Benjamin Atkinson

For a reader who enjoys philosophical debate, narrative force, and timeless themes would any of you care to weigh in on whether I should read this or Alas, Babylon. Also, has anyone actually been able to stomach Canticle for Leibowitz without learning Latin. I am not often in the mood to hear about any human's loins "girded." Suggestions?

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Greg Degiere I found Earth Abides to be much more compelling, for three reasons I can identify.

First, the ideas it deals with are much more universal and interesting -- how people relate to one another, parenting, and on a biggest scale, what is civilization and what about it is worth saving? And the events that lead to the establishment of the state should be fascinating to anyone who was read Locke or Paine, or even has thought about how societies create governments.

Second, it's more exciting. Alas, Babylon constructs a hard-to-believe world, despite the fact that its catastrophe is much more obviously likely. Earth Abides is believable from the start.

Third, and this is related to #2, Earth Abides is more intellectually honest. It creates a world in which almost everyone has died and deals in a serious way with how the few survivors would act. Alas, Babylon creates a world that experienced a nuclear war that hardly has any effect at all on the survivors in the one place in Florida where it is set. To my way of thnking, On the Beach was more honest.

It's been a long time since I read A Canticle for Leibowitz so I cant comment much on it, except to say I remember enjoying it a lot.
Shawn Inmon In the last year, I've read both Earth Abides and Alas, Babylon. I far, far, prefer Alas, Babylon. Earth Abides felt like it was written at a distance from the reader, while Alas, Babylon made me feel like I was part of the goings on. Even though they were written in the same era, Earth Abides felt stilted, while Babylon flowed.
George I read both in my youth and I have re-read both since then. While both a re good I find Earth Abides much more compelling
Ray Pezzi Shawn's right, Alas Babylon is FAR better written.
Jan Priddy Ursula K. Le Guin's The Dispossessed is extraordinary.
Tony da Napoli Apples and oranges. Read them both. Different times and different societies, morals, and mores, and differently educated authors.
Aaron I haven't read Alas, Babylon, but I loved Canticle for Leibowitz! And I don't know a word of Latin (outside of legal phrases).
Sheila I'm late to chime in, but I greatly prefer Alas, Babylon to Earth Abides. The characters in Babylon are well developed and realistic. Earth Abides seems to trade on stereotype. It is not nearly as well written as Babylon.

Both raise interesting issues, but Babylon offers a wider range of characters who react to their circumstances in a variety of emotions and actions. Earth Abides just skims along the surface, observing, but not even doing a good job of that.
Don Taylor Alas Babylon is better written-in terms of plot, it's more engaging. Earth Abides is a more realistic scenario, and asks more thoughtful questions.

Personally, I think they're both worthwhile.
Wil Adams Both are good. Of course, The Stand is a rewrite of Earth Abides, and as for end of the world stories, why not think about Long Voyage Back, and Lucifer's Hammer. Both are excellent and I would love to see a film of Lucifer's Hammer.
Walter R. I would advise you to read both of them.

And, in the same end-of-the-world motif, I would advise reading "The Last Ship" by William Brinkley. Written in 1988 (during the Cold War), it centers around the U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer U.S.S. Nathan James, describing its role in an all-out nuclear war ("spasm war," as it was called by the think-tank intellectuals) and its journey in the aftermath around a post-holcaust, largely depopulated, and radiation-polluted world.
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