The Strength of the Strong
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The story takes place in 2072, sixty years after the scarlet plague has depopulated the planet. James Howard Smith is one of the few people left alive in the San Francisco area, and as he realizes his time grows short, he tries to impart the value of knowledge and wisdom to his grandsons.American society at the time of the plague has become severely stratified and there is a large hereditary underclass of servants and "nurses"; and the politcal system has been replaced by a formalized oligarchy. Commercial airship lines exist, as do some airships privately owned by the very rich.