I've been doing some reading on the Chernobyl nuclear disaster
. The reading turned out to be a genuinely frightening experience. A series of small but unfortunate errors resulted in hundreds of thousands
of people evacuated from their homes and irradiated large sections of the world...
I got a similar sensation of dread by reading the Fallout manual, which starts with a perfectly dry and scientific description of the effects of a particular type of nuclear bombing. The game comes highly recommended, by the way.
Something a friend of mine said when we were discussing it over lunch yesterday triggered a memory from Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds, to quote (this was more difficult to find than you might think):
It seems totally incredible to me now that everyone spent that evening as though it were just like any other. From the railway station came the sound of shunting trains, ringing and rumbling, softened almost into melody by the distance. It all seemed so safe and tranquil.