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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What Man Wrought
Earth Abides, written in 1949, tells the story of the fall of civilization from deadly disease and its "rebirth". It is actually three books in one: the disintegration of the world, the establishment of a new collective culture, and the moral weights of leadership. I initially read it as a post-apocalyptic novel and was rewarded with a philosophical treatise on the loss...
Published on July 24 2010 by Jeffrey Swystun

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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


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What Man Wrought, July 24 2010
By 
Jeffrey Swystun (Toronto & Mont Tremblant) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Earth Abides (Paperback)
Earth Abides, written in 1949, tells the story of the fall of civilization from deadly disease and its "rebirth". It is actually three books in one: the disintegration of the world, the establishment of a new collective culture, and the moral weights of leadership. I initially read it as a post-apocalyptic novel and was rewarded with a philosophical treatise on the loss of a way of life and the dangers of man oversimplifying himself. The development of the tiny band's subsequent generations is more terrifying than a plague wiping out the planet. It is a story of 'what man wrought' but not in the way one anticipates. Originally classified a "science fiction" novel, now, with time, it must be categorized as literature.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Just simply a great classic story., May 9 2013
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This review is from: Earth Abides (Paperback)
Well written by a great writer. Best of the genre. I was glad to see that there were several more printings after my first encounter with this fascinating story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Melancholy Science Fiction Classic, Feb. 18 2013
By 
John M. Ford "johnDC" (near DC, MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Earth Abides (Paperback)
Isherwood Williams is away in the mountains pursuing his graduate field studies in geology. In our iPhone, instant connectivity world it is hard to imagine the isolation this kind of trip entailed in the 1950's when George Stewart wrote his book. Recovering from a snake bite, Ish stumbles back from the hills to find most of humanity wiped out by disease. We follow Ish through the remainder of his life as he comes to terms with a changing Earth--an Earth on which humanity is a barely noticeable presence.

The absence of humanity is not only a stark fact, but is emphasized by the author's writing style. Ish is a clear introvert and we experience much of the Earth's change through his internal monologue. Even when he encounters, interacts with, and teams up with other people, this produces very little dialogue. This style underscores the aloneness of the book's characters. It's not loneliness, in the emotional sense, but a continuing reminder that other people no longer play a significant role in the world.

The Earth itself becomes an evolving character in the book. We experience the successive rise and fall in populations of insects, rats, dogs and other species as seasons in the Earth's changing life. The diminishing resources scavenged by human beings from cities and storehouses are important to their survival, but also serve as markers of change as the Earth sheds the thin layers of Man's influence. This change is not progress, nor is it overly mourned as decline. It is thoroughly described and documented as inevitable change. Ish observes it and reacts to it. But neither he nor the other characters influence its path or pace.

Read and compare this book with two other classics of post-Apocalyptic fiction: Alas, Babylon and The Day of the Triffids. These works also follow their characters through crises, scavenging, and attempts to preserve the technology and civilization of the past. They are both more optimistic and more social in narrative style and in the strategies followed by their characters. After reading them, return to Earth Abides and appreciate it for the melancholy and aloneness felt by both its characters and its readers. It is a good story, a moving experience, and a skillful integration of message and writing style.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very gripping read, Jan. 31 2013
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This review is from: Earth Abides (Paperback)
Excellent story. Perhaps my favorite post-apocalyptic novel. Very sad at times, uplifting other times. Interesting political, social, and religious commentary within some episodes and chapters. I strongly recommend this book to anybody. I can't believe I hadn't heard of this novel before.
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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.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, Feb. 16 2004
By 
Tony M. (Wichita, Kansas United States) - See all my reviews
I first read this book back in 1967. At that time I was a kid and the whole story seemed to be nothing but "science fiction." I read about the way Ish went through his life, with a disbelief that it could ever happen here and now.
However, today I look at the possibility that civilization could be shattered by the loss of what we have come to consider the essential necessities of life - electricity, water, gas, gasoline, telephone, computers, drug stores and grocery stores. Now when I read Earth Abides, I realize that this story could actually happen to us. The problems that Ish had to deal with are now possible. As I read this story, I found myself wondering how I would handle dwindling supplies, the threats of animals and disease, the decreasing availability of items that spoil or evaporate, the social interaction with people, both good and bad. I wondered how I would deal with the lack of food, water, and medicine? Would I be able to survive in a deserted city with no electricity? With terrorists threatening to destroy our way of life, this book could be a survival guide for the modern man.
I especially found the greatest distress in this book was the way knowledge was lost. First Ish wanted to read and then it became less important and then the books fell apart. Ish became an antique with knowledge of things that meant nothing to the younger generation that was growing up around him. This book should be used to teach us all a lesson - that we must keep the flame of knowledge burning all the time or we could lose it so very fast.
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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).
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Earth Abides (Sf Masterworks 12)
Earth Abides (Sf Masterworks 12) by George R Stewart (Paperback - June 10 1999)
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