After finishing George R. Stewart’s Earth Abides I felt a strong sense of relief. I was so very happy that the book was finally over. I felt that the book could have gotten the point across in a lot less pages. The book felt extremely repetitive and is pretty much a summary of what happened to the main character. While the book makes interesting points, I found it a very boring read.
The book follows Ish as he makes his way in a post-apocalyptic world. Ish’s journey starts just as everything is settling down and only the survivors of the disaster remain. First of all, I thought Stewart’s representation of how humans would handle an apocalypse was unrealistic. The world would be thrown into chaos. The book mentions that when Ish visited the larger towns there were more examples of looting and such, but he says that for the most part humans seemed to deal with it calmly. I feel like it would be the exact opposite and humans would not know how to handle the situation. I do however, like the fact that the apocalypse was caused by a virus and feel like this is a very likely cause. I believe that a biological attack to the human race would be the one thing to take us out.
One of the things that I found quite interesting was the moral debate that plagued Ish throughout the book. Ish constantly worries about the future and the things he knows will come, but does nothing about them to make a difference. As he gets older and resources begin to run out, he becomes frustrated by his lack of action and worried about the future. This really made me think about the differences of the creation of society versus the rebuilding of one. As we built our world the technology and knowledge of the world grew with us. In the case of Ish, he has the knowledge of how the world works and the technology that makes day to day living easy, but the knowledge is useless and only haunts him as he tries to rebuild the world. I can understand his frustration as the world takes a different shape from the future he wants to see. Knowing that there are safer and easier ways of living, but no ability to change things would only make me angrier.
Overall I think that this book has interesting ideas, but it was a little too boring for my taste.