Read "Canticle for Liebowitz". I read it about 20 years ago. It'll will rock your mind!!
I checked the synopsis via wickipaedia, and it looks interesting.
It's just a hunch, but I think there's plenty underneath the deserts and the ice. Then there are my experiences. If a gun was put to my head, I would proclaim that the world is fake.
Sometimes I blurt these things out, but because a good deal of FReepers are faint of heart, and are founded by strict belief systems, I'm reluctant to post some things sometimes. I like it here, and I'm not looking for grief.
That is one of my favorite books, read it in my high school AP English class senior year. It was a really cool read!