disaster novels. The following quotations, all genuine (would we lie to you?), appeared on the original paperback:

'The ideal book if ever you're lost for words – just open Earthdoom and you'll find lots of them' – Exeter Advertiser

'An oasis in the ocean of literature' – Bob Shaw

'Does for the disaster genre what Ludd did for the Industrial Revolution' – Roy Tappen

'Fills a long-needed gap' – Eve Devereux

'The greatest contribution to English literature since the invention of the semi-colon' – Ansible

'Could this be the finest book ever written?' – White Dwarf

'... sounds like an amusing idea ...' – Isaac Asimov

Earthdoom – Dark Quest cover
Earthdoom – BeWrite cover

A new edition appeared in 2003 from BeWrite. This went out of print, by mutual agreement of the authors and publisher, in late 2009.

  • Publication Date: August 2003
  • Publisher: BeWrite, Bristol, UK
  • Format: B-format paperback only
  • ISBN: 1904492118
  • Page Count: 283
  • Cover Artist: Ivan Lloyd Smith
  • Availability: [out of print]
  • Reviews
  • Publication Date: August 2003
  • Publisher: BeWrite, Bristol, UK
  • Format: Ebook
  • ISBN: 1904492096
  • Page Count: 283
  • Cover Artist: Ivan Lloyd Smith
  • Availability: [out of print]
  • Reviews
  • Publication Date: 1987
  • Publisher: Grafton Books, London (an imprint of Collins)
  • Format: A-format paperback
  • ISBN: 0586067396
  • Page Count: 303
  • Cover Artist: Paul Sample
  • Availability: out of print
  • Reviews
Earthdoom – Grafton 1st ed cover

Here's the original, subtly understated, back-cover blurb for the first edition:


As the Earth tilts on its axis, precipitating
a new Ice Age, hordes of rabid lemmings
race towards Europe.

Meanwhile a time-travelling Hitler emerges
in sleepy Devonshire and proceeds to clone
himself in preparation for the march on

Will a Fourth Reich rise to strangle the
Mother of Parliaments? Or will London be
devastated by a nuclear accident on the
Bakerloo line?

The luckless crew of Spaceship Earth have
no time to pose such questions as an
epidemic of demonic possession and
prophetic visions erupts in the USA and an
approaching envoy from a distant galaxy
broadcasts the following message:


EARTHDOOM! is the disaster novel to end
'em all. And not before time ...


Robert Day, Deep Waters Reading, 25 January 2015

This disaster novel has it all. [...] All that and the entire plot of ‘Independence Day” rolled up in two sentences …

David Hebblethwaite,, February 2011

A gloriously over-the-top spoof disaster novel featuring all manner of world-ending phenomena which appear on the scene in quick succession: a spacecraft on a collision course with Earth; an antimatter comet on a collision course with Earth; invading aliens; rabid lemmings; the Loch Ness Monster; a time-travelling Hitler who takes advantage of the handy cloning technology he finds on a Devon farm; sentient superglue… You get the idea.

Langford and Grant relentlessly send up the conventions of the disaster novel, with their cast of gung-ho male scientists and impossibly-attractive-yet-brilliant-except-when-the-guys-need-to-show-how-much-better-they-are female scientists; the plot contrivances which are eventually abandoned altogether when it suits; the characters’ helpful-for-the-reader recapping things they already know; and the prose. [...]

David V. Barrett, Vector 140, October 1987

"David Langford and John Grant are two of the funniest writers around in the SF world. Either single-handedly could have me falling apart with laughter; together, they are earth-shattering.

"Earthdoom! is the ultimate disaster novel. Think of any end-of-the-world scenario you've ever encountered in SF or sci-fi, serious or screwy, and it's here. Simultaneously.

"Nuclear explosion; anti-matter comet about to hit the earth; out-of-control space ship ditto; aliens set to conquer us; a new Ice Age; Adolf Hitler stepping into a time machine in 1945 and emerging today to clone himself in the hundreds; the Loch Ness Monster (complete with two brains which argue with each other) coming up for air, somewhat miffed at humanity; the attack of the rabid lemmings; Death personified, stalking the streets of New York; even an aware amalgam of superglue and biological washing powder, which kills in the most unpleasant way. And more; and more; and more;

Aaarrgghh! The world's about to end. Whether it does or not, dear reader, you must discover for yourself, if you dare to submit yourself to the unspeakable horrors piled six on top of another by the authors. And not only horrors of destruction, but horrors of humour (would you believe 'The answer is a lemming'?) and even worse (if worse there could be) horrors of literary excruciation:

"What's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?" he murmured, slightly surprised by his unwonted command of repartee. "This thing is bigger than both of us. Let me take you away from all this."

I wish this kind of book came with a better class of dialogue, they each thought with silent resentment.

Langford and Grant take the piss right royally out of the entire genre. in what must be one of the spoofiest spoofs to appear for years. Nothing, but nothing, is sacred. No cliché is left to fester in obscurity. No ultimate horror is too hackneyed.

There's one unforeseen side-effect: you'll never be able to take another disaster novel seriously. But maybe that's not such a bad thing.

Andy Sawyer, Paperback Inferno 67, August 1987

The trouble with Earthdoom! is that you really have to grope through a host of books with titles like Tapeworm! and Sludge! and plots like – well, like episodes of Earthdoom! to appreciate just what Langford and Grant are sending up. By then, of course, either your brain has rotted away from disuse or you're so paranoid that the next time the gerbils nip your finger you come down with psychosomatic rabies and infect half the neighbourhood.

Even if you forego the study of literary influences, however, you'll still enjoy Earthdoom! You won't, of course, be able to read another Disaster Novel without giggling (but don't you, anyway?) as what we have here is a scenario for just about every end-of-the world novel possible, starting with the earth tilting on its axis and taking in Hitler cloning himself on a Devonshire farm, the Loch Ness Monster, comets and Horrible Slimy Aliens on a collision course with earth and sub-critical-mass bits of plutonium doing likewise in the London Underground – and I won't even mention the lemmings and the superglue save to say that you'll probably never want to go to the lavatory again. It's all held together with a plot line involving Death, the Antichrist, various sets of incompetent scientists as two-fistedly gung-ho as any Doc Smith character (but randier) and various knock-knock jokes. If you're a Big-Name Fan or a Famous SF Writer, moreover, you can have the added pleasure to see if your name (suitably distorted) is among the dramatis personae.

There are currently various contenders for the title of Great SF Humorist, but for sheer sly wit and sendups it's Langford: listen, when my wife laughs at his fanzines then we know the man is funny. If you don't get a copy of this for your collection of skiffy blockbusters there isn't much hope for you....

John Duncan, Mid-Devon Advertiser, 1987

Earthdoom is a novel which is designed to end all disaster novels – and it may well succeed in this aim.... I have read work by David Langford and John Grant (both are very funny (!) writers) but, mixed into this fine cocktail, they form a compounded humour which is hard to beat.