- Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Fawcett (September 12, 1986)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0449213013
- ISBN-13: 978-0449213018
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 889 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #835,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Earth Abides Mass Market Paperback – September 12, 1986
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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.
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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One of the most chilling aspects of this story was how much nature kept moving on without human interaction. It’s easy for humans to think of the world as being a better place with us here. Even through industrialization, harming the climate and the ozone layer, etc., everyone still falls into the trap of thinking that we’re somehow making the world a better place and wondering what Earth would do without us. But I think that Stewart’s book critiques that belief by showing how Mother Nature still goes on without ‘human control’. Eventually, humans to begin to populate more of Earth again, but I liked seeing Ish’s observations on the state of nature without as many humans around to interrupt it.
At first their new society, or tribe, seemed to be doomed from the start to me because there weren’t that many people and because Ish was so wrapped up in restoring humanity to what it once was, (back to good old ‘murica) when he should’ve been focused on what it was then and there. I mean really, over two decades of steady water and no one wonders where the heck it was all coming from?? However, I liked the tribe’s attempt to rebound from that by creating a well, and then going off in search of other survivors, and later democratically voting to kill Charlie to preserve themselves, similar to the way Ish noted that the rats were killing each other to preserve themselves.
Ish’s determination to maintain and pass on the knowledge and the supposed ‘intelligence’ of the old world was something that struck me as reasonable. But as a contemporary reader, I found it particularly frustrating that he only saw the women and girls of his tribe as breeders and homekeepers, incapable of positions of leadership within the tribe. At times, he even seemed to contradict himself on this topic, noting that his wife Em was: “greater than he, but he also knew that she would not be of help in planning toward the future”. My biggest question as a contemporary reader was, ‘Why?’. Of course, he eventually picks his own son to be the next prodigy, as Joey seems to be the only one interested in Ish’s love of knowledge and books, but I wonder what would’ve happened had Ish asked any of the women or girls in his tribe if they were interested.
Overall, it was an okay book. The regression back into the bow and coin-arrow state seemed natural enough, I guess? Who knows where society will go from there.
That said, I found his book to be an interesting read. I had not read this book before, and was surprised to find that style from the time period. The plot line made sense and was self-consentient. I also question if the men and women who fought the Nazis and Japanese in WW-II would have been so easy to give up on the good life as the author seemed to make them.
THE EARTH ABIDES is worth a read as a good example of an early SHTF book, and how people might survive. Whether you agree with it or not is another question.
Most recent customer reviews
Read John Grit's Apocalypse Law series. MUCH BETTER! This book is outdated and boring. It was good for its time but its time has faded away.Read more