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Earth Abides Paperback – March 28, 2006
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From the Inside Flap
A disease of unparalleled destructive force has sprung up almost simultaneously in every corner of the globe, all but destroying the human race. One survivor, strangely immune to the effects of the epidemic, ventures forward to experience a world without man. What he ultimately discovers will prove far more astonishing than anything he'd either dreaded or hoped for.
"From the Paperback edition.
About the Author
George Rippey Stewart (May 31, 1895 – August 22, 1980) was an American toponymist, a novelist, and a professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley. He is best known for his only science fiction novel Earth Abides (1949), a post-apocalyptic novel, for which he won the first International Fantasy Award in 1951. It was dramatized on radio's Escape and inspired Stephen King's The Stand. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Ish can be annoying. He is fascinated by first principles, when he really should be galvanizing his energy toward practical work. Others join him in a community humorously called The Tribe. The name takes on greater significance later. Stewart’s post-apocalyptic community is relatively calm, given the genre; it is largely free from disease, strife, and want. In fact, Ish worries that the abundance of the previous world, all the cans of food in supermarkets in the Bay area, for instance, will hobble The Tribe.
By the end, Ish is the last member of what the thousand or so progeny of The Tribe call the Old Ones. He is treated as a god. Members pinch him for good luck, and ask him questions as if he was an oracle. Ish is satisfied with The Tribe. A group of young men, untroubled and stalwart, become the new leaders of humanity. The message is clear: people have had a severe setback, but they are undaunted.
The story is compelling and far more realistic, i.e., envisionable, than much of the current-batch of dystopian literature, not matter how fun they are to read. While telling the story of a motley crew of random "everyday" survivors of a virulent plague that kills most of the world's population in a matter of weeks, there are numerous layers for further contemplation by readers if they're so inclined, and ones that, despite the age of the work, STILL resonate with issues current today. Teachers and parents will find the alphabet/reading vs. bow-and-arrow making/hunting thread especially fascinating. Be warned, though: the over-riding theme that not only "earth" abides, but also the basics of our democratic, can-do bedrock values, always brings a few tears as the books ends. But in a TOTALLY good way!
Most novels dealing with the demise of Humankind, generally have a one survivor out of a hundred scenario. Earth Abides describes
a 1 in 100,000 situation. The survivors have no tangible explanation for their resisting the disease that swept the planet (no spoilers).
Whittled down to such a small number, the living, many of them suffering shock at having witnessed so many die, struggle to come to terms with the present. Loved ones dead, no government, no society. Most of all, no boundaries or laws to break. The individuals are the law.
Will the human race survive.
I first pulled Earth Abides from a school bookshelf back in 1977. It was obviously a donated paperback, well worn. I added to the wear and tear.
I'd never read anything like it before. Like all first reads of a great story, I just ran through it, not able to put it down.
I studiously handed the book back (dang, one I should have kept) and for 30 years scanned the shelves of bookshops and second hand
book shops for a copy.
eBay answered the call, I have a copy in my collection, but like all my favourite books, locked in storage.
Now I have my Kindle edition (yay).
Get it, read it, put yourself in the book. You may hope you are a survivor or otherwise. How would you cope?
The Earth Abides.
Read this book.
My problem is with the lead character. The author warned me in the very first chapter about this guy, but I clung stubbornly to the hope he would act like a hero. Therein lies my disappointment.
Throughout the well crafted twists, turns and philosophical dilemmas, I was fighting the urge to jump into the pages as shake some sense into the guy. His most outstanding trait was his human -ness. That's what both makes and breaks (for me at least) the book. It will definitely make you think and it will make you feel a gamut of emotions.
If you are not a control freak you will probably really like this book.