Earth Abides

Earth Abides

eBook - 1949
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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 -- although, somehow, he never doubted that he'd live through the ordeal. Often delirious, he did awake at one point 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 that, the coughing began. Ish suffered chills followed by fever, and a measles-like rash that had nothing to do with snake bite broke out 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 had an air of abandonment; and he was shocked to see the body of a man lying by 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 awesomeness of the catastrophe--and, with an eerie detachment, he found himself curious as to how long it would be before all traces of man's civilization faded from the Earth.

At the same time, he couldn't help wondering whether others had survived, and whether even a handful of human beings would

Publisher: New York : Random House, 1949.
ISBN: 9780547593708
Branch Call Number: eBOOK OVERDRI
Characteristics: text file
1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc. - Distributor


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Sep 15, 2017

Why is this book listed as being published in 2006? It was first published in 1949!

Jun 27, 2016

This was on Justin Cronin list of five favorite post apocalyptic books. It is a great read. The world changes with most of the population killed in a flu pandemic. With little population skills decrease and people resort to bows and arrows. An older book published in 1949 but a great read.

Jun 19, 2015

I'll be thinking about this book long after I've written this review, so I'll just say that it is an amazing story. Isherwood "Ish" Williams somehow survives the disease that fells 99% of human life and carries on as he did 'before the Great Disaster', observing things--people, animals, ecology, geology, climate, weather. Though his initial encounters with other survivors don't incline him to seek out others, he finally meets Em, a strong and courageous woman, with whom he will sow the seeds (both literally and figuratively) of humankind's future. I agree with the Christian Science Monitor in its assessment that "The book has more though-challenging elements than a shelfful of ordinary novels." There are so many things to think about beyond the mere survival of humans, and the book is full of asides about how the earth is faring after the "Great Disaster", which can hardly be a useful term as far as the earth is concerned. I cannot even begin to list the quotes I found memorable and thought-provoking. Go get a copy of this book--I'll be off to the 2nd-hand bookshops right away--and read it.

May 28, 2015

This classic work of post-apocalyptic science fiction sets the standard by which all future PASF should be judged. It was written in the 1940s and exhibits an almost comical yet refreshing look into the recent past as well as an equally prescient one into the future. My, how things have changed. If your idea of good sci-fi is a space opera with lots of shooting, this isn’t it. Star Wars fans need not apply.

Earth Abides is thoughtful, thought-provoking, literary, and unpredictable. It is in many ways disturbing, yet also hopeful. The author was a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, a true scholar and polymath. If you have an IQ below 125 and less than a college degree you are probably going to have trouble in places, for he can be pretentious and pedantic in his writing at times. It tested my vocabulary. Still, the story isn’t hard to follow and the characters are engaging and original. I really enjoyed this book.

Nov 05, 2013

I read this book over 30 years ago and still remember it well. I have thought of it often over the years. I often think of it when I open a can of tunafish, and I've always liked to have an extra supply of tunafish on hand. After the collapse of civilization, people will survive on tunafish for years.

Nov 05, 2013

I read this book in 1971 and I never forgot it. The only book I have remembered by title. I looked for the book over the years but was not successful in finding it. When I became computer literate I looked it up on used book sites but refused to pay $70 for a copy. The funny thing is that in my memories of it in the past and my rereading it just last month there is very little in common. I remembered it being about how the earth took over, nature reclaiming cities, overgrowing everything, the different plagues of rats and cockroaches. Yet the book only touched on these topics lightly in passing. I thought Ish took his people and traveled more but not so.. Funny how your memory can be so wrong. That is a great lesson. Makes me question my life's memories. But I still enjoyed it the second time.

Aug 10, 2012

This post apocalyptic tale is from the perspective one one man, and that works very well. Especially enjoyed how disease and the breakdown of infrastructure tied in with the story of his small community. Very thought provoking, and made more enjoyable by other recent reads - The World Without Us; Genes Germs and Civilization; The Ecotechnic Future. I can see why this is on 6 different "best" science fiction lists.

May 19, 2012

I've read many post apocalyptic stories and this is one of the best!!!

bellreads May 13, 2012

I have read Earth Abides, published 1968, 4 times now and I still get hooked by the story. Michael

Apr 17, 2012

First recommended by a friend in 1983, I reread this compelling and thought-provoking book over the past winter. It offers one of the most nuanced and fully realized tales of individual struggle and adaption to a catastrophic plague I've come across. The survivors gravitate to and seek accomodation with each other (and their environment), leading to the development of a culture that retreats by steps and turns from pre-crisis civilization. The main characters evoke an unsettling sympathy as they attempt to cope with the following waves of ecological dislocation, and ultimately begin loosening the ties that bound them to a past life rooted in the mid 20th -Century America.

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Sep 28, 2013

waltzingechidna thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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Dec 12, 2011

Men go and come, but earth abides


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