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Earth Abides: The 60th Anniversary Edition | [George R. Stewart]

Earth Abides: The 60th Anniversary Edition

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

NOTE: This 60th anniversary edition of Earth Abides includes a special introduction written and read by Hugo Award-winning writer Connie Willis.

©1949, renewed 1976 by George R. Stewart; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • 1951 World Fantasy Award, Best Novel
  • All-Time Best Science Fiction Novels (Locus Magazine)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (1381 )
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Performance
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  •  
    David Abilene, TX 03-03-14
    David Abilene, TX 03-03-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Don't Read if You're Looking for Action"

    This was not a bad book. I enjoyed it. However, it is definitely not action-packed. The book follows the life of a man called Ish, who finds himself one of the few who survives a plague that kills nearly all of mankind. He later is the leader of a small group, mostly made up of his children (born post-apocalypse) and grandchildren, plus a friend and his wives, children and grandchildren. The story mainly follows Ish's cerebral musings regarding life, the old civilization, and how the post-apocalyptic children will grow and adapt, not having the knowledge of anything concerning modern life in the past, other than the remnants that man had left. This is an old book, and quite different than the books I have read recently, and different than most other books about an apocalypse. It is more of a saga, chronicling the life of Ish, his mullings, and his hopes and fears about the future. Not everyone will like it, so be aware of what type of book this is before you listen.

    The narrator was okay. Nothing special, but not irritating in any way. Probably a good choice for this book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    larry Elkhart, IN, United States 08-12-12
    larry Elkhart, IN, United States 08-12-12 Member Since 2010
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    Story
    "Thot it would have been better!"
    Would you try another book from George R. Stewart and/or Jonathan Davis and Connie Willis ?

    Probably not


    Has Earth Abides turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Maybe a more modern book would get my attention


    What didn’t you like about Jonathan Davis and Connie Willis ’s performance?

    On and on and on! Much ado about nothing! In my humble opinion!


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment, The review sounded terrific! The book was not!


    Any additional comments?

    Maybe it's just me but this book and Bill O'Riley's "Killing Lincoln" are two of the worst books I just couldn't get thru! I am 63 yrs. old and maybe I am not mature or intelligent enough to appreciate fine writing! Please tell me "it ain't so!! Did you honestly enjoy this book?

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dustin Walton, KY, United States 02-20-11
    Dustin Walton, KY, United States 02-20-11 Listener Since 2009
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    "Poorly written, unrealistic and boring"

    I love the post apocalyptic genre, and I really wanted to like this book, but for me, this book had some major problems. Before I start I should state that I only listened to the first part of the audible download for this book (about 7 hrs). It's possible that by some miracle the second part is far better, but I see no reason to believe that. My biggest complaint with this book is the way it's written. The lack of dialogue really made this a dry read. I know that there aren't many characters in the book, so the lack of dialogue makes sense, but it really made this a boring read. Give this guy a ball named Wilson to talk to, or an imaginary friend, ANYTHING. I thought when Princess was introduced that there would finally be some dialogue; nope. This book is 99% narration and 1% dialogue. Speaking of narration, normally a character's personality is revealed through their dialogue, and their actions, but this book is almost all straight narration. Instead of "showing" us an action and leaving it to us to understand Ish's motivations based on past actions and dialogue, the narrarator literally tells us everything. His reasoning, thoughts, motivations, dialogue, none of this is "shown" to us, it is all stated. We never see Ish's suffering, we are just told about it, occasionally. What I'm trying to say is, there are times when reading a book that your imagination takes over and as you read the book you can almost "see" the things taking place in your imagination, this never happens in this book. It's like this book was narrarated to deliver information, and not to engage the reader. It's boring. Last, I don't think this book is realistic at all, I imagine that after a catastrophe like this, a person would try to satisfy their basic needs (food, water, shelter, companionship), instead Ish just drives around judging people; and the thought that a snake bite would cure a plague just seems ridiculous. I can't recommend this book. Avoid it like the plague.

    2 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Book Fan Virginia 08-05-10
    Book Fan Virginia 08-05-10

    Ima

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Boring, boring, boring"

    Sorry, I know this is suppose to be a 'classic'. It was classically boring to the nth degree. I even skipped about and nothing ever really changes. Let me sum it up for you. Plague, a few people find one another, plant plants, plant more plants, watch the ants and rats die out, have kids, scribble on a rock for 20 years, the end.

    If you want to listen to a really great book, get One Second After. Blows this dull piece away.

    3 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Drew (@drewsant) Watertown, MA, United States 10-12-12
    Drew (@drewsant) Watertown, MA, United States 10-12-12 Member Since 2009

    Post apocalyptic listener with some thrillers mixed in. Follow me on twitter at @drewsant

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sad Comentary on Humanity maks for sad story"
    What disappointed you about Earth Abides?

    This book is about what is wrong with us as humans. The beginning of the book is very interesting as the main character, drives around the country to see what is left in the aftermath of the disease that has wiped out most of the population. After that the book goes downhill. The characters are not that likable. The children are brats, and the adults lack the conviction to make them better people. The items which are in the story aren’t realistic (it is very unlikely that gas would not be usable after 20+ years even if stored well), and overall the story just wasn’t very interesting to me. If this is who’s left after then I hope I don’t make it.


    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John LONG ISLAND CITY, NY, United States 09-26-12
    John LONG ISLAND CITY, NY, United States 09-26-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Dated and very talky"
    Would you try another book from George R. Stewart and/or Jonathan Davis and Connie Willis ?

    Yes


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Read it forty years ago, it ended just about how you would expect.


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

    Connie Willis was perfect, Jonathan Davis was a little to monotonous and dreamy.


    Did Earth Abides inspire you to do anything?

    See if Also Babylon or Malevil is in audio format and re-read them. Both are far superior
    to this story which is very dated.


    Any additional comments?

    Contrary to Connie Willis' review I did not find anything that I missed or enjoyed more the second time. Verry, very talky in parts.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Crow 05-02-09
    Steve Crow 05-02-09 Listener Since 2007
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    "Racist, Pretentious"

    CAUTION: Earth Abides was written over 60 years ago and it shows. The human population is largely wiped out by a disease leaving just a few scattered survivors across the United States, some of whom have been driven mad.

    The word that comes to mind about this book is "pretentious." The lead character, "Ish" is a Graduate geology student but sounds more like a 75 year old classics professor from Yale. This is common for books written during this era - few of the characters seem true to life, instead they make fine speeches and have eloquent inner dialogues. Who talks that way?

    And boy does Ish think a lot of himself!

    Filled with quotes and stories from classical literature and poetry, I haven't heard the words Thee and Thine spoken so much as in this book.

    He constantly refers to African Americans as Negroes (this is what first turned me off and again can be explained by the date it was written) Worse, his portrayal of one group of surviving African Americans sounds like a scene taken from Uncle Tom's Cabin.

    A strong sense of elitism pervades and the author feels that most Americans, while well meaning and good natured, are essentially stupid and unable to live in anything but the moment. Only rarely does a thinker come along says the author.

    Very little happens in the first 21 years of the story. Ish gathers together a small group of survivors into what they call a tribe who survive by living off the scraps of a dead society. Shockingly they don't even set up any kind of schooling for the children until at least that point in the story.

    Very slow paced, I found myself fast forwarding through sections waiting for something to happen other than Ish talking to himself.

    The technology is from the 50's but I feel sure that the author would tell us that matter little since human being today are much the same as we were then. Perhaps, but at least we're on our way to leaving racism behind.

    12 of 51 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew st.charles, MO, USA 03-06-10
    Andrew st.charles, MO, USA 03-06-10 Member Since 2009
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    "best"

    this is one of the best books i have ever readed

    2 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    deedeeg gilbert, AZ, United States 09-03-13
    deedeeg gilbert, AZ, United States 09-03-13 Member Since 2010

    deedeeg

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    "Protagonist"

    Earth Abides has nothing but good reviews. But I'm sorry to have to say I didn't much care for it. The Protagonist, Ish, was a hard one for me to connect with. I had a very hard time with his superiority complex. His main priority was pretty much to observe how everything develops in his post apocalyptic environment. I don't do well with characters that contradict themselves. Ish holds himself above everyone else in the story due to his intellect but he didn't have much of an issue allowing the young ones around him to be pretty much ignorant about pretty much everything as the story develops. He even comes to believe himself to be a God. There just was not one thing about this story that I liked.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aaron United States 07-22-11
    Aaron United States 07-22-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "worth reading, but not the best..."

    An aging story.
    I liked this novel, but it I am on the fence about it. I liked the book on a whole, but the middle and end dragged into tedium. Pretty unlikely, and too slow to be really interesting, but I still liked it somehow.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
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