Friday, 27 June 2008

Review: "Earth Abides" by George R. Stewart

As you may have guessed in reading previous posts, I have a particular affection for apocalyptic literature. "Earth Abides" is a great apocalyptic tale, in which hints of "The Stand" and countless later works are apparent.

The book follows a survivor of a great plague through his life as a young man until his death as a very old man. Through the course of his life, he learns to let go of the memory of the civilization that was, and to accept the civilization that has come to be among the survivors. Along the way come questions about the relationship of the individual and the state and many other observations about custom, law, superstition, and our relationship with the natural world.

This is an earnest book, without the cynicism of work like "Cat's Cradle". It tackles the material directly, and seems to be honestly considering at each point what it would be like to rebuild some vestige of society in the wake of the nearly total extinction of the human species.

At times the situations and tone of the book seem dated, but this is still a book well worth reading.

No comments: