Sunday, February 27, 2011

Earth Abides

It's been a quiet week reading wise due to the passing of my father, but I have been re-invigorated thanks to a comment left on my review of P D James' Children of Men, in my Book Reviews blog.

I had finished and reviewed The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle which I thoroughly enjoyed, but I wasn't sure what genre I felt like reading next, but the suggestion of a Sci-Fi felt good and now I'm about a quarter of the way through Earth Abides by George R Stewart.  I have read several post-apocolyptic novels (most notably Stephen King's The Stand, Richard Matheson's I Am Legend, Phillip K Dick's Dr Bloodmoney and Cormac McCarthy's The Road) and initially I felt that this would be like I Am Legend.  However, it is not like it at all and as it was written in 1949 it was probably an inspiration for the novels above.  But, it does actually remind me of a TV program I watched recently which was a 'thought experiment' entitled Life After Humans.

The protagonist, Ish, is a student and a survivor of a plague but he is not a lone survivor.  After the initial shock he decides that instead of giving up he will utilise his research abilities and chronicle how life on Earth will continue on.  His observations so far indicate that most domestic animals will re-discover their hunting skills, though those pets that were bred purely for pandering by humans would not survive.  Sheep need a shepherd and will fall prey to the larger hunting animals, but other cattle should eventually survive after an initial struggle.

Some of the people Ish meets on his travels are trying to start their lives again by going back to basics - growing their own vegetables, keeping chickens etc whilst others have been so dependent on the big city life that there isn't much hope for them especially with Winter approaching and no way to heat their apartments.  This is a concern as nature has shown that certain species need to maintain a specific number or it may not survive in the long term...........  there is a huge amount of food for thought in what I have just read and I'm only a quarter of the way through it.

I finished Frantic by Katherine Howell, but have yet to review it, and it was a pleasure to meet her at our Caffeine and Chapters Social Book Club night.  Katherine's fifth book is almost finished and is due for release in February 2012, so watch this space as we may theme it and do a mini 'launch' on our club night for that month.

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