Post by Lynn McGuire
_Earth Abides: A Novel_ by George R. Stewart
A standalone apocalyptic novel about a plague of unprecedented virulence
first published in 1949. I read the well printed and bound trade
paperback published in 2006 with an introduction by Connie Willis.
"Earth Abides won the inaugural International Fantasy Award in 1951. It
was included in Locus Magazine's list of best All Time Science Fiction
in 1987 and 1998] and was a nominee to be entered into the Prometheus
Hall of Fame. In November 1950, it was adapted for the CBS radio
program Escape as a two-part drama starring John Dehner."
Few authors have the courage to kill off the human race.
S. M. Stirling has done it three times. In _The Peshawar Lancers_, he has a
Really Big Comet slap the Northern Hemisphere really hard. In the Draka
books, the idiotic Draka and the much more idiotic Yankees have an
_interplanetary_ nuclear war, fought in part by Orion drive spacecraft. And
in the Change books, well... it’s too stupid to go into, but 90+% of
humanity dies in the first 50 pages of the first (of far too many) books. In
_Lucifer’s Hammer_ Niven& Pournelle have another Really Big Comet do
naughty things, aided by a short nuclear war between China and the Russkies,
China having noted that they’re _south_ of Russkieland and that it’s
about to get Very Cold up there. Niven & Pournelle have aliens drop
a’foot’ into the Indian Ocean, with Really Interesting Effects worldwide,
in _Footfall_. Niven writing bon his lonesome, wants to kill off the entire
_galaxy (except for the Puppeteers, who are running away as fast as they can.
I ignore the later sharecropping books, none of which I’ve read anyway.)
Dean Ing has a nuclear war, and bioweapons, and other stuff, (including a
Really Big Pig, but let’s not go there) roam loose in the Quantrill books.
H. Beam Piper’s Federation/Empire books were set after yet another nuclear
war wipes out the Northern Hemisphere; at least one story in the series has a
largely depopulated Earth in the middle of a massive glaciation. David R.
Palmer’s one and only book, _Emergence_ (there was only one, ignore the
alleged thing which allegedly came out under his name afterwards) wiped out
pretty much everyone. Star Blazers/Space Battleship Yamato has the Earth
(Japan) pounded flat by the evil Gamelons (Americans) and their radiation
weapons, until saved by the valiant heroes of the United Nations Space Fleet
(the Kaigun Nihon) and the incomparable superbattleship Argo/Yamato. (I want
a Wave Motion Gun. I really do.)
Post by Lynn McGuire
After all, who
enjoys reading about situations where 99.9999% of the human race die in
the first chapter ? Me. This is the life story of Isherwood “Ish”
Williams who survives the plague in northern California in 1949. He
survived the plague due to a rattlesnake bite where only a thousand
people or so survive in the USA.
The book asks and answers many questions. How do you teach the young to
survive as the human civilization gradually rots away ? Can you eat a
60 year old can of Salmon ? How do you keep vehicles running past 20
years when the gasoline and tires have all rotted ?
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Amazon rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars (1,070 reviews)