If you’ve been waiting to buy the “glorious” 2020 Mariner Press edition of Earth Abides, with an Introduction by distinguished author Kim Stanley Robinson, this is the week. The new printing of Earth Abides will be released on October 13th. (But not necessarily shipped; Amazon sent a notice that they would alert buyers when pre-orders ship. Other places to buy the book include your local bookstore. Or Bookshop, which helps support local bookstores.)
Even if you have a copy, you may want to purchase this new edition — published 71 years after George R. Stewart predicted a major pandemic which would affect the entire human race. This is the novel that inspired Stephen King to write The Stand, and poet/novelist James Sallis to write a poetic review of the power and glory of Stewart’s novel.
Sallis writes, in part,
…This is a book, mind you, that I’d place not only among the greatest science fiction, but among our very best novels.
Each time I read it, I’m profoundly affected, affected in a way only the greatest art — Ulysses, Matisse or Beethoven symphonies, say — affects me. Epic in sweep, centering on the person of Isherwood Williams, Earth Abides proves a kind of antihistory, relating the story of humankind backwards, from ever-more-abstract civilization to stone-age primitivism.
Everything passes — everything. Writers’ reputations. The ripe experience of a book in which we find ourselves immersed. Star systems, worlds, states, individual lives. Humankind.
Few of us get to read our own eulogies, but here is mankind’s. Making Earth Abides a novel for which words like elegiac and transcendent come easily to mind, a novel bearing, in critic Adam-Troy Castro’s words, “a great dark beauty.”