Customer Reviews


172 Reviews
5 star:
 (113)
4 star:
 (25)
3 star:
 (11)
2 star:
 (12)
1 star:
 (11)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasantly slow demise
Earth Abides is not a typical post-apocalyptic novel. It doesn't present a world of mutants, giant cockroaches or bands of marauders. It simply shows the slow and inevitable decay of man and all his works, in the teeth of attempts by the protagonist to restore the old ways of civilization. In that it succeeds beautifully and shows us the grandeur of our world and the...
Published on May 1 2007 by Krypter

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic... At First.
"Men come and go, but Earth abides." These chilling words written by George R. Stewart leave the reader feeling bare and stripped in the popular science fiction novel "Earth Abides." A novel I read and still can't decide what to think about it.
This book is filled with puzzling situations, frustrating moments, and mind-bending problems that make the reader ask,...
Published on Dec 16 2001 by Elise


‹ Previous | 1 218 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasantly slow demise, May 1 2007
This review is from: Earth Abides (Paperback)
Earth Abides is not a typical post-apocalyptic novel. It doesn't present a world of mutants, giant cockroaches or bands of marauders. It simply shows the slow and inevitable decay of man and all his works, in the teeth of attempts by the protagonist to restore the old ways of civilization. In that it succeeds beautifully and shows us the grandeur of our world and the majesty of what we have wrought...then compares it to the greater majesty of nature and the eternal gaze of time. The novel works best as a family drama, more Swiss Family Robinson than Mad Max, and has no sensational adventures to offer other than the daily tribulations of life. For man may be a great creature, but he is still small and the world doesn't really need him at all...

Earth Abides is the most meditative and serene post-apocalyptic novel I've ever read, and it's recommended for more thoughtful readers who won't be easily bored.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you, George R. Stewart, Jan. 4 2004
By 
Glenn R. Anderson (Orlando, FL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Earth Abides (Hardcover)
George R. Stewart's "Earth Abides" was written in 1949, so of course there are some anachronisms that occasionally jolt the reader. The Giants play at the Polo Grounds and the Dodgers at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. There are no interstate highways and radios all have vacuum tubes.
These minor historical curiosities aside, what truly amazes is the timeless of Stewart's story. How many science fiction novels from 1949 still rate the glowing reviews of "Earth Abides" you will find here? By comparison so many modern sci-fi stories are formulaic, written with short, choppy sentences, shallow characters, and action sequences ready made for transfer to the screen.
Stewart's vision of the future, where education and especially reading, slowly fad away after an apocalypse applies more to today's world than that of his own. His characters have little ability to bring back the technological remnants of the dead world, and truly, if 99% of the people on the planet were to disappear how many of us have the skills to keep the power going, the water flowing, and automobiles running decades after the disaster? His characters adapt to their environment in the most natural way.
In the nearly four decades I have been reading books this is one of a handful that has made a memorable impression and which I consistently continue to recommend.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic... At First., Dec 16 2001
"Men come and go, but Earth abides." These chilling words written by George R. Stewart leave the reader feeling bare and stripped in the popular science fiction novel "Earth Abides." A novel I read and still can't decide what to think about it.
This book is filled with puzzling situations, frustrating moments, and mind-bending problems that make the reader ask, "What would I do?"
Plague has struck the world, and people are dying by the millions. A lone survivor, Ish, on a mountain camping trip manages to fend off the disease with snakebite. He returns to a frozen, empty world, and is determined to find civilization and life in the seemingly dead planet. Most of the people he meets are in shock, having seen the horrors of death and destruction of the planet and are stupefied, unable to talk sense or even take care of themselves. One man Ish comes across is drinking himself to death; only eating things out of cans and seems only half-alive. Through his journey's, Ish has a growing urge to settle down and establish life as he knew it again. He alone must save the human race.
I thought this book was very interesting, at first. The beginning was intriguing and exciting to think about. But after a while, the idea became old, and boring. Ish just begins to muse over the world's pathetic state, talk about how he's the only intelligent person left, and even starts to become a little snobbish to say the least. The way women were used merely as wombs, though logical in such a situation, got a little annoying also. The detail and wordiness left my mind to wonder away from the book, and I even recall something as simple as a storm drain overflowing taking up two pages to talk about. Ish's endless attempts to get people to think and work for themselves also become a bit momentous and bothersome. It really makes you want to slowly go crazy along with Ish, as you read his "bible", page after page of musing nonsense. I really wanted to tell him to start enjoying life and give up on trying to control everyone's thoughts and actions, just to let things go. But there were moments of truly beautiful writing and raw honesty that drew me out of the droning slump. When Ish finds something to believe in, though, it was really disappointing to have it destroyed so suddenly. Ish becomes so obsessed with saving the world, he becomes very self righteous and stuck up, he transforms from a hero into someone you are sick of and increasingly angry with. The author looses his grip on the story and turns the book into a guide of what to do if you find out the world's population has come to an end, and it's up to you, being the only truly sane and intelligent person, to save the planet. The character's personalities fade, and you are left with a bunch of names and occasional dialogue.
The novel begins with a bang, and ends with a whimper, which makes the reader want to whine as well. It was not something I'd want loved ones to read, but I would highly recommend the first two hundred pages, and then move on to something else. The people who say they truly enjoyed this book through and through, in my opinion, are liars. It's a thoughtfully written piece, and deserves the recognition it receives, but if you are looking to be entertained, find another book, "Earth Abides" will leave you out in the cold.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Earth Abides, June 27 2001
The idea of an apocalyptic end of our planet and of humankind has always been extremely prevalent in society. From religion to movies, theories of annihilation can be found everywhere. But few books attempt to tackle the subject of life after the end. I think George Stewart wrote this book in the 60's and I wanted to see what his ideas were on that subject. The premise was great, but I was extremely disappointed with Earth Abides because Stewart brings in many themes/ideas but never goes into any of them in any detail whatsoever. There is absolutely no emotional connection with any of the characters,and even less so with Ish, the main character. I felt like I was waiting for something to happen throughout the book, and it never came. The author attempts to tackle way too many "big" subjects at the same time, and in the end,he fails. The only reason I gave this book even one star is because the reader can learn about how the world may deteriorate in the future when man is no longer here.One could say that that is a positive thing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Flat Earth, April 25 2000
Having loved this story 20 years ago as a teenager, it pains me now to find that it is surely the worst novel on my bookshelves. All the characters are two-dimensional. The dialogue is uniformly stiff and amateurish. The story's hero is arrogant, aloof and dismissive of anyone he perceives as inferior. Since he actually perceives *everyone* as inferior, the book quickly becomes very tiresome. Perhaps the saddest aspect of "Earth Abides" is that the story is clearly and shockingly the fantasy of someone who dreamed of existing in a world without people, or at most with just a thin sprinkling of simple folks over whom he could rule as their intellectual master. "Earth Abides" is a truly awful book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally believable sci-fi, Feb. 11 2004
By 
Neil Sorenson - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
It blows my mind to imagine a book like this having been written over 50 years ago as it deals with the end (and reformation) of civilization in a way that is believable and lacking artificial plot devices to keep things moving and interesting.
Amazing that a book of this era could present the death of the American way of life as a positive ending (and still get published).
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A timeless story of a global biological holocaust, Jan. 1 2004
By 
Roger J. Buffington (Huntington Beach, CA United States) - See all my reviews
The premise of this novel is that mankind suddenly experiences a biological holocaust in the form of a new disease--a form of super-measles that wipes out all but a tiny remnant of mankind. The author explains that "mankind had too long been rolling an endless succession of sevens" and that like all animals that had multiplied out of turn, the sudden catastrophe was inevitable to set the balance back to what nature intended. This novel tells the story of a very small group of survivors, and suggests what life would be like under in the aftermath, and perhaps, more profoundly, what such a scenario might mean for mankind.
The author's premise is that little or nothing of civilization would survive such an event. In the story **very minor spoiler** although the survivors make attempts at preserving the skills and lessons of civilization, this eventually becomes impossible against the tide of events sweeping mankind back not just to barbarism (in which some skills and beliefs might have survived) but to downright savagery and superstition. The most profound thought that the author successfully imparts is that all of the traditions, skills, and manifestations of our civilization could--and would--be lost in a single generation. Unforgettable is when one of the characters in the story looks out at the ruins of the San Francisco Bay Bridge (before it too passes away) and asks--"who built this." The protagonist thinks for a second and answers: "the Americans built it." The next question is "who were the Americans?" I have never forgotten this exchange, which I felt illustrated brilliantly how important it is for one generation to impart the best ideas of civilization to the next, and how easily all our achievements and successes might be lost in the face of a global catastrophe.
The reader need not and probably will not agree with all of the author's conclusions about what would happen in this scenario. Would we really lose the skill of a written language? Would we really fall all the way back almost to the Old Stone Age? The author will challenge the reader's own thoughts on this subject, and that is fine. One need not agree with all of the conclusions that the novel contains to enjoy this story.
Although written many years ago, upon re-reading this novel recently I found that it had lost little or none of its impact or relevance. It features a bit more prudishness than a modern novel might contain, but in my opinion is none the worse for this. The story is well-told, the prose is quite good, and the storyline moves along all the while capturing and retaining the reader's interest. This is a novel that I would recommend to everyone.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Ancestor of King's "The Stand" Offers Far-Greater Reality, Nov. 19 2003
By 
Christian E. Senftleben "christian__s" (Costa Mesa, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Stewart's books was perfectly creepy and emotional. I identified with the protagonist greatly, and do not feel he was too passive or overly-cerebral. Truth be known, in the few crises I have known, I've often reacted much like him. Okay, I'm a little more attached to things than he is, but I feel this is a plot contrivance to allow the story to go forward.
Having read and re-read "The Stand" quite a few times now, I was struck by Stewart's decision (1) not to gather large groups together, (2) not to restart civilization (e.g., electricity, running water, et al), and (3) to cover such a large span of time. "The Stand" covers perhaps up to a year after a plague wipes out 99% of the human race. This book covers over a half-dozen decades. I feel that all three of these decisions demonstrated a far more likely result than King's use of dreams as a "deus ex machina" to gather persons into two camps for the "final conflict" between good and evil.
Born in 1976, I am only now becoming aware of these post-apocalyptic classics. I have now finished "On the Beach" by Nevil Shute, "Alas, Babylon" by Pat Frank, and of course this one. The first two dealt with the all-too-real Nuclear Nightmare that even I experienced (though all those younger than me can't even remember there being a USSR). Shute's book was "a stern warning of things to come" and "Alas, Babylon" was more of a man vs. nature story.
But this one, it dealt with the nightmare that first captivated me in "The Stand" - a world decimated by plague, leaving the infrastructure intact. While Stewart did not pick up the thread the way I wish he had - that is, some form of civilization being preserved, rather than yet another "Time Machine"-style primitive culture that barely recalls our culture. However, Stewart does spend a great amount of time talking about the decay of this world, and that fascinated me. Storm drains clogging, water seeping into houses and rotting the carpets, termites collapsing houses over the work of decades, dust settling into the corners of the Golden Gate Bridge and grass growing there, and the work of rain and frost on the Northeast roads. All of this riveted me.
My biggest complaints are mostly minor, such as (1) how could running water go on for 20 years? (2) why did it take so long for the electricity to run out, and the biggest one (3) why were there no signs of panic (e.g., looting, riots, massive traffic jams as swarms of panicked people ran about in civilization's death throes, et al).
My biggest gripe, however, is spiritual. Nobody in this book, even former churchgoers and clergy, feel any need to reach out to God. Admittedly, I'm biased, being a Christian, Biblical scholar, and future University prof. But I am a rational being, and I feel a rational argument can be made for the spiritual side of man, a characteristic that even the protagonist recognizes, even if he can't properly articulate, let alone address, this "God-shaped hole" in each of us.
Now, I realize that science fiction, even more than other genres, allow us to paint on a blanked canvas (the devastated world) our worldviews on such things as man's innate goodness or evil, the necessity or redundancy of God (e.g., church, Scriptures, etc.), the expression of our social nature, the necessity (or redundancy) of modern technologically-dependent society, and so forth. I understand that we're not all going to agree; I don't feel it's my job to insist on homogeneity amongs everyone. However, if I wrote a book along these lines, I would make sure to include atheists, skeptics and agnostics, along with members of other religions (at varying degrees of dedication) along with those persons I feel "make sense" from my perspective. While by no means do I feel "all religions lead to God" or that "you just need to be sincere," I do agree that any description of a post-apocalyptic (or any other) reality, in order to be fair to the multiplicity of human thought and experience, must recognize that "it takes all kinds."
That said, I did find myself chilled by the spiritual apathy evidenced, among other things, by the community's perception of "Evie," the mentally-challenged pariah. "We don't want no idiot children ruining the gene pool" the protagonist declared in some fashion on numerous occasions. While I may see, in a survival-based world, the necessity of taking precautions, I did feel that the cold and unfeeling attitude ("should we have even let her live?" Ish asks himself repeatedly) was frightfully inhumane. There is no "all are created equal" here, no "all are God's children" here. While I understand expediency, I do not feel it must be carried out heartlessly.
However, apart from this one real gripe, I truly do recommend this book to anyone interested by such things, like me. After borrowing this book from a library (copies are hard to find!) I've decided to buy it. I suppose that's the best recommendation I can give...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A Remarkable Book, Sept. 5 2003
By 
Marc Friedlander "Libre" (Howard Beach, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Having just finished reading Earth Abides, by George R. Stewart, my mind cannot put it down. When I began the book, I expected an apocalypse type novel, and it is that, but it is very much more. I was drawn into the existence of the main character, Isherwood Williams, in such a profound way that I am quite at a loss without him. He is not a formula hero, in that he has human frailties. He is a ponderer and a worrier, much like me. Perhaps that is why I was able to relate to him so easily. He takes nothing at face value, instead he is always fretting, contemplating, and evaluating. His successes are mitigated and his blessings are mixed, as is often the case in real life. There is nothing about the book that is formula, which is a rarity in this genre. On the contrary, it is a truly original work, replete with both adventure and philosophy. The writing style flows beautifully, without an unnecessary phrase or a word out of place. It is a true work of literature, one of the best books I ever read. I am sure that its effect on me will endure, and I will remember this book and its vivid characters for the rest of my life.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A different kind of post-apocalyptic novel, Aug. 31 2003
By 
P. Nicholas Keppler "rorscach12" (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Earth Abides by George Stewart is one of many post-apocalyptic novels written during the height of the Cold War. However it is quieter and more introspective than most of its peers, something made evident by the manor of disaster that devastates mankind in the novel. Instead of a nuclear inferno, a viral plague almost eradicates humanity. Isherwood "Ish" Williams is trapped in an isolated cabin recovering from a snakebite when the epidemic is unleashed. When he heals and ventures outward, he discovers the near extinction of his species and begins a search for others who immune to the disease.
That section is interesting but Earth Abides becomes a truly outstanding novel when Ish discovers others and they found a new society. Stewart takes a sociological approach to this development. He gives a fascinating account of a community completely isolated from other communities and a generation living in a Garden-of-Eden-state, completely isolated from its own past. One of the novel's best moments occurs when an untrustworthy visitor comes to the area and Ish and the other elders must decide what action to take. Their decision will surprise you. Both in the post-apocalyptic genre and the field of science fiction in general, Earth Abides is a gem.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 218 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Earth Abides (Sf Masterworks 12)
Earth Abides (Sf Masterworks 12) by George R Stewart (Paperback - June 10 1999)
Used & New from: CDN$ 5.92
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews