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The Disappearance

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  211 ratings  ·  40 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
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
Aug 06, 2015 Martina rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: sf
When compared to other SF literary masterworks I read recently, The disappearance is a solid effort. It didn't blow me out of my socks, but it was interesting nonetheless. I can't say that it's a page-turner - after all, the writing style is rather dated and relies quite a bit on heavy descriptions. Also, the phenomenon of the disappearance of one gender was dealt in a "Deus ex machina" kind of way, but I shouldn't nitpick - this is speculative fiction, isn't it? Despite those quibbles, Wylie's ...more
I'm torn! There were parts that I really/REALLY liked, and some parts that were just tedious diatribes on social-psychology. But, those diatribes had serious and significant merit, and helped build the foundation for the novel; and yet they, at several points, got in the way of telling the story. Still, this story wouldn't be nearly as interesting without the psychology behind it. However, this is, first and foremost, a fictional story. Sooooo, I have a little problem when the author uses it as ...more
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
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
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
Shira and Ari Evergreen
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
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
Auntie J
Kindle Daily Deal 6/19/15 $1.99.
Evanston Public  Library
Written in 1951, The Disappearance has one of the best opening lines ever: “The female of the species vanished on the afternoon of the second Tuesday of February at four minutes and fifty-two seconds past four o’clock Eastern Standard Time." At the same time the women disappear from the men, the men disappear from the women leaving two parallel universes where men and women must cope with their lives in a world that has completely changed. Although the concept is fascinating, the roles of women ...more
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
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.
Samuel Lubell
Interesting classic sf marred by the author's tendency to lecture. Still interesting speculations on the differences between males and females as both sexes are separated onto parallel Earths. For it's time, Wylie was remarkably even-handed. He stresses that the females are not less capable just less trained. A person in book club correctly pointed out that many women of the 1950s had had industrial work experience in WWII which the author seemed to conveniently forget. Still, I thought it was i ...more
While many of the specific elements are dated (including the incessant fear of atomic annihilation, this book holds up very well as a critique of gender roles in society and, more importantly, the way in which Western society refuses to address these issues. Even more interesting was the analysis of the male difficulty in actually accepting and moving forward with gender equality. Astounding ideas coming out of the early 1950s, I am interested to find out if this was a banned book, given that it ...more
This features a concept that was a lot more successfully employed in the comic book series Y the Last Man. One day at 4:05pm all the women disappear in the world. Though actually to the women all the men disappear. Then for four years the two sexes have to try to survive.

Since this was written in 1951, there's a lot of misogyny involved. Basically while the men's world goes on somewhat normally (except for the brief nuclear war) the women end up on the brink of starvation with disease running ra
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
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
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
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 men
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
George Poppenwimer
Mixed feelings on this one, some parts good other parts hard to read felt like slogging through mud.
Could not wade through the '50s setting and culture.
A co-worker told me about it, and it sounded fascinating!

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.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
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.
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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...
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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
“But you don't know how to read anymore! When you open a book, you do it in the faith and assurances that you are already master of what it contains and that the author has written only so you may prove him wrong!” 2 likes
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