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Earth Abides [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

George R. Stewart , Connie Willis , Jonathan Davis
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
RRP: 28.31
Price: 27.97 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

15 Oct 2009
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.


From the Paperback edition.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; Unabridged edition (15 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441806148
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441806147
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 17.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,020,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Generally regarded as the classic tale of life struggling on after a global disaster, Earth Abides (1949) was George R. Stewart's only venture into SF. Before the first page the human race has been almost completely wiped out by plague. Our hero Isherwood "Ish" Williams discovers a female survivor and fumblingly tries to bring up a new civilization in the ruins of California. It's an elegiac story of loss as humanity makes it through the crisis, at the cost of our race's painfully gathered knowledge--which seems irrelevant to the new generations as they develop a hunter-gatherer society reminiscent of the old Amerindian tribes, and see no practicality in the fabulous tales of the old days told them by Ish. His nickname is deliberately reminiscent of Ishi, the once famous Californian Indian who was also the last of his tribe and became a misfit in a new world, in his case early 20th-century America. Annoyingly for fans of survivalist SF who reckon civilization can be rebuilt in about a month with a Swiss army knife, Earth Abides proposes that the cycle of regrowth will take significant time ... but there is always time. Stewart's title and epigraph echo the Book of Ecclesiastes: "Men go and come, but Earth abides." One of the sadder, gentler Millennium SF Masterworks reissues. --David Langford --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

SALES POINTS * #12 in the Millennium SF Masterworks series, a library of the finest science fiction ever written * The first winner of the International Fantasy Award * ¿A profound, poetic, post-holocaust novel of immense stature: so special I wanted mine to be the only copy¿ -- Garry Kilworth --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A timeless classic 18 Mar 2006
Format:Paperback
I first read Earth Abides as a teenager and was greatly impressed with it then. I have now just read it again at the age of 53 after finding it through Amazon. This is clearly one of the greatest's texts I have read and I don't say that lightly. I was deeply moved as I re-read the chronicling of the passing of an era and the great deep wisdom of Ish, the main character. Even more poignant in these difficult days. It has given me great pleasure to to record these words of appreciation. I wonder why it has never been made into a film, but am also pleased as the dignity of the message of this book remains untarnished. If you want to read a profound story on the fragile nature of our civilisation and the great strength of human beings read this.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Thought A Swan Dying Was Beautiful 25 April 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I have always enjoyed post-apocalypse stories and approached 'Earth Abides' as another of those, if a somewhat more subtle one. But it is not another one of those. Stewart had an uncanny perception of the natural world and this permeates every page. He describes a seductive, idyllic existence where humans and nature are inseparable. One criticism is that of the 'cosy catastrophe'. The first sixty pages or so are slow, but stick with it because it contains the most moving and heartbreaking death scene in literature ever. It is difficult to believe that it was written a half-century ago, so little has it dated.
This is a quiet book and attracts little attention to itself even within sf. It has yet to receive the wider praise I am sure it will one day attain. If one book ever deserved to escape the constraints of genre fiction and find favour amongst the mainstream this is it. If everyone in the world read it, it is hard to see how the world would not be a better place.
There are downsides though. 'Earth Abides' may well become the bench mark by which every book you read after it will be compared to and your friends will probably get fed up of you talking about it.
Only shut up when they've read it too.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic ... 3 Mar 2004
Format:Paperback
This book must be one of the most memorable SF books I have ever read. Well written and thought provoking. Virtually no science involved, just a cracking story with well drawn characters. Like the best SF, it is well written fiction as well as being highly imaginative.
It will stay in your imagination forever.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars remarkable meditation on ecology and anthropology 17 April 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a beautifully written, quietly profound book that affected me deeply as I read it and has stuck in my mind ever since. The starting point of the book is a catastrophe that all but wipes out humanity, but the real interest lies in the author's exploration of what happens to nature and to the few humans left behind in a world after human society has disappeared.

Ecological changes as the abandoned cities crumble are beautifully imagined (I was reminded of the recently published (sort-of)non-fiction The World without Us), and would on their own be reason enough to read this book. But it's the exploration of the survivors' slow descent into a more primitive way of life that makes this book so powerful. Ish, the main protagonist, is an academic who believes passionately that the accumulated knowledge of human civilisation must be preserved, and he tries to instil his passion for learning in each new generation of the tribe's children. Of course, each new generation is less interested than the last in the teachings of the 'old world', a world which they have never experienced and are unable to imagine. With no reason for anyone to learn anything that doesn't concern day-to-day survival, literacy and numeracy soon die out. This isn't quite a grim descent into primitivism - new skills and customs, more suited to the changed world, take the place of old ones, and Ish eventually comes to a resigned acceptance that when he dies the old civilisation will die with him.

There is a huge amount here besides - religion, superstition, relationships, politics, language - all are dealt with realistically and in service to the plot.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best post-apocalyptic fiction ever 26 July 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Quite simply the best post-apocalyptic fiction, ever. Some say 'A Canticle for Leibowitz' is better, but in my opinion they are wrong. Compared to 'Earth Abides', 'The Road' is dreary. The only problem with Earth Abides is that they should have made a film of it years ago. My only hope is that someone does do the film one day but please don't leave it too long. I read Earth Abides for the first time over 30 years ago and every 5 or 10 years I feel the need to reread it. Some say it is dated but I think not. Unlike a lot of science fiction the 'science' has been lost to humanity and man must continue without it. Because of this simple fact it cannot date. Earth Abides and so does this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Special Book 26 Feb 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I first read read this book back in the sixties and was really gripped by it from the first page. Read it, you don't have to be a SF fan to enjoy it since it is a book about people, their strengths and frailties. (I wonder if the writer of the TV series "Survivors" read it, I enjoyed the first version of "Survivors" but could not empathise with the characters the way I can in "Earth Abides.") I often thought about the book over the years but never attempted to find it, last year my youngest daughter found it for me on her Iphone, based on the clues of rattlesnake and hammer. I enjoyed it much more the second time since I had visited many of the places in the US that 'Ish' goes through on his voyage of discovery.
My other reason for remembering the book was how he finds a car on the Bay Bridge and recalls, incorrectly, (the actual name is John S. Robertson), when he is dying, the name on the drivers driving wheel tag as" James Robson with a middle initial that was E,T, or P. Since my name is James P. Robson it tends to stick in the memory! I am surprised that it has never been made into a film though there have been several 'end of the world' efforts. If they ever should, I hope they don't cast some action man like Bruce Willis since 'Ish' is not a go getting hero but an ordinary man who cares and worries about things. Please read it. Jim Robson
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
this book was recommended to me. Normally when someone recommends a book I end up hating it, but not this one. Read more
Published 2 days ago by White Rose
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good
Published 9 days ago by Grant Davies
5.0 out of 5 stars aftermath of mankind.
I have read this book many times it is one of the best end of the world storys I have ever read.I thought how the author describes the way nature rejusts after the fall of man was... Read more
Published 1 month ago by ace1955
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Re-birth
I first read this novel as a teenager and have done so every so often since. It is the most beautiful elegy for humankind imaginable. Read more
Published 4 months ago by J. Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 years on and still great
The story was written 60 years ago, and it still as great as ever. A SF classic. All should listen to this wonderful rendition.
Published 6 months ago by Gordon Reynell
3.0 out of 5 stars OK story
Bought as a present for my partner, she was very pleased to receive it as she had lost her copy years ago. Not really my sort of science fiction.
Published 6 months ago by Pete47
3.0 out of 5 stars it is ok well sort of
some parts of the story are interesting but really the story is very slow and boring, i kept at is and read it though, TEDIOUS
Published 8 months ago by nick
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece
I read this book in my twenties (about 40 years ago) and it made a great impression on me, although I had forgotten much of the detail including title and author. Read more
Published 10 months ago by D. Foot
4.0 out of 5 stars Dated in Some Ways But Still Gripping
Earth Abides is often unfavourably compared to another (so called) sci-fi classic of the 50s, it's UK equivalent, 'The Death of Grass' but it is much better. Read more
Published 11 months ago by chuchu
5.0 out of 5 stars Frighteningly possible.
First published in 1949, the theme is simpler than "War Of The Worlds" or "Day of the Triffids". Read more
Published 13 months ago by Lewcee42
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