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The Disappearance

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3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  156 ratings  ·  30 reviews
“The female of the species vanished on the afternoon of the second Tuesday of Februaryat four minutes and fifty-two seconds past four o'clock, Eastern Standard Time. The event occurred universally at the same instant, without regard to time belts, and was followed by such phenomena as might be expected after happenings of that nature.”On a lazy, quiet afternoon, in the bli ...more
Paperback, 407 pages
Published October 1st 2004 by Bison Books (first published 1951)
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Amy Sturgis
This novel represents speculative fiction at its best. What if, one day, all the women on Earth disappeared, leaving men alone -- and, on a parallel Earth, all men disappeared, leaving women alone? This novel traces the fate of both worlds, and in so doing questions the foundations of contemporary governments, religions, sexual politics, and even family structures. Wylie asks the big questions about the ways in which we've ordered society and the unexamined assumptions that undergird these arran ...more
Christy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fábio Fernandes
I was looking for this novel for a long time. The Disappearance was the very first book I bought when I arrived at Seattle in 2013, for Clarion West. I was intrigued by its premise, and I waa very curious to find out if the book was any good.

I'm not disappointed. I liked The Disappearance. For a novel written in 1951, it's a solid science fiction narrative, containing not only a good premise, but also an interesting view of male-female relations which was far from the norm when the book was wri
...more
Bob
This is the fifth time I have read the book but the first in almost thirty years. It was almost like reading the book for the first time. Not quite science-fiction, not quite dystopian, The Disappearanceby Philip Wylie is a study of the male and female psyches set amidst a varied array of essays commenting on the ills of American attitudes and philosophies leading into the early Cold war period.

In characteristic Wylie fashion, his protagonists are literate, highly intelligent beings who seem to
...more
Judity
Of all my books, this is in the top 10 of my favorites. No, I lie! This is number one, such that I return to reading it again and again. The first copy I bought decades ago wore out, and I recently had to buy a new copy. If there were a six-star rating, this novel would receive one.

Today I once again am rereading Philip Wylie's The Disappearance, which is a book everyone should read at least once.

Set back in the 1950s, Mr. Wylie thoughtfully writes about how men and women survive when the othe
...more
Ketan Shah
A stunning example of speculative fiction. What if all the men disappeared from the world,leaving just the women ? What if the same thing happened to the men,with all the women disappearing from their world.The world seems to split into two alternate realities,one with just men remaining,and the other with just the women.In this novel from 1951,Philip Wylie explores the consequences of an event like that and uses this clever idea to examine the role of gender in society.His characters are well d ...more
Shirari Industries
I loved aspects of this book, and many other aspects made me cringe. Let's get the negatives out of the way first. There are a lot of racist, classist, sexist, homophobic ideas and scenes in this book. It's a product of its time, and I have a feeling it was quite progressive when it was written back in 1951, but even so, it can be very cringe-inducing at times, and is disappointing overall because of this.

However! It is worth reading, with a critical eye. The story is really fascinating, and the
...more
Kate
A strange little book. On the whole, I didn't much care for it. The premise started out fine: one fine day, all the women in the world just vanish. And then you find out that on that same fine day, all the men in the world just vanished. Very interesting what happens in the world of just men contrasted with the world of just women.

But oh! the preaching, the pontificating, the tedious thrashing out of theories of how we've gone wrong, etc. Pages and pages of it. Ugh!

And in the end, the ending is
...more
Rachel
This book is interesting to rate, because the author said a number of detestable things with which I do not agree. A lot of things, really. I had to keep reminding myself of context and when it was written and try to somehow unclench my jaw while reading.
However, from a mechanical perspective the author did interesting things. I finished this book and wanted to read other books from the same time period/with similar themes, because the comparison of this novel with other distaster/dystopian nove
...more
Tavie
One of the most beautiful, haunting and thought-provoking novels ever. Written in 1950, it's astonishingly relevant in some aspects - and an excellent historical account of a certain period in American history, in others.
Mosunflower
I read this book way back in the late 60's and had forgotten about it until my mother mentioned rereading it. The premise of the book caught my interest and I have to admit I couldn't remember any of the details so I read it again. What a difference a few decades make!

I was shocked by the racism and sexism. The attitude that women and 'colored' people were so ill prepared to live in a world without men to tell them what to do was really disturbing. Especially since the book was written just afte
...more
Michael
Oct 12, 2013 Michael rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Michael by: Donald Philpott
Wylie creates a speculative story in which half the world’s population suddenly disappears: to the men all the women disappear, and to the women all the men disappear. The first part of the book takes on the practical implications of having the world divided along gender lines (it takes place in the 1960s). The only-women world has to immediately deal with the lack of people who know how to make the world go ‘round, since most of the businessman, doctors, workers, etc had been men. The only-men ...more
Lynn
What if...
All the men disappeared from the women and all the women disappeared from the men into 2 separate worlds from the world as we know it, male and female ?

That is what this book explores in parallel stories about how each sex copes without the other and how the world is in each place...unbalanced by the other not being there to complete the world as it was intended to be.

When I first read this, it haunted me and made me think. It still does to this day.

It was out of print for many years
...more
haley
Since exams, have ended, I've jumped back onto the reading train full force. This book is pretty amazing, from both a science-fiction/dystopia perspective as well as from a gender studies angle.

The gist of the book is, instantly, all the men vanish from the world. At the same time, a sort of parallel earth i suppose, all the women vanish from the world.

The book then splits into two different narratives, chronicling the days and years after the "disappearance." Being the 1950's, when all the me
...more
Diane Halfman wade
I didn't dislike this book, I loved to hate this book, if that makes any sense. The self-righteous philosopher-narrator loves to hear himself speak (and drones on and on throughout much if the book.). It was also too difficult for me to put myself in the mind of a 1950's author to forgive the incredible sexism. If anything, the author saw women taking over traditional male roles in the workplace during the war - so why would the entire premise of his book rest so easily on women's inability to f ...more
Karla
WHY I PICKED IT UP
A co-worker told me about it, and it sounded fascinating!

NOW THAT I'VE READ IT
I really enjoyed this book. Very interesting, especially considering when it was written, and very well written. Whether or not you agree with Wylie's outcomes of a world without women and a world without men, the depiction is engrossing and thoughtful. This is a book that will really make you think!
Jennifer Taw
What a great premise! This book is thought-provoking and interesting, if slowed by Wylie's pontificating. It is also a time capsule of its own, representing the period in which it was written -- in how Wylie casts women and blacks as distinct others and in the immediacy of the fear of nuclear war and the deep tensions of the Cold War.
Brandon Will
The women of the world wake up in the same world--but with no men--and the same happens for the men in this classic work of British speculative fiction.

It's interesting to think about, and fun, considering this was written in the fifties.

This book is definitely an interesting time capsule of thought.
Kate
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Merlin
This maybe a great book but it is not a good book. It is unfortunately 'wordy', by that I mean that there are big blocks of text that stand the reader and the characters which makes it hard for you to know what the characters are feeling or even caring about them.
Nikki
Loved the IDEA, but found the execution to be lacking... not sure if it was the fact that the attitudes were so dated, or if the main male character was so unlikeable. However, the character Paula was so very engaging that I kept reading.
Carolyn
This is an old book -- I first read it in the 1950's. It still is a powerful look at gender differences. It is science fiction with a very human touch. One of my favorite books of all times and I've read it three times.
Ransufodo
Interesting book on the strengths and weaknesses of the two genders. It's an old book, so the scenarios and outcome reflec the social environment at that time, but it's still interesting.
Tamira
A most interesting book. Made you think about the gender roles that we, as a society, hold. Although written in the 50's, it is amazing how little has really changed.
Charmagne Mckinney
Really incredible book. I read it over a year ago and want to read it again. Really well thought out and realistic. I loved it! Definitely in my top 10 favorite books
Rosemarie
A book that really will make you think about the human condition. Intelligently written and insightful for having been written in 1950.
Suzy
Dec 04, 2011 Suzy marked it as to-read
I read back in the 60's and want to revisit. It will be a great companion to Tom Perrota's The Left Overs (I think).
Amy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marshall Karp
One of the most riveting, memorable books I've read in a lifetime.
Chan
Nov 07, 2008 Chan added it
A great SciFi story
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Born in Beverly, Massachusetts, he was the son of Presbyterian minister Edmund Melville Wylie and the former Edna Edwards, a novelist, who died when Philip was five years old. His family moved to Montclair, New Jersey and he later attended Princeton University from 1920–1923. He married Sally Ondek, and had one child, Karen, an author who became the inventor of animal "clicker" training. After a d ...more
More about Philip Wylie...
When Worlds Collide (When Worlds Collide, #1) After Worlds Collide (When Worlds Collide, #2) Gladiator When Worlds Collide / After Worlds Collide (When Worlds Collide, #1-2) Generation of Vipers

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“Faith's the agreement to abandon detachment, John! To supplant a packaged security for open integrity. To agree not to learn anymore. It is the acceptance of a channel, by a man who was previously able to move on the whole terrain” 2 likes
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