This weblog is devoted to the work and life of the important but largely unknown author, George. R. Stewart. Stewart, a professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley, who had a strong interest in geography and ecology, published 28 books between 1930 and his death in 1980.
Stewart was the first to write history and fiction from an ecological, Whole Earth perspective, and he was doing so in the 1930s. His first ecological novel – the first novel in which a natural event, rather than human characters, is the protagonist – was called Storm. It is from this book that we get the practice of naming storms. Stewart’s best-known work, which inspired other writers and musicians, is Earth Abides. Never out of print since its first publication in 1949, the book is available in 20 languages.
Stewart went on to invent several other types of literature. His influence, like that of JS Bach, has been wide. But, like JS Bach, he is known mainly to those who read his work, and those inspired by it. The new biography and this weblog attempts to bring Stewart to a wider audience, and to fill out his personal story for those who are already his fans.
Donald Scott is author of The Life and Truth of George R. Stewart, published in mid-2012 by McFarland.
Scott knew Stewart and his family and worked closely with the family on the book. Family members shared their memories of Stewart, and opened the excellent Anna Evenson family photo collection for use in the book. Scott’s is the authorized biography of George R. Stewart.
Scott is also a teacher, a ranger, a photographer, and a bit of a wanderer. His last full-time work was as a traveling Educator for NASA. From 2009 until 2014 he volunteered at U.S. Forest Service sites, National Parks, and similar places. One of those places was the historic Walking Box Ranch, retirement ranch for movie stars Clara Bow and Rex Bell. Set in the the largest Joshua Tree Forest on Earth the WBR has an interesting mix of wilderness, dark skies, architecture, and history.
Scott is currently at work on another book and several articles.
Hello Mr Scott. My name is Ross Wilson Bogert, son of Caroline Wilson of the Indiana Wilsons. I have some 16mm movie film from about 1929 taken in Pasadena. The film is about 2 minutes and has shots of Ella May Wilson, George Stewart Sr, Andrew Stewart, George Stewart Jr, Harry Wilson Sr, Harry Wilson Jr, my grandfather, Edna Marlin my grandmother, my mother about age 3, my aunt Jane Wilson, and two others unknown to me, maybe George Stewart Jr’s wife.
My mother and her family also lived in Pasadena. My Dad met my mother when he was attending Cal Tech. This film was put on DVD a few years ago. We have had it for as long as I can remember. My mother talked about the Stewarts put I never met any of them. I have been in the Bay area, Larskpur, since 1971 as I was stationed at NAS Alameda after receiving my Naval Aviator wings. I thought you and maybe the Stewart family would be interested in a copy. Not sure if any copies were made years ago.
Really enjoyed your book about George Stewart! I discovered it after trying to figure who the people were in the film! I am now reading Earth Abides.
All the best, Ross Bogert
Hello Mr. Stewart,
I hope this finds you well. I’m currently teaching a class at Temple University for which we just read Earth Abides, and I thought you’d be interested in seeing what my students had to say about the novel. The general theme of the class is “climate change fiction” or “cli-fi,” and Stewart’s book fit into the class marvelously. 20 students wrote reviews of the book, which you can read here if you’re inclined: http://sites.temple.edu/clifi/book-reviews/.
Thanks for your time and for building this excellent site.
– Ted Howell
Many thanks, Dr. Howell. I’ll read them with bated breath. And if it’s ok, I’ll link to your reviews page when I update the log? Make sure that’s ok with reviewers, please?
Temple U – Philadelphia? Stewart was born in Sewickley, PA, spent his boyhood in Indiana, PA (a building on the Indiana U campus, the Andrew Wilson Building, is named for Stewart’s maternal grandfather), and spent much of his WWI training time in PA. He also revisited the state in two major works: U.S. 40 and Pickett’s Charge. Your students might be interested in knowing that PA connection.
Please let me know if it’s ok to link to your reviews.
Don Scott, GRS Biographer
I’d love it if you linked to the reviews! I’ve been encouraging the students to imagine themselves writing for a wider audience, so I’d be thrilled with a link.
I did mention the PA connection in my brief intro to Stewart in class last night, as well as the Pickett’s Charge book. I’m just becoming familiar with Stewart and his work myself: reading your biography, looking into Storm and Fire especially, and giving a brief presentation at a conference here in March. It’s all very exciting stuff.
I might add that you’re a pioneer in the rediscovery of GRS.
Very exciting to hear that you’re doing a presentation. Please keep us posted, and send as many details as you can. I’ll put that on the log.
Dear Mr. Scott,
Thank you for this website. I finished up a dissertation on post-World War II science fiction about a year ago, and I have a long first chapter on Earth Abides. As I revise the manuscript, I keep wondering if Stewart had read science fiction and if he saw himself working in that tradition. There are a ton of stories in the pulp magazines of Stewart’s day that share the basic plot devices of Earth Abides (if not its eloquence), and of course there is a much longer tradition of post-plague narratives in the pre-history of science fiction. For example, there is John Ames Mitchell’s The Last American, and I wonder if Stewart read it because he uses that title in the book. Do you know if Stewart read SF, and if any SF stories were particularly important to the composition of Earth Abides? I’m sure the answer is there in the Bancroft library archives, but it’s a long and expensive flight from Germany, where I’m currently teaching, to California. I’d appreciate any insights you might have.
Thanks for reading!
Dear Mr. Ramirez,
A good topic! Thanks for the thanks for the site, too.
As to GRS and sci fi:
Most of what we call sci fi is more properly spec-tech fiction – spaceships, ray guns, transporters – and the “science” is more what the Trek folks call technobabble. Stewart’s 4 ecological novels (Storm, Fire, EA, and Sheep Rock), on the other hand, are all true science fiction – that is, fiction based on serious science. EA adds speculation to hard science, but the focus is still on ecology and geography and related disciplines. If you look at Stewart’s Papers in the Bancroft, every fact is based on deep research in the sciences. No technobabble there.
As to whether or not he read science fiction, I can’t say. There’s nothing about that in any of his papers or his oral history, and I approached the subject other than to ask if he’d read The Scarlet Plague, which has similarities. He thought he might have, as a boy, since he read most of London, but could (or at least would not) recall that specifically.
He did read many detective novels, and then wrote his own (never published; in the Papers), as practise when he decided to write a novel. He may well have done the same with sci fi, since he also wrote a practise speculative fiction novel, again never published, which was more in line with traditional spec-tech fiction.
In most tech-spec fiction, the focus is on the human drama. There’s much of that in EA, but the real focus is on the science of the ecosystem.
EA stands on its own, both within his work and traditional “science fiction.” And it stands the test of time very well – never out of print, in 20 languages, now published for 65 years. There’s an edition in German, which you might to review: Leben Ohne Erde, I think.
Best of luck. Let me know if I can help in any other way.
PS. Here are the links to the finding aids for the paper and a free copy of his oral history.
Thank you for such a generous, thoughtful reply. Yes, we have Leben ohne Ende in the university library in Frankfurt, along with Sturm and others. What really interests me though are the research notes and unpublished novels that you mention. This makes me want to visit the Bancroft even more. Thanks again, Jesse
Hello Mr. Scott
I own and edit The Disney Blog and would like to talk to you about the article you recently wrote on Disney and Stewart.
Would it be possible to publish an extended excerpt on the blog?
Yes, Mr. Frost, you may do so. But I do copyright these posts, and we should note that you’re using with my enthusiastic permission. Also, please let me review the portion that you’d like to use.
Many thanks for considering this. (I know two Disney legends, grew up with one, and so have always had a soft spot for things Disney.)
Donald M. Scott
Hi drop me an email and I’ll send you a link to a preview of the article. It goes live tomorrow morning.
What’s your email address? Can’t find it on your pages.
johnfrost [at] gmail
Dear Mr Scott
I hope you might be interested to see this:
Yes, indeed, and many thanks. It appears both of us were inspired to write, in part, by George R. Stewart’s Earth Abides.
A couple of comments: I consider Stewart to be a science fiction writer in this, the purest sense of the term – most of his novels were fiction about scientific events (a storm, a forest fire, planetary ecology, and an ecological fictionalization of a real place) based on solid scientific research which he conducted on site, often with his colleagues from UC Berkeley. In fact, I now think we need a new term for what is traditionally called science fiction – I use the word “techspec” since most of our popular science fiction is fairly conventional drama or melodrama set in alternate or future technologies. However, I am not going to hold anyone else to this idea; it simply helps me understand Stewart.
And I’m ashamed to note here that since Stewart, through his books, drew me away from traditional science fiction, I was not familiar with your work before this message sent me to Google. I now intend to read it, as time permits during the construction of my new book, and I am deeply grateful for this education.
Dear Mr Scott
I have spent most of my adult life grappling with the problem of the phrase ‘science fiction’. It creates so many prejudices, on both sides. ‘Science’ means ‘knowledge’, of course, but that takes us nowhere. Some writers prefer ‘speculative fiction’, but again that is a bit of a blind alley as all fiction is to some extent speculative. A few years ago I coined ‘visionary realism’, which I still believe is about as accurate, inclusive and non-judgemental as possible — but no one else has ever bothered with it.
These days I just say I write novels. My current novel, The Adjacent, is about as far from traditional science fiction as it is possible, yet it is still fantastic in subject and treatment, while being (excuse me) visionary and realist.
I take your point about Stewart’s work as a scientist, though. Fascinating man and writer.
Dear Mr. Priest,
Yes. Good name, “Visionary realism.”
Most “science fiction,” however, seems to put humans (or aliens that are human in behavior) into advanced technological settings, but the interactions are as old as literature and story-telling. In other words, it’s the same old set of stories, told in a new setting. The Roddenberry Star Trek and some other works have done a good job of changing the story set, but generally it’s kisskissbangbang.
Stewart’s great achievement, I think, was to introduce a very different type of protagonist – the ecosystem. It’s familiar to us, yet behaves in ways we can’t fully understand. His first big seller was *Ordeal By Hunger*, ( which not only introduces the ecosystem as protagonist, but with its opening view from orbit (written in the 1930s) might also be called the first Whole Earth work) is usually read as history, but it is the first book in my experience to consider Earth’s ecosystem as a player in the story. In *Storm*, he expands this idea, naming the ecosystem event, the storm, to show that it is the chief protagonist, but naming only a few human characters.
At any rate, many thanks for taking the time to share your ideas about these topics.
One question – which of your books should I read first?
Donald M. Scott
On Fri, Apr 10, 2015 at 1:08 AM, the EARTH ABIDES project wrote:
Dear Mr Scott
Yes, GRS’s work definitely qualifies as visionary.
I am having trouble with my internet link today — keep losing it, so I’ll keep this brief. My stuff (thanks for asking — but I am greatly in GRS’s shade): the best-known of my novels is THE PRESTIGE, which was filmed a few years ago by Christopher Nolan. It has just been released as an ebook. My ‘key’ novel (i.e. not claimed by me as my best, but it was the novel where I really found what I wanted to write — but that was 35 years ago!) is called THE AFFIRMATION, and that too is on ebook. (Also paperback.) My most recent novel is called THE ADJACENT. It is in paperback, but not yet, I think) ebook.
The article I wrote about GRS was called ‘Standing on Shoulders’, which is all the claim I can make for any link with his wonderful work.
Dear Mr. Priest,
One more question – may I report on our correspondence on the GRS weblog? I’m happy to run it by you first, if you’d like.
I’d include links to your work, and the GRS article.
No problem — thanks for asking.
All best wishes
Dear Mr. Priest,
The post is up, if you’d like to take a look.
By the way, I suggest in the post that readers might read Sheep Rock. If you’ve not done so, and have the time, I’d recommend it. It’s been called the first post-modernist novel. The book is rich, complex, layered – and not easy to read. Not hard, just unconventional in structure. You may enjoy it.
Again, many thanks for joining our small Fellowship of GRS.
Dear Mr. Priest,
Many thanks. I’ll work on it tonight.
Just finished your biography of George R. Stewart. Enjoyed it immensely — a very fine book. Like all good biographies, it gives a sense of the times and the place as well as the individual — especially the UC Berkeley milieu of that era. (In short, I learned a lot.)
I’m a Canadian writer and teacher, born in 1947, currently in my 12th year of teaching creative writing at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada (this London is a city of some 300,000, 2 hours south-west of Toronto). Before that, I spent 30 years teaching high school English, primarily in Toronto. I’m also the author of 8 books (7 novels and a collection of short stories).
I bought and read the Ace paperback of EARTH ABIDES back in the early 60s (62? 63?) as a high-school teenager, and was duly impressed… So impressed, I might add, that I still have that particular 50-cent edition (more than 50 years now) on a bookshelf here in my office — an old favorite, and probably a collector’s item of sorts. I rank it with A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ — also never out of print — as transcending any genre, moving people, and opening eyes — touching the mind and the heart, as the best literature does.
When I spotted the trade paperback edition published by Del Rey about a decade ago, I bought it and re-read it. I was impressed once again. It more than held up. And just recently, I read it for the 3rd time, still moved and impressed — enough to search the internet for more information on Stewart. This is how I found and ordered your book.
I just wanted you to hear yet another story of how far-reaching his work has been, and by extension, how far-reaching your own appreciation has been.
Many thanks for scholarship (and work) involved in spreading the word. I like to think there’s a potential, significant, continuous groundswell for the book, and that it will indeed abide long into the future, like Ish’s hammer. And you’ve helped.
All Best Wishes,
Terence M. Green
Dear Mr. Scott,
We had a brief exchange about a year ago on this page. Back then you mentioned that Stewart wrote “a practice speculative fiction novel, again never published, which was more in line with traditional spec-tech fiction.” Do you happen to remember the title of this unpublished novel?
I still haven’t made it to the Bancroft, but I have finally organized for a researcher to go for me. Since I can’t visit the archive in person, I have to order specific materials from the archive for my researcher. I’m focusing on the relevant papers for Earth Abides, which are easy to identify with the finding aid, but it would be very helpful if I could direct my researcher to the unpublished “spec-tech” novel, too, which isn’t clearly listed in the finding aid. Could it perhaps be called “If” (Carton 10, Folders 27-29)?
Thanks again, Jesse
(Sent this to your email but will also send it here to insure you receive it.)
Very good to hear from you, and to hear that your work is progressing.
As I recollect, that speculative novel, never published, is called The Dry Lands. From internal references and clues it’s set in Berkeley and the northern Nevada desert, and details the protagonists’ role in helping to destroy an enemy airfield in the desert in a future war.
Carton 10, Folder 13
The Dry Country undated
Scope and Content Note
This is in the following collection: BANC MSS C-H 13
Hope this helps.
Cheers, Merry Christmas,
Dear Mr Scott
Before all apologize my poor american langage… Independent publisher settled in Lyon in France (Fage éditions), I would like to know the situation of the rights of translation for France of George R. Stewart’s book “Earth Abides”, a real very good one.
A translation appeared in 1951 (Le Pont sur l’abîme, Hachette, by Jeanne Fournier-Pargoire, deceased), and was republished in 1980 by Robert Laffont in an SF collection and out of print for a long time (La Terre demeure).
I’m thinking about a “new life” for this book in France, a book which cannot in my mind be reduced to SF… Problem is: How to enter in touch with his family and to obtain their authorization? I hope you can help me. Best regards. Philippe Grand
Dear Mr. Grand,
A new translation, aimed at a general literary audience rather than or in addition to science fiction readers is a fine idea. It’s timely, also, because there is a plan to create a TV mini-series of Earth Abides. If successful, that will increase the interest in Stewart’s fine book, and thus expand the market for your publication.
I will contact the family and let them know of your interest. With their OK I’ll send them your email address.
Donald M. Scott
PS Your English is fine.
I come for news. Still nothing?
Sorry, Philippe, my mistake. I misspelled your name in the email address, so the earlier email didn’t get through. Edward Stewart is happy to work with you on this new translation, through his agents in London. I’ve just sent an email to the correct address with that information. Good luck in this project.
Philippe, I’ve forwarded your messages to Edward Stewart, who is the family representative in charge of rights. I’ll send a new message to him, but that’s about all I can do. He is the one who would contact you about a new French translation. I think that’s a good idea, the new translation, but Edward must make that decision for the family publishing trust.
I have the pleasure to announce you the French republication of Earth Abides: La Terre demeure.
I could maybe send you an image of the cover but tell me how make …
You can announce to Edward Stewart that the copies which return to him will soon reach him.
Thank you again deeply and be sure I’m very happy that the French people can discover or rediscover this very beautiful book.
Hourra! Hourra! and Merci, Phillippe! This is good news, which I will share.
I would appreciate a scan of the cover. I’ll post it on the GRS weblog. If you can scan the cover , and email it to me, I’ll appreciate that.
The email address (for GRS only) is email@example.com
I’ve just finished your Stewart biography, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It shed new light on all of Stewart’s work for me, and, incidentally, made me want to read “The Years of the City” as it sounds more relevant now than ever. (There were exactly two copies for sale at Abe’s Books.) Well done, indeed.
I’m doing my best to finish up a rather longish opus that includes an extended examination of Stewart himself, as well as the individuals he discusses in “Good Lives”, and your biography will provide the foundation for that. I also noted that the Bancroft has his autobiographical sketch. Is there much there that doesn’t appear in your own book?
I personally regard Stewart as one of the top three American writers/novelists, and can’t think of his neglect without a shudder of disgust, so: many thanks for all your efforts to draw attention to this under-appreciated genius-among-geniuses. (I did my bit by adding some of the material in the Wikipedia entry, which I’ll expand soon.)
With best wishes,
Dear Ken, Thanks for the kind words – I’m glad you found the work useful and enjoyable. Good luck on your project – the more that’s done on GRS, the better. My book sells few copies; but it’s in unversity libraries on 5 continents. I kid that it’s like a Rolls-Royce: Not many sold, but prestigious.
I’m not sure where your located; but the GRS collection at the Bancroft Library is invaluable for research – 17 linear feet of letters, mss, and so on. I spent about 3 weeks there, with tremedous help from the Bancroft Librarians. The finding aids are online – you can link to them through the header menu on weblog home page, or simply look up the “George Rippey Stewart Papers.”
The Autobiography is a tremendous help. Another, which I paid $75 for, after getting family permission, is his oral history: A Little of Myself. It carries the autobiography forward, close to the time of his passing. It’s online, and a great help.
There are also some journals and letters about his various wanders, in the Bancroft.
The Bancroft is working on digitizing his dictaphone notes of his books; I believe the Years of the City is one of those. No word on when that will be done and available to scholars.
PS. Ken, in terms of material I did not use – in 17 linear feet of paper, there is only so much one can use. So again it would be worth your while to examine the finding aids to the two set of GRS papers. DMS
I’m not sure why I’ve not dropped you a note before now, other than the fact that I tend to leave people alone, and that life has a way of keeping me busier than I prefer.
I truly enjoyed reading your George Stewart biography. I’m not a GRS newbie by any stretch: I’ve read all of his works (at least all of the major ones…I’ve yet to work through “The Technique of English Verse”) and have filled several shelves with them. I’ve also collected some interesting ephemera and correspondence from my days haunting Peter Howard’s late, great Serendipity Bookstore in Berkeley, so I hope that gives me a little street cred.
I was reminded of you and your work today because my GRS collection shows up every Tuesday (since late February, anyway) on my daily Instagram project, “My Year of the Book.” Today’s entry was “U.S. 40,” so I’d pulled your book off the shelf to see what notes or thoughts you had to share, and I was convicted by William Least Heat Moon’s comment that “you are only the second person I’ve met who knows how important GRS is.” This echoes Stegner’s assertion that he “was a much more important writer than the general public knew,” and McMurtry’s comment that the only appreciation of GRS that he knew of was stated in the essay I just quoted.
I decided that I had to at least let you know that I was out here, collecting and appreciating GRS’ entire body of work (not just one of two of his books), and comprehending his undeniable influence on so many people, organizations and institutions.
Ironically, I’d just posted about “Blue Highways” on Saturday, and Stewart’s influence on WLHM is clear and undeniable.
There…that was more than I’d intended to write, but thanks again for your ongoing work on GRS here and elsewhere.
Thanks, Craig. This is a gift.
Are you located near Berkeley?
I grew up in Napa and around Northern California, and my younger brother attended Cal. I was up there visiting often, and I stopped by Serendipity every chance I got. I’ve lived in Southern California for quite some time now. I’d love to touch base again, as I may have a couple items you may not have seen. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org on the off chance you’d have time to drop a note. – C.
I’m grateful for your biography of George Stewart. It was much needed and I continue to reference it from time to time.
I was wondering if you had any more specific information about the location of the Stewart orange grove in Anaheim. It’s my hometown and I live on a major east-west thoroughfare near the center of town, so I wonder if he might have walked my street. I’m also going to reach out to local history sources and would be happy to share any information I receive.
Thanks for your time.
Off the cuff, I’m guessing that he may have walked west on what is now Katella: “One summer Stewart worked in the grove,
just west of Anaheim (about 35 miles south of Pasadena). He usually walked the two miles from town to orchard on a pleasant country road (now a main route to Disneyland) without meeting a vehicle.” The main routes to Disneyland are Harbor and Katella (as you certainly know). Since Katella goes west, and Disneyland is about 2.8 miles from the current Amtrak station, that’s a good bet. He may have used the interurban – in fact, likely did, and I think it stopped about a mile west of the train station. So: Two miles west. Main Route to Disneyland. Orange Grove.
You may find more information in the local historical society, or library, or local county clerk’s office. There may be in those old records a statement of ownership of the orange groves in the area. Wouldn’t it be interesting to find out that the Stewart grove was one of the ones Walt bought for Disneyland? So, go to it, and become a new Stewart Scholar!
Thanks for your response. While awaiting word from local archives, I think I’ve honed in on the general area. A 1923 article (https://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc?a=d&d=LHS19230810.2.21) reveals a dispute Sr. was having with two neighbors. A 1925 directory shows one of the neighbors (John Cordes) listed as a rancher, home Lincoln between Garden Grove Road [Euclid] and Brookhurst, 2-1/4 miles west of Anaheim. Roughly this area: https://goo.gl/maps/h45cfrvvaEo. That would make sense, since Katella was pretty far out from town in those days and the only train station was downtown.
Do you know which summer he spent in Anaheim? That could help me keep an eye out as I look through old Anaheim newspapers (for other reasons).
Excellent research, Jason. This should be sent on to the Stewart family; I’ll do so with your permission. Maybe once you’ve pinned this down more precisely?
My guess is that GRS was working there during his high school years, although it may have been earlier. The family moved to Pasadena not long after they moved to California: Azusa in 1907; I think Pasadena in about 1909 or 1910. His father’s early farming experiments near Azusa were not successful. Once he bought the orange grove, it brought enough wealth to support the family in Pasadena’s more amenable cultural climate; and, as GRS wrote, to put two sons through college.
GRS went to Pasadena High, probably starting in 1909. We know he was in that area by 1910 since he reports in his autobiography (unpublished) that he helped move furniture from a house in Hollywood that his parents bought…and did so on a wagon on what is now I think Los Feliz Boulevard. (That means they passed within a block of the house where I was born!) He graduated in 1913, and went on to Princeton. His pneumonia kept him from military service, and he went to Berkeley for his MA. He may have spent some college summers working in the grove; if so, the window, high school and college, would be from about 1910 to 1919. I’m guessing his pneumonia MAY have kept him away from the grove; but on the other hand, GRS didn’t let too much slow him down so he may have worked there in spite of a bad lung.
All-in-all, I’d target the summers of 1910 – 1913.
Hope this helps.
Also, I’m interested in your interest. Are you researching for interest, or do you have a grander goal?
I’m hoping my friends at the Anaheim Heritage Room and Orange County Archives will get back to me soon, but you definitely have my permission to pass along anything to the Stewart family.
My interest comes from a few different directions. Anaheim is my hometown, and I now live in a historic house at the center of town. I’ve been methodically tracking down information on those who owned the property/house and those associated with it. This has led me to digitize tens of thousands of pages of Anaheim newspapers (yoreanaheim.com), among other things. As it turns out, I haven’t yet digitized the Anaheim Gazette (the only paper still extant on microfilm from that time) for 1910-1913, so I can pay extra close attention to them as I read for the first time. Fingers crossed that they might include mention of the grove purchase!
I also study Disneyland history, so I wanted to see if that connection existed (and it appears it does not).
It wouldn’t surprise you that for a GRS fan, I’m also very interested in geography. Knowing the exact location of the grove would check that box.
Shoot me an email and I can pass along some documents I just received.
With your permission, Jason, I’d like to do a post about your research. All credit given where credit is due, of course. Thanks, Don S.
Certainly. Email me at progressland at gmail and I can share the archival finds!
I grew up in the Berkeley hills and read Earth Abides in 5th grade, many years ago. My dad just gave me a copy of it again for Christmas. When I first read the book it changed my perspective on everything, or more likely confirmed my world view. I was a kid like Ish, hiking alone in Tilden park, catching reptiles and feeling like more a part of nature and an observer of human civilization. Now reading it again I am reminded of how the world and nature are timeless and our creations are like any other artifacts made by other animals, ephemeral and fleeting.
Nice to see a website dedicated to this important author and work.
Yes, I think there’s a little of Ish, or Em, in all those of us who so love Stewart’s great work. 70th anniversary of publication is October 7. Never out of print.
Impressive website, Nick. You may be interested to know that GR Stewart worked as a consultant for Disney in the 1940s, on film ideas. Disney was a great fan of his books and filmed two for TV. Also, in the NASA days, I had the chance to work with two of the Star Trek artists, Mike Okuda and Rick Sternbach – interesting experience. And Dad’s boyhood friend Bob Broughton became a Disney legend for his special effects work, BC – Before Computers. So film has always been an interest of mine, and your site is a feast.
Hello. I am Bruce Marsh, the person behind the Cabinet Card Gallery. Thank you for the message. I would like to see the photo of your “grandfather” taken by Mr Wright. Thanks for offering to send me a copy. I can be reached at email@example.com. Thanks again, bruce
Hi Donald, Pat Joseph here from California Magazine. First, thanks for the comments on my 1918 flu story. Second, I wanted to let you know that I’m setting down to write about Earth Abides for the next issue of the magazine and thought it would help my research immensely if we talked. Interested? Let me know. I hope this finds you well. All best, Pat
Sure, Pat, happy to help. Perfect time to write about EA. I’ve been disappointed that none of the major media has mentioned, except for the Chron and the Berkeley Daily Planet.
I’m in Carson City so I’d guess we can talk by phone? or Skype? I may have your email and will check.
Hello Mr. Scott,
I’m a freelance editor and English to Italian translator.
I loved Earth Abides and I’d like to know more about the translation rights for the Italian market. Last edition was published in 1990 (‘La terra sull’abisso’, Nord): I think the moment is perfect for a new translation.
I would be very grateful if you could help me with this.
Thanks for your time,
Yes, agreed. This is the perfect moment.
I’ll send your message with your email address attached to Edward Stewart, who handles all rights for his Grandfather George R. Stewart’s works. He’s very easy to work with, and I’d expect him to contact you soon.
Dear Mr. Scott,
My name is Richard C. Hoagland. I executive produce and host a weekly international radio program, “The Other Side of Midnight.”
I’d like to talk to you about George Stewart … and perhaps the most haunting book I’ve ever read … which is now, literally, after all these years ….
Are you aware that storm is being republished by NYRB Classics with a publication date of July 13, 2021? I’m not sure if other Stewart classics are also being republished by this company. A paperback and a Kindle edition of being offered. I was allergic to the book store but a recent mention on the radio show/podcast science Diction and Science Friday. Links below.
Thanks – I was not aware that NYRPB was republishing this. They did republish Names on the Land in 2009 or so – deluxe paperback with a wonderful new Introduction.
I’ll do a post about this in the near future.
Once again, thanks. Greetings of the Season.
Hello Mr. Scott. Now, where to begin?
I first of all want to thank you for the wonderful biography of George R. Stewart. I received it as a gift from my wife this last Christmas. You, no doubt, have encountered many fans who have told you how GRS and Earth Abides, in particular, changed their lives. Well, I’m one of them and I so appreciated your insights to the man and his work. You increased my understanding in many ways that I especially value and I toyed with the idea of writing to thank you but did not see an easy means of doing so.
I met him first via Earth Abides in 1969 when I was in 9th grade. Memories, images, ways of thinking that I first experiences in that book have since never been far from my mind.
I was not an academic at the time but collecting and reading his works became a passion and though a strange encounter with an old book seller who only sold old books, I was fortunate enough to meet Mr. Stewart and found what it must be like to live as a fan who does not begin to understand how great the object of their affection is.
Today found me almost done with a current read of Sheep Rock and while doing some research on Black Rock Nevada, ran across you blog. Liked one of your pages and suddenly I had the means to say thanks because you noted my blog-like and followed my own blog.
Since you are a follower of my blog, the most relevant story you should read is the account of my meeting GRS (just 2000 words) and how I almost failed to be a functional fan and how gracious both he and Ted were in hosting my visit that day. Most of my stories are meant to be entertaining short essays but this one is more of a fun testimony of what wonderful people they were to this young star-struck fan.
Thanks again for your insightful biography and giving me the chance to say thanks
Where in the world is Ranger Don?
-Your friends at Davis Creek
Good morning, Ranger Chris and the good Rangers at Davis Creek,
This has been a year of hunkering down – partly due to the pandemic. I made one long spring trip (a geezer in a geezer car over the mighty mountains, back and forth) to the excellent mechanics in the Arroyo Grande area – did some camping there at Lopez Lake Regional Park – and had a couple of reunions with NASA friends. That seemed to open the floodgates – more visitors here in April/May than in all the Carson City years. And, of course, working on the new book – which is out to readers and is certainly going to need major work based on their responses. I did get to Davis Creek once, chatted with Bearded Ranger. But the book and the visitors pretty much pinned me down for a time.
Your comment is timely, and I shall make it a point to visit and hike and talk over rangerly matters soon.
By the way – two of the visitors here were old Montana friends who’ve moved to Sparks. They camp at Davis Creek and give it their highest stamp of approval. If you should run into them, say hello. Wonderful folks, readers of my new manuscript – and they have a very interesting story or two to tell.
Dear Mr. Scott,
I have to confess that I have never read Earth Abides. However, during Christmas vacation, I reread your biography or GRS again and decided to obtain a copy of the book. So, when I returned to work, I ordered a copy on Amazon.
As a lifelong Stewart fan, I’m sure I’ll like it.
As a kid, I had my own “Earth Abides” moment. Allow me to explain.
In 1962, when I was just 10 years old, my family and I undertook a coast-to-coast trip on U.S. 40. Then three years later, we went back over the Route in the opposite direction but only as far as St. Louis.
It was an experience that I never forgot. I became a young U.S. 40 fan. I couldn’t stop talking about Route 40 in school and my classmates began to grow weary of hearing me talk about it.
Well, one fine day I happened to be in the library and just for kicks, decided to look up “U.S. 40” in the subject card catalog. (I really show my age with that statement. That was back when there were still card catalogs).
My eyes just about popped out of my head. There it was! “U.S. 40; A Cross Section of the United States of America.”
I was absolutely ecstatic! I checked the book out and took it home to show Mom. Mother was an English major who had graduated from Berkeley. She was just as astounded at my find as I was but for different reasons. Stewart, you see, had been one of Mom’s professors. So, there you have it. I feel like I have at least an indirect connection to GRS through my mother.
I always wished that I could’ve been fortunate enough to have met the man. Although I am not a writer, I have always felt as though Stewart and I had similar interests, nature, wilderness, forestry, weather and transportation and communication systems. So, I feel like there is an invisible connection there.
Later, I also read Fire and Storm. (I’ve read Storm three times). So now I, too, will finally get to Earth Abides. Better late than never. I’m sure it’ll be a good read.
Fred M. Cain,
Dear Mr. Scott,
I hope this email finds you well. I am working on a book about newspaper weather maps and would like to reproduce the maps from George Stewart’s Storm in the publication. I contacted Penguin Random House who said they had asked the descendants of Stewart to reach out to me, but I have not heard back. Might you be able to put me in touch with whoever holds the copyright for these images please? I appreciate any assistance you can provide!