Saturday, 26 June 2010
Earth Abides – George R. Stewart (old battered up Corgi version with typos/errors)
This has to be one of the best books ever written considering the subject matters it covers. The book covers in an accessible manner: philosophy (of every day life and survival), humanity, civilization/anthropology, ecology... Everything about what it mean and is to be human is found within the pages. Frustrates me how 'genre-lit' (sci-fi) has probably destroyed most of the credit this book deserves. As with most sf, it's not all about the ideas either; this is actually very well written, especially the last 100 pages, which were as profound and emotional as novels by more contemporary/classic authors.
I don't see the point in saying much more about it as it'll lead into spoilers. You will realise how important it is to treasure and to protect knowledge. What would our lives be like without the will to learn and to study?
If the thousands of years of human civilization could write itself as a novel they'd have written Earth Abides – a post-apocalyptic novel dealing with civilization being reborn from the old. How can we nurture and educate mankind? What is it that drives some of us, and why others have no interest in knowledge? Is it better to live in ignorance rather than to worry? I think Earth Abides answers all of those questions, as well as making hundreds of its own.