George R Stewart's Earth Abides

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George R Stewart's Earth Abides

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jul. 21, 2010, 6:00am

In another thread BeckyJG reviewed Earth Abides, it is unusual for the genre in that the characters are reactive to their situation rather than pro-active, there is no attempt to re-build civilisation. I was curious as to how George R Stewart developed the characters, on his page on Wikipedia there is a link to the following:

U.C. Berkeley interviews with George R. Stewart on the writing process

It’s a long interview (336 pages!) in it he discusses Earth Abides. From a PA perspective he talks about the research he undertook, for example about the corrosion that would happen to the Golden Gate Bridge. If you are a geeky PA fan like me you might find it of interest. I have only read the earth Abides stuff which starts on page 179.

He also mentions his motivation for the characters, this is a quick excerpt:

“...The human race as an abstraction is not really interesting, you see. It's the individual human beings you're attached to, and if you consider, they'll all be dead in a hundred years any-way, I don't think most people really know what they're thinking about when they talk about the human race. Faceless thing, really. It's the individual people that matter, Maybe I ' m just not idealistic enough...”

(All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to The Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley. Excerpts up to 1000 words from this interview may be quoted for publication without seeking permission as long as the use is non-commercial and properly cited.)

After reading the interview I now need to re-read the book!

jul. 21, 2010, 7:08pm

Fascinating! I intend to dive in (round about page 179) to this interview soon.

Something that has struck me as I've been moving (very slowly) through The World Without Us (I don't do very well with nonfiction) is the way in which Stewart--albeit in a less thoroughly researched/scientific way--sort of takes the same approach to how the both the natural world and man-made edifices might react.

jul. 23, 2010, 5:43am

I've not heard of the World Without Us, looks like the sort of thing I'd read. Did you see Life Without People on the History channel? Looks similar but I got bored with the TV programme, too many adverts and re-caps.

jul. 23, 2010, 10:57pm

I've seen a couple of episodes of Life Without People. It's exactly like The World Without Us...I don't know if they're related in any official way, though. Gotta say, I prefer reading this sort of thing through a veil of fiction. Not because it's easier to take the info, it's just easier to read.

I don't do well with nonfiction.