Book review: Earth Abides

Earth Abides is a classic post-apocalyptic novel written by George R. Stewart. Published in 1949, it has since gained immense popularity for its captivating storytelling and thought-provoking themes. In this article, we will take a closer look at the fascinating story that unfolds within its pages, notable awards and accolades it has received, as well as prominent characters that drive the narrative.

Plot Summary

In Earth Abides, the story begins with Isherwood Williams, a young and somewhat introspective protagonist, who goes by the nickname “Ish.” Ish is an intellectual who struggles to find his place in the world after a deadly pandemic wipes out the majority of the Earth’s population. The novel explores Ish’s journey through this post-apocalyptic landscape, as he grapples with the profound loneliness and search for meaning in a world devoid of human civilization.

Awards and Recognition

Earth Abides has received numerous accolades for its literary achievements. In 1951, it was awarded the International Fantasy Award for Best Novel, solidifying its place as a masterpiece in the genre. Furthermore, it has been widely praised by critics and readers alike for its vivid portrayal of human resilience and introspection in the face of catastrophe.

Critical Acclaim

This novel has been hailed as a landmark in post-apocalyptic fiction, often credited with shaping the genre as we know it today. Critics have commended the profound philosophical questions it poses, as well as its exploration of societal collapse and rebirth. Earth Abides is widely regarded as a thought-provoking and timeless work that continues to captivate readers across generations.

Memorable Characters

George R. Stewart’s Earth Abides introduces readers to a range of diverse and memorable characters. Alongside the introspective Ish, there are several individuals who play significant roles in the narrative. These include Em, Ish’s first love interest who symbolizes the desire for companionship, and Charlie, a charismatic and impulsive character whose contrasting personality provides a necessary conflict within the story. Through these characters, Stewart effectively explores the complexities of human nature and the various ways individuals respond to extreme circumstances.


In conclusion, Earth Abides is a remarkable post-apocalyptic novel that immerses readers in a world bereft of civilization, compelling them to question their own existence and the nature of humanity. With its award-winning status, critical acclaim, and memorable characters, this thought-provoking story continues to resonate with readers interested in the genre of literature exploring the depths and complexities of the human experience.


– Stewart, G. R. (1949). Earth Abides. New York, NY: Random House.

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