Monday, August 22, 2011


The Post-Apocalypse as Process

EARTH ABIDES by George R. Stewart
Paperback, 368 pp. With an Introduction by Connie Willis,
Del Rey 2006. (Originally published 1949)

Cover of original Random House 1949 edition.
Love, love, love that old pulp paperback cover art
even if it doesn't match up with the text inside,
which it most certainly doesn't here.

I've been a fan of post-apocalypse fiction since childhood so it surprised me to discover this 1949 novel at this late date. Given its age I note that many have dared call it "classic," though that tends to bring me back to the question as to why I hadn't heard of the book until now.  

Granted, George R. Stewart's Earth Abides isn't perfect, and the negative reviews on Amazon raise strong points I’ll need to address as I go along. For now I wish to invite you, Dear Reader, to bask in the amazing outside-the-box thinking that produces an End of the World scenario so unlike the one expected by a reading public barely four years removed from the radioactive fires of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. What takes down humanity is neither fire nor ice, but disease.