An instant classic upon its original publication in 1949 and winner of the first International Fantasy Award, Earth Abides ranks with On the Beach and Riddley Walker as one of our most provocative and finely wrought post-apocalyptic works of literature. Its impact is still fresh, its lessons timeless. When a plague of unprecedented virulence sweeps the globe, the human race is all but wiped out. In the aftermath, as the great machine of civilization slowly, inexorably, breaks down, only a few shattered survivors remain to struggle against the slide into barbarism . . . or extinction. This is the story of one such survivor, Isherwood Ish Williams, an intellectual loner who embraces the grim duty of bearing witness to what may be humanity's final days. But then he finds Em, a wise and courageous woman who coaxes his stunned heart back to life and teaches him to hope again. Together, they will face unimaginable challenges as they sow the seeds of a new beginning. One of the finest of all post-holocaust novels. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.