Earth Abides Paperback
Author: Visit Amazon's George R. Stewart Page | Language: English | ISBN: 0345487133
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From the Inside Flap
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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About the Author
George Rippey Stewart (May 31, 1895 – August 22, 1980) was an American toponymist, a novelist, and a professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley. He is best known for his only science fiction novel Earth Abides (1949), a post-apocalyptic novel, for which he won the first International Fantasy Award in 1951. It was dramatized on radio's Escape and inspired Stephen King's The Stand.
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- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Del Rey; Reprint edition (March 28, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345487133
- ISBN-13: 978-0345487131
- Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
One thing that disturbs people about Earth Abides is its incredible humbling realism about the human condition. People who read it come away profoundly unnerved by the idea that civilization is not something guaranteed to come into existence if we lose it and that it requires an enormous convergence of many different kinds of stimulus to create the energies needed within a race of men to bring it into being. Even the most gifted races of people on the Earth can barely hold it together in the best of times, George Stewart shows us how easily it can all fall apart and remain in a primeval condition for untold generations.
The protagonist Isherwood suffers from the same disease that afflicts even the best of men - he lacks direction, loses initiative, becomes too preoccupied with the daily stresses of living and watches his life trickle away in the post apocalyptic environment without ever seeming to summon the right kinds of ambitions to carry out his grand dreams of rebuilding the old world.
Stewart was quite prophetic considering when this book was written because many modern anthropologists have since confirmed that many previous civilizations have died out precisely because of this "critical threshold" of the division of labor and sheer numbers of vanished races being too low to sustain a breeding population and achieve the critical mass that leads to a progress oriented civilization. Stewart was very perceptive too be able to articulate this phenomenon and even narrate its exact trajectory following the loss of so many people who were vital components in the world that Isherwood regrets the demise of.
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