Kemper's Reviews > Earth Abides

Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
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May 24, 09

really liked it
bookshelves: apocalypse-now, sci-fi, classic-lit, germs-viruses

It comes across as a little dated. (When the hero sprays his pregnant wife's clothes with DDT because of flea concerns and it's considered a good thing, you gotta laugh.) But the core story holds up remarkably well.

Instead of the typical apocalyptic aftermath story with brave survivors fighting for survival, we get a small band of average people who would rather coast along by scrounging off the old world rather than trying to rebuild.

Stewart was doing a version of 'Life After People' decades before the new book and History channel series here with pretty detailed theories about the way things would break down. His view seems more optimistic than what would actually happen. (Electricity and running water lasting far longer than seems feasible.) But he obviously put a great deal of thought of how the break down of civilization would occur.
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Comments (showing 1-20 of 20) (20 new)

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message 1: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Good point about the people wanting to be scroungers rather than rebuild. I should have mentioned that in my review.


Kemper Yeah, I thought it was probably one of the more realistic post-apocalyptic stories because I'd definately be like one of those lazy bastards just holing up and eating canned pork-n-beans way past the expiration date and drinking all the leftover liquor.

"Rebuild civilization? Why? It'll just destroy itself again..."




message 3: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent With so much free stuff lying around, it would be hard to get motivated about fixing things.


Kemper Dan wrote: "With so much free stuff lying around, it would be hard to get motivated about fixing things."

And I could never be one of those Road Warrior mutants. Too much time spent trimming the mohawk, looking for shoulder pads and leather to wear, and running all over looking for gas. Who needs the hassle when there's pork-n-beans down at the ruins of the CostCo?


message 5: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent The supplies at CostCo would keep everyone fat and giggly for a few years. How long does beer last once it's bottled (or canned)?


Kemper Dan wrote: "The supplies at CostCo would keep everyone fat and giggly for a few years. How long does beer last once it's bottled (or canned)?"

According to the beer industry and their obsession with freshness labels, not that long. But 1) Home brew supplies will be plentiful and 2) Whiskey will last almost forever from what I've been told.


message 7: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent I suppose the beer would have to be drunk as fast as possible to prevent waste. After that, we all become whiskey drinkers.


Kemper Or I could hole in Boulevard Brewery and use their supplies to brew small batches for years to come. You can stage raids on the AB supplies.


message 9: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent I already have a Mr. Beer home brew kit. Maybe I should stock up on supplies in case of an apocalypse...


message 10: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Wine is easier than beer! And grapes grow by themselves.


message 11: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Miriam wrote: "Wine is easier than beer! And grapes grow by themselves."

You may have something there.


Kemper Miriam wrote: "Wine is easier than beer! And grapes grow by themselves."

Unfortunately, I can't stand wine so I'll have to brew beer and set up a still to process my own moonshine.


message 13: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Kemper wrote: "Unfortunately, I can't stand wine so I'll have to brew beer and set up a still to process my own moonshine."

I've had moonshine before. It makes for a more mean-spirited drunk than beer or wine.


Kemper Dan wrote: I've had moonshine before. It makes for a more mean-spirited drunk than beer or wine.

Perfect. That will help me firm up my status as drunken old coot. Now I just need a double barrel shotgun and a pair of overalls.


message 15: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Don't forget the corncob pipe and the straw hat. The moonshine I had smelled like fingernail polish remover.


Kemper Dan wrote: "Don't forget the corncob pipe and the straw hat. The moonshine I had smelled like fingernail polish remover."

I think that means it's the good stuff. Oh, and I'll need a good supply of mason jars.


message 17: by Miriam (new)

Miriam The "nail polish" smell is usually ethyl acetate. How was your head the next day?


message 18: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Miriam wrote: "The "nail polish" smell is usually ethyl acetate. How was your head the next day?"

Fine. I wisely stopped drinking it when I noticed how red-faced and giggly my brother and I were, and also how willing we both were to disparage the manhood of other family members who refused to imbibe the moonshine prior to lunch on Christmas Day.


message 19: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Heh. Do you know the Roger Miller song, "Chug a Lug"?


message 20: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent I am now. I'll have to have it on hand next time my Grandpa's brother brings a batch to Christmas.


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