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Publisher's Summary

First published in 1949, award-winning Earth Abides is one of the most influential science-fiction novels of the 20th century. It remains a fresh, provocative story of apocalyptic pandemic, societal collapse, and rebirth.

The cabin had always been a special retreat for Isherwood Williams, a haven from the demands of society. But one day while hiking, Ish was bitten by a rattlesnake, and the solitude he had so desired took on dire new significance. 

He was sick for days - and often delirious - waking up to find two strangers peering in at him from the cabin door. Yet oddly, instead of offering help, the two ran off as if terrified. Not long after, the coughing began. Ish suffered chills and fever, and a measles-like rash on his skin. He was one of the few people in the world to live through that peculiar malady, but he didn't know it then.

Ish headed home when he finally felt himself again - and noticed the strangeness almost immediately. No cars passed him on the road; the gas station not far from his cabin looked abandoned; and he was shocked to see the body of a man on the roadside near a small town. 

Without a radio or phone, Ish had no idea of humanity’s abrupt demise. He had escaped death, yet could not escape the catastrophe - and with an eerie detachment he found himself curious as to how long it would be before all traces of civilization faded from Earth.

©1946, 1976; 2020 George R. Stewart. Introduction by Kim Stanley Robinson (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

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What listeners say about Earth Abides

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

The accolades are undeserved

I get that this book was published in 1949 and that times were "different" but what level of superiority must you have in your mind to have ever written such a lengthy diatribe of absolute rubbish. The reviewers who call this "naive" are correct. The writer lacks the experience or wisdom to have written the novel so the accolades for this title come off as a participation trophy instead of one of merit. His main character is in constant error, not as a plot point but instead because the writer was too arrogant to actually research how things work.

Folks who wax poetic over Thoreau because of Walden et al rarely take notice of the fact that he was living in Emerson's yard and that his mommy was still feeding him and washing his clothing for him while he found existential nirvana. He wrote a thing. *insert eyeroll emoji* When Stewart's main character exclaims that he found all the makings for a green salad in the deep freeze I knew Stewart himself had been waited on just like Thoreau. There are many small things that would have been so easily corrected. The book is long. Standing ovation for a man writing a long book. Really.

The book comes off as a disgusting advertisement for eugenics. Many other reviewers have hit upon the racism and sexism throughout the book and they aren't exaggerating in the slightest.

I'm obviously not wired for the arrogance and pomposity without substance that one has to stomach to entertain this type of writing. I would like to thank my family for not tossing me out the door for the many expletive laden outbursts throughout the listening of this hot, boring mess. (And yes, I'm aware that I just went on and on and on. The review is long. Standing ovation for me as well *insert another eyeroll emoji*)

If you want well written apocalyptic fiction that feels realistic (despite the freaking zombies) in its approach, plot and character development go chase down Sarah Lyons Fleming. It's not the typical "super cool fight scene where me and my super cool dude military buds narrowly escape over and over and over and over and over but hey super cool dude can pump out eleventy million of these zombie books a year" type of book. The books feel a bit more realistic and less like a teenaged boy fever dream. The only one of those types worth your time is Walt Browning's Extinction Survival series which is based on the Extinction Cycle series (see super cool description of super cool fight scenes and not much more for the ENTIRETY OF THE SERIES OTHER THAN BROWNING'S SPINOFF.) Browing works in some plot and a dog. We love the dog. If you want a bit of paranormal whosy whatsit swirling around your apocalypse, believe it or not Nora Robert's Chronicles of the One trilogy is pretty darned good and anytime you find Julia Whelan narrating, life is good. Chuck Wendig's 'Wanderers' and King's 'The Stand' both sort of fill that need for something that feels paranormal as well. None of these (except The Stand) may end up on some poor high school student's reading list but they are enjoyable and lack the snotty self indulgence of Earth Abides. That alone makes them better choices.

13 people found this helpful

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must listen if you're into civilization

absolutely loved it

save the introduction to the end of the story. I felt like it spoiled some of the storyline for me

12 people found this helpful

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chauvinist, racist- just too much

This was like being married to my asshole ex-husband and having to listen to his vile prattle. no thanks.

10 people found this helpful

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2020 Intro has major spoilers!

Loved this story and narrator. It's not action packed but didn't need it. Intellectual, poetic, relatable and timeless.

8 people found this helpful

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Odd story

I am a fan of the post apocalyptic story. I rarely finish one because they all seem so similar. World ends...it seems only bad people remain except one soldier with PSTD and guns and one damsel in distress. Fights ensue with excruciating detail, blah, blah, blah. Rarely does something different come along.
This story was written decades ago, and is different. It assumes most people are not evil. Most people would band together to make things work. Most people would be concerned with living and not hunting others out to take their stuff.
The story is a bit naive, and the writing is simplistic and silly in many places...but I do believe in reality there would be something between fighting hoards and simple folks. I did at least finish this very long story.
It would be nice to see more stories written that look for some good and talk more about the struggles of life after an extinction event. There are a few, but I am thinking I must have read them all, because I can’t find one now.

5 people found this helpful

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Naïve in a word.

First off, I read the reviews and it's hilarious how many people are up in arms about the political incorrectness of this book. He does nothing but swoon over his lady in the book and compliment her on her qualities he lacks. I even saw a comment about eugenics which is hilarious because that person obviously has no idea what that word means. Now for the actual review:

The story is naïve. I say this because it's a very optimistic idea of what the world would be like post pandemic that kills everyone. If you want an ok story set in post apocalyptical times, this is a good candidate. There are no real bad guys. Generally bad things don't happen (compared to what we now associate with post apocalyptic stories) . To sum up the story without spoiling much: it's about a guy, who at the age of 21 or something, experiences a pandemic that wipes out 99.9% of the world. The story follows his very easy life and journey until his death at a very old age. In the middle is simply lots of problem solving or criticizing humanity for becoming a machine.

One thing that bothered me about the narrator was his pronunciation of coupe. He says "coup-pay" and it's pronounced "kewp". Otherwise he did a decent job. The girl voices he did were kind of weird but whatever.

Shame on people who try to apply modern political correctness to a book written nearly 100 years ago. Sometimes I wish a pandemic would wipe out those people :)

4 people found this helpful

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Believable results of a worldwide pandemic

I had never heard of George R. Stewart before this but fell upon this book by accident. I am so glad I did as it was more than realistic. Of course it was written in the early '50's so some things are quite different but for the basics, I was totally enthralled with the story, presentation and, as I said above, realism. I totally recommend this book.

4 people found this helpful

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sooo good

I first read this book in middle school in the early 90sthere are a few dated themes in the book that are tooth gmashingly uncomfortable to sit through like with concerns about the chsractereviewe would call them ableist andsugenecist today but the book was ahead of it's time in. lot of ways such a good one the narrator did a fine jobthis was an enjoyable listen I definitely recommend!

3 people found this helpful

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Just so-so

The book starts out interesting enough, but quickly annoyances arise. The number one annoyance is the main character. You want to enter the book and just smack him around, he’s an idiot. The book doesn’t seem to acknowledge that none of his actions for the first 20 years or so make much sense at all. The author is just pleased to repeatedly give examples of animals that overpopulated and died off, but hey, the Earth abides! Then the author thinks it’s so clever to mention how human influenced species died out after humans were gone. WOW you don’t say, gee never thought of that, you clever author! So it’s a book with an idiotic worthless main character (and the book never acknowledges what a moron he is, it’s like the author doesn’t even realize that who he is writing isn’t doing anything rational) who made me happy if anything bad happened to him or almost happened to him, and also the book takes a preachy tone at times, probably subscribing to the Malthusian idea that there are too many people. Sometimes the book is interesting but on the whole I found it very average.

1 person found this helpful

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G-rated apocalypse

If you're looking for action or excitement look elsewhere. This is the G-rated apocalypse and there is virtually no hardship and maybe one or two small conflicts throughout the entire book.

1 person found this helpful