by George R. Stewart
Based upon a fine review of this book at Mount Benson Report, I picked up a copy of this one. It was an excellent read, capturing my imagination and carrying it all the way through.
First, one small point: the first part (of three) makes for a very unique and facinating travel novel. A post-apocalypse travel novel. I want more of this!
I really appreciate that the novel didn't turn into the usual good/evil battle, or a hard-to-swallow communist manifesto/uprising. No, this one was mostly free of the the usual politics and battles that are too often only smaller versions of pre-apocalyptic problems. That's usually boring to me. (Makes me wonder if this type of novel is not a device for "leveling the playing field" so that it's believable when the underdogs of society actually win).
Instead, Stewart writes a far more physical, or organic, story. The protagonist is constantly concerned with learning to become self-reliant instead of living as merely scavengers of stuff from a dead civilization, which will obviously come to an end. Eventually edible food in the supermarkets and convenience stores will run out. Water will not come from the tap forever.
I enjoyed Stewart's deep understanding of human nature and his positive view of people. As a reader who has spent a great deal of his life dreaming about the death of civilization, I found Earth Abides to be a hopeful vision and a thought-provoking instruction manual.
This is a brilliant book. A big thanks to the folks of at Mount Benson.