The protagonist; at the beginning of the novel Randy is a failed candidate for political office, but eventually becomes responsible for taking care of his brother's wife and children in the wake of nuclear attack. Randy is resilient, resourceful, and fiercely protective of the people close to him, and he easily steps into a leader's position when necessity calls.
Randy's brother, who works for the Strategic Air Command in Omaha, Nebraska. He sends word to Randy that a nuclear attack is imminent, and asks Randy to protect his wife and kids because he knows Omaha will be a prime target in the war. He dies in the first nuclear attack while sheltered in a bunker in Omaha.
Randy's neighbor in Fort Repose; she lives alone with her pets and loves to snoop and gossip. She joins the group of survivors on River Road with her friend Alice following the attack.
Randy's best friend, who is also Fort Repose's doctor. Dan Gunn is caring, concerned, and intelligent; following the attack, he dedicates himself to helping all of the injured back to health in whatever ways he can. Eventually he falls in love with Helen.
Mark's wife, and an extremely hardworking woman who takes it upon herself to run the household following the attack. She is a loving and protective mother to her two children, though it takes her a long time to get over the loss of her husband. Eventually she does fall in love again, this time with Dan Gunn.
Mark and Helen's son, who is thirteen at the time of the first bombing. Though he is young, he does his best to assist Randy in whatever ways necessary to survive.
Mark and Helen's daughter; at age 11 when the war breaks out, she is two years younger than her brother Ben Franklin. She is curious, stubborn, and sometimes mischievous, though like everyone else she does her best to help wherever possible.
Florence's best friend who comes to stay at Florence's house just before the bombing, and ends up staying there with the other survivors. Alice is the only one who continues to go into work as the Fort Repose librarian every day after the attack, because she believes books will raise everyone's spirits.
Randy's house-cleaner, Two-Tone's wife, and matriarch of the Henry farm. Missouri is good-natured, loud, and fond of dancing.
Missouri's husband, so-named because his face has two shades of color. Two-Tone is significantly lazier than everyone else on the Henry farm.
Two-Tone's brother, who also lives on the Henry farm. Malachai is the first person Randy trusts with the knowledge of the imminent attack, because he knows Malachai will take it seriously.
Randy's lover and eventual wife. Lib is an attractive young woman and seems a bit naive at first, but proves herself to be quite smart and resourceful once her mother dies and she and her father move in with Randy.
Lib's father, a retired industrialist, who moves in with Randy following his wife's death.
Lib's mother, who suffers and eventually dies from diabetes.
Admiral Sam Hazzard
A retired military man who also lives on River Road. The survivors make use of his short-wave radio because it is their only connection to the events of the war going on outside Fort Repose.
A poor, beautiful, yet manipulative woman who lives in Pistonville, a slum located near Fort Repose. She is an ex-girlfriend of Randy's, so initially Randy refuses to ask her for help, but she turns out to be a valuable asset in the face of trouble with bandits.
The Fort Repose grocery clerk and Rita's brother, who suffers from serious radiation poisoning.
The president of the Fort Repose bank; he's incredibly stingy and does not know how to deal with the dollar's sudden loss of value in the wake of the attack, so he is eventually driven to suicide.
Malachai and Two-Tone's father, and minister of the Afro-Repose Baptist Church.
Missouri and Two-Tone's son, who is around Ben Franklin's age. The two boys enjoy playing together on Ben Franklin's visits to Fort Repose.
A friend of Mark and Randy's; he is an Air Force officer stationed in Fort Repose. Paul makes a reappearance at the end of the novel as a member of the Decontamination Team sent to Fort Repose.
He defeated Randy for office shortly before the beginning of the novel. Porky is fat and greedy, which brings about his death; he succumbs to radiation poisoning from jewelry that he had been hoarding.
In charge of Fort Repose's funeral parlor. Bubba is extremely dedicated to his job following the attack, as he knows that people want nice burials for their loved ones, but it quickly spirals into a demand too much for him to handle.
Formerly the Secretary of Health in the president's cabinet, she takes over command of the nation following the nuclear attack. The president and all other officials above her had been annihilated along with Washington, D.C. in the bombing, but she had coincidentally been away in Denver that day.
Bubba's wife, who had a fight with Alice at the beginning of the novel.
A Fort Repose beekeeper who shares his honey with Randy to give to Peyton and Ben Franklin.
Alas, Babylon Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Alas, Babylon is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Randy and the Admiral initially exclude Lib because they considered in inappropriate to bring a woman into a discussion about war. When Lib interjects her own ideas into the conversation, she proves her worth, but is quickly pushed aside once...
After the attack, Fort Repose became a place of chaos. Stores and gas stations were overrun by customers, escaped convicts were traversing the streets with guns, the nation's government has fallen apart, people are committing suicide, electricity...