Earth Abides is a 1949 post-apocalyptic science fiction novel by American writer George R. Stewart and is often called godfather of modern apocalypse novels. It tells the story of the fall of civilization from deadly disease and its rebirth. A disease of unparalleled destructive force has sprung up almost simultaneously in every corner of the globe, all but destroying the human race. One survivor, strangely immune to the effects of the epidemic, ventures forward to experience a world without man. What he ultimately discovers will prove far more astonishing than anything he’d either dreaded or hoped for.
Radio Drama AdaptionEscape’s “Earth Abides” was adapted from the 1949 novel by George R. Stewart, and it was their only two-part episode. Earth Abides is a novel that is an experience of its own, and you can’t fully understand the book from the radio adaptation. Still, Escape deserves credit for attempting to present this complex story. The first part of Escape’s version doesn’t drift too far from the novel, but the second part is quite different. Escape’s version shortens the story considerably and leaves out a number of characters. It also omits subjects like sex, bigamy, religion, spirituality, illiteracy, etc. The focus is on the horror of a “man-dead” world.
Most of the book takes place on the east side of San Francisco Bay, but not in Escape’s version. The primary location was changed from Oakland to San Francisco. The most important monument in the book is the Bay Bridge, but Escape, changed that to the Golden Gate Bridge.
PlotAs the episode opens, Isherwood Williams is in a forest in Northern California. He is an ecologist who has been up in the woods collecting samples. As he is climbing a ridge, he is bitten by a snake. He treats the wound himself, but falls ill. Two men find him at the cabin, but when they see he is sick, they leave quickly.
When Ish feels well enough, he drives into the nearest town, there he finds…no one. What he does find are old newspapers that tell of a great epidemic virus that has struck and killed millions. Ish drives on in seach of people, but he finds none. The water still runs, the electricity works, but there are no people. Civilization has been brought down by the virus, but there are other survivors. One by one, they find each other and band together in the lonely world they now inhabit.
Part one aired on November 5, 1950, and part two aired on November 12th, 1950.
EpisodesThis audio production is released under a creative commons license. Copyrighted material remains the property of its owners. To listen press the play button, to download press the download button next to the play button.
Earth Abides part one
Earth Abides Part One – (7.13MB)
Earth Abides part two
Earth Abides Part Two – (7.06MB)