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
"A profound, poetic, post-holocaust novel of immense stature: so special I wanted mine to be the only copy." (Garry Kilworth)
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.
A man with a child in his ears
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!
Yes a good book but lacked the depth I was expecting. After part one you kind of got the Idea of the book and it failed to develop any further, towards the end I was thinking, get on with it, show me something new. But overall a book with reading and would recommend. Well written.
I would recommend this to anyone liking post-apocalyptic stories and even to someone who wouldn't usually read these.
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.
When Ish meets Jack. Won't say more as it could be a spoiler.
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.
I would recommend this because it is a hauntingly relevant warning to our modern age that is beautifully read.
This is similar to any post apocalyptic story that deals with the demise of mankind.
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.
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.
I only wish that I had discovered this book before and I will listen to this audiobook many times for its power and beauty.
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.
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.
Possibly to read some other classic post apocalyptic works.
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.
The easy going pace and the excellent warm narration
The Day of The Triffids. It is dated but written in a way that totally immerses the listener.
The scene where after 20 years they manage to get a Jeep running to go exploring.
It's time for a change
Earth Abides ranks as one of the best Audiobooks I've listened to. It has to be in my top three.
One of the most memorable has to be one of the saddest in the book. You just knew it was coming, but you didn't want to believe it. Follow the outbreak of of what was thought to be Typhoid Ish is unconscious for a period, having succumbed to the illness himself. On awakening he learns that 5 children died. One of them being... his uniquely intellectually bright and curious son, Joey.
To be honest I felt the intro by Connie Willis almost put me off listening to the book. He tone and pitch grated on my nerves a little like nails on a chalkboard.
On contrast Jonathan Davis' soothing calming manner went well with this story and added to overall experience.
Both tears of sorry and of joy. You felt for the hardships and heartache of characters and experienced their losses and joys. You worried for them and feared for their future.
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.
I haven't read any others in this genre, so can compare.
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.
Yes… but it's an epic so it's impossible.
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!
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,
"Slow and very drawn out in the end"
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
"Amazing and wonderful book"
I absolutely loved this book. Even though it was quite long every moment was worth listening to.
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