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Earth Abides Audiobook

Earth Abides

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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the first International Fantasy Award. George R. Stewart (1895-1980) was a Professor of English at the University of California. He published a number of novels, including two studies of natural catastrophe, Storm and Fire. Earth Abides is his only work of science-fiction.

Published to great acclaim in 1949, Earth Abides is generally regarded as the classic tale of life struggling on after a global disaster. This audio edition celebrates the 60th anniversary of this science-fiction masterwork and includes a special introduction written and read by Hugo Award-winning writer Connie Willis.

A mysterious plague has destroyed the vast majority of the human race. Isherwood Williams returns from a wilderness field trip to discover that civilization has vanished during his absence. Eventually, in San Francisco, he encounters a female survivor who becomes his wife. Around them and their children a small community develops, but rebuilding civilization is beyond their resources, and gradually they return to a simpler way of life.

©1949 George R. Stewart (P)2013 Audible Ltd

What the Critics Say

"A profound, poetic, post-holocaust novel of immense stature: so special I wanted mine to be the only copy." (Garry Kilworth)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (167 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Overall
4.2 (156 )
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Story
4.4 (156 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Simon Wokingham, United Kingdom 18/03/2014
    Simon Wokingham, United Kingdom 18/03/2014 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A surprisingly emotional journey"
    Any additional comments?

    In my humble opinion, Earth Abides is an outstanding read/listen, although undoubtedly a book of its time. Published in 1949, it compensates for its slower pace and lack of sensationalism with a depth that is rarely encountered in more modern post-apocalyptic literature.
    If you're looking to take arms against flesh-hungry zombies while fleeing the depraved offspring of a nuclear winter, then this isn't the book for you.
    But if it's more your cup-of-tea to indulge in a philosophical exploration of mankind's nature, via the vehicle of an individual's journey through the dawn of a new age, then you might want to run this one up the ol' flagpole to see if it flutters,
    I found Earth Abides to be challenging in content (although accessible in tone), thought-provoking and surprisingly moving ... or possibly I'm just a big girl's blouse.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Simon Waterlooville, UK 05/10/2014
    Simon Waterlooville, UK 05/10/2014 Member Since 2017

    A man with a child in his ears - @shutterspin.

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    "A Thinker's Book"

    This is a fairly heartwarming story that pulls few punches. As with many books though while the start builds up the situation nicely it then trails off a bit and is very slow burning. The main protagonist Ish develops strongly throughout the book from the bravado of youth through to the passive vulnerability of the very old.

    My problem with the book was that it was just a bit too slow. Ish ponders at great length about many of the developments and by modern standards this slows the story down considerably. There's nothing wrong with that per se but some of the "ponderings" really did amount to little more than listing the possible explanations behind events that had occurred rather than adding anything interesting or useful.

    Overall though I'd still recommend this book. It's an interesting look at the social aspects of a post apocalypse world and the author reveals a lot of thinking about base human nature. A good book, but no roller coaster ride!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    AReader 04/05/2014
    AReader 04/05/2014 Member Since 2007

    Words are my music and audiobooks virtually my favourite art form. Very fussy about narrators and intolerant of lazy performance.

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    "Disappointing"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I have deliberately not read any other reviews of this book, in an effort to come to it fresh.I mentioned it to a friend, but only to say I thought it was an interesting comparison with The Day of the Triffids, of almost the same date, which explores various social structures that people try out after the disaster.The book is written in an archaic, mannered style which I found got rather repetitive. After the first shock, which is never really explained, nothing much happens. I found Ish, the protagonist, rather annoying too. He seems to spend about 40 years doing very little to prepare his descendants for the future or pass on any of the accumulated knowledge of his civilisation. For instance, although food, security and other daily living activities do not seem to take much time or energy, he does not teach any of the younger people to read. After a short time, they give up trying to grow food. Ish simply sits and watches as the remnants of US (no suggestion that other countries exist) become hunter gatherers who think the sun goes round the earth. He is completely passive. Maybe the message is that human civilisation will pass away and there's absolutely nothing we can do about it, so no point trying.


    What aspect of Jonathan Davis and Connie Willis ’s performance might you have changed?

    The narrator uses a rather monotonous, almost reverential tone with little change of pace. I thought there were quite a few false emphases in his reading which changed the meaning from what must have been intended. One character is described as having a tinge of accent from the North of England - and when he speaks, he first sounds like an Australian, and later Irish. These days, we are used to actors producing flawless regional accents so I thought this was quite poor. The voices of other characters are not much distinguished from each other - the narrator just speaks their words. Maybe this was a deliberate choice, I don't know.


    Did Earth Abides inspire you to do anything?

    Possibly to read some other classic post apocalyptic works.


    Any additional comments?

    Other annoying features of the story - apparently it was too much trouble to find out how to train horses, although there were horses around immediately after the shock, and there were books in the public library, fodder and plenty of time. However, it seems they had the wherewithal to train dogs for sleds and hunting. Also, when the group gets typhoid, many of them die. Somebody mentions sulphur pills, an early form of antibiotics (which are now the treatment) and discovered in 1932, but they don't bother to go and find any or indeed any other medicines. Several of the adults can read, there is a public library nearby, they have transport and there are ruined drugstores, but they make no effort. Neither does the typhoid experience prompt them to lay in any other medicines afterwards in spite of the fact that disease is their main fear.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sal 08/12/2013
    Sal 08/12/2013
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    "One of my favourite books!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this to anyone liking post-apocalyptic stories and even to someone who wouldn't usually read these.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This story has stayed in my mind since I first read it, I even bought the book earlier this year, but Audible beat me to reading it! What a treat. Just like the whole story and long view.


    Have you listened to any of Jonathan Davis and Connie Willis ’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    No.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Ish meets Jack. Won't say more as it could be a spoiler.


    Any additional comments?

    For anyone who hasn't read the book before, please do you best to work through the prologue...I hadn't expected this unwanted interruption to the start of this great story and if I hadn't already read the book, could have been put off listening altogether.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Putney, United Kingdom 06/12/2013
    Robert Putney, United Kingdom 06/12/2013 Member Since 2013
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    "Amazing…"
    Would you listen to Earth Abides again? Why?

    Yes. This is one of the best books I've ever experienced. The writing is brilliant, the story incredible. I've told everyone I know about this book.

    It's far more about the life after the event, the social aspect. Then the event itself.
    The turn of phrase / style of writing is something I'm putting down the time when it was written, it so much more credible than half-baked novels from modern authors.


    What other book might you compare Earth Abides to, and why?

    I haven't read any others in this genre, so can compare.


    What about Jonathan Davis and Connie Willis ’s performance did you like?

    Connie Willis was very annoying, I skipped through her intro. Jonathan Davis was perfect, 10 out of 10. Would look out for things he's narrated.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes… but it's an epic so it's impossible.


    Any additional comments?

    It was such a good book I didn't want it to end but there were things I would've changed, just some elements I would've liked more detail about. Quick years were too quick for me!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick LONDON, United Kingdom 02/12/2013
    Patrick LONDON, United Kingdom 02/12/2013 Member Since 2011
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    "A beautiful reading of a slow burning masterpiece"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this because it is a hauntingly relevant warning to our modern age that is beautifully read.


    What other book might you compare Earth Abides to, and why?

    This is similar to any post apocalyptic story that deals with the demise of mankind.


    Which character – as performed by Jonathan Davis and Connie Willis – was your favourite?

    I am only about a third of the way through so I have only heard Jonathan Davis as a reader and he expresses the few characters I have met excellently. The main character is nature and The Earth itself which is beautifully portrayed.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It has made me smile, feel pity and feel horror for what could so easily happen to us and we would have no control over the forces of nature.


    Any additional comments?

    I only wish that I had discovered this book before and I will listen to this audiobook many times for its power and beauty.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Muriel 25/09/2016
    Muriel 25/09/2016
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    "Very good story liked it very much."

    Dont often give reviews but thaught this one was worth a few words, I was pleased to finde this a good down to earth thaughtfull account of the possibilities one might face through the life of this kind of situation, with out the stupidity of zombies. A deeply interesting account of a suvivers life, With a good narrater,

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stewart Harding 14/01/2016 Member Since 2012
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    "Melancholy, innovative and ambitious"

    Even before I found out this is one of the earliest major post-apocalyptic novels, it stood out to me as innovative and interesting. It brilliantly explored what would happen not just to people, but to the plants and animals and land itself all told from one man's point of view, luckily for us an observant geographer.

    The subsequent culture that is created is quite unlike anything else I've read and I was pleased that things do not turn out as I quickly imagined they would having read other examples of this genre.

    The overarching feeling to the book is one of melancholy, but without being sad or depressing. Rather, slightly cold and objective. The only parts I didn't enjoy were the author's lapses into dramatic poetic prose, which whether original or quoted, simply didn't interest me and seemed to jar against the observant nature of the book.

    This is the kind of book that I would like to listen to for many more hours than it actually is. There are so many stories within this book that could be told, and I found myself being disappointed not in the ending, but in the fact there was an ending.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Duncan Oval, United Kingdom 16/09/2014
    Duncan Oval, United Kingdom 16/09/2014 Member Since 2015

    Always up for new listens, particularly crime, thrillers, Nordic noir and historical fiction. Rom Com and chick lit need not apply...

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Discover a classic"
    What did you like most about Earth Abides?

    Stewart paints a story of Ish, one man in a vastly depleted America, as well as charting the absence of mankind and its effect on the flora and fauna. It's eminently believable and draws you into what you would imagine to be a grim tale which is often anything but.


    What other book might you compare Earth Abides to, and why?

    Swan Song from the 1980s covers the fall out from a nuclear war, whereas this book's premise is that a plague has wiped out most of mankind.


    What three words best describe Jonathan Davis and Connie Willis ’s voice?

    Solidly expressive American


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    What do you do when no-one's left living?


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Campbell 13/08/2014
    Paul Campbell 13/08/2014
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    "Simply stunning"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Earth Abides to be better than the print version?

    Yes - when a book has been gifted by the perfect narrator it enhances and transcends the pleasure of the book. Other perfect narrations that come to mind are 'Life of Pi', 'American Pyscho', 'His Dark Materials' and 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time'.


    What did you like best about this story?

    How deceptively simple it was and yet how quickly it drew you in.


    What does Jonathan Davis and Connie Willis bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Connie Willis does the introduction: herself a great writer (and the most lauded with awards in the history of science fiction) she talks of the book's lasting legacy since it was first published 65 years ago and why she and so many others love it. As for the actual Jonathan Davis - what can I say? I salute you!


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Yes, you would find yourself grunting or smiling ruefully - and the pitch-perfect delivery of the novel's closing passage... yeah, that hits you.


    Any additional comments?

    Bought an old paperback of this 20 years ago, never got around to reading it and then finally, with audio, figured I'd get someone else to do all the work and read it to me! Glad I did, for a great 15 hours listening pleasure was had!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • sjouke
    20/09/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Slow and very drawn out in the end"
    Any additional comments?

    Given the time at which this book is written (and it really needs to be considered when listening so as to understand it a little better), this is a very good story. The look into human nature in such a post apocolyptic event is very interesting. The story is very drawn out in the end, the last couple hours being more of an epilogue that doesnt really add much or finish off too many storylines

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ginny Hope
    NELSON, New Zealand
    25/08/15
    Overall
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    "Amazing and wonderful book"

    I absolutely loved this book. Even though it was quite long every moment was worth listening to.
    Stunning narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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