George R. Stewart's tale is clearly a product of it's time; rampant racism and classism abound. There is also the hint of eugenics, or, to use a less frightening term utilitarian bioethics. Not only is the mentally handicapped Evey referred to as a half-wit, the people of the "tribe" adamantly refuse to let her breed. Also, one character apologizes essentially to another for being at least partially African, which occurs after she becomes pregnant with a "half-breed" child. I am not sure if this is the opinion of the author or just another flaw of these supremely flawed characters. The focus of the story, Isherwood Williams, is arrogant, hateful, judgmental and even refers to himself as a God at one point. But I do not think the author wanted the reader to find Ish likable, instead Stewart wanted him to be horribly flawed to illustrate that while man falters and fails, the Earth abides. The language is flourid, the plotting is slow yet observant, and as far as post-apocalyptic fiction goes, this is the Moby Dick of the end times. Highly recommended if you can accePt flawed characters. There are, I am sorry to say, way too many cookie cutter good guys in modern fiction. The un-pc is impactful and memorable and real. The ACLU doesn't write fiction for obvious reasons. That universe would be confusing, offensive and inoffensive all at once. Utterly sterile.
My husband recommended this book to me and I got it to please him, but was very glad I did. Although I thought some of the story was a little out dated, most of it would apply now. I was fascinated with the story and the narration was very good. I would defenitely recommend this book.
Earth Abides is a post apocalyptic novel that was written by George Stewart over 60 years ago.
Stewart writes of one man's strengths and weaknesses as he struggles with loneliness, confusion, and the realization that the world he once knew is no longer familiar after a virus wiped out most of the population.
Stewart brilliantly stays clear of technology, which would have most likely outdated the book after a short time. Amazingly, not addressing the things he could not foresee in the future was the exact thing that keeps readers interested 60 years later.
Well written, thought provoking, tragic, and uplifting, Earth Abides is a classic. Don't miss this one.
Although it may have been intentional, I found myself frequently frustrated by the main characters arrogance. In addition, I disagreed with many of the philosophies in the author's subtext.
The narrator was excellent. He was the reason I continued listening.
Driving over 100,000 mile a year since 1983, I got hooked on audible books on tape 30 years back. I now listen from my bicycle 2 hours a day
The survivors of Earth Abides are far from the sharpest pencils in the drawer.
How can they take an empty world filled with great buildings, works of art, and great libraries and choose to live in a decaying suburban neighborhood?
How can they turn their children into bow hunter gatherers with stores full of firearms and ammunition?
How can they watch the entire world decay without carving out a portion of San Francisco or Mill Valley and making it livable and sustainable?
How? They lack any imagination or foresight and leave their children with a hammer to start over without the ability to even read. The meek inherited the Earth and watched civilization die in one generation.
Not a bad book given the mindless ineptitude of the survivors.
Began reading sci-fi 71 years ago, at age 4, will continue until my clock quits ticking.. Best education one could have ever wished for.
Jonathan Davies does an excellent job with the material and his characters come to life, unfortunately he has little or at best a smattering of compassion and real intellect from this story by G.R. Stewart. The production is well done and I find no fault with it's rendering, however, having grown up in the area and being aware of all the resources available, even at the time frame in which the story was placed, I cannot believe that his supremacist ego driven "Ish" could avail himself of so little, other than a Berkeley library to assist in the education of his "tribe". The story sadly lacks the sense of comradeship that would almost from necessity exist for the "tribe" to survive. There are better stories of this genre and type.
In 1949, the cadillac was named Motor Trends' very first "Car of the Year"; it was hailed as "modern, innovative, stylish, with substance and mass befitting the luxury." Eager consumers were probably lined down the streets, their fists full of silver certificates, anxious to own one of the new award-winning cars. Also in '49, a Berkeley College professor, George R. Stewart wrote Earth Abides, a stunning,"modern, innovative" novel, that went on to receive the very first International Fantasy Award. (Maybe he drove a cadillac?) Today, 62 yrs. later, unless you collect old cars, the '49 cadillac is probably just a curiosity. I'd like to see one; I'd bet they're a beautiful piece of craftsmanship, the big crome hubcaps, the shiny huge bumpers, the hint of the first fin tails, the "pool table-sized trunklid". But actually on the road...? Gas that V-8 land-yacht up, use both arms to turn the behemoth around a curve, sit in the back with the stationary windows. A bit anachronisctic in 2012, (unless you've got a bag of salt water taffy and a parade to go to). Earth Abides was like that caddy to me, a curiosity.
I won't belabor the points that have been made by some critics about the racism, sexism, etc., tokens of some literature of that period. I will say that Ish and his eventual tribe of regressing spawn were some of the most uninteresting, unmotivated, dull and dim-witted characters I have read about in a long time, and that made this quiet novel hard to stick with in spite of good writing and a somewhat still relevant and interesting story. The inward Ish reminded me less of Robinson Crusoe and more of "Wilson" (Tom Hanks' ball in Cast Away), and seemed to have about as much gump-tion.
There are boatloads of philosophical as well as biblical references--you can make this about as deep as you want (I picture SNL's the LUV-AHS in the hot tub with a glass of wine discussing this one). As for me, I want something a little more zippy, a little more schnazzy, a little more staying power under the hood, 'crushed velvets seats, oozing down the streets...'