Earth Abides and Dead Red Heart

I’ve been working through my to-read pile since I can’t do much else with a very high needs baby attached to me! Thought I would share my opinion on a few tomes.

Earth Abides by George R Stewart.

This one was recommended by a friend as a classic SF work. I admit I found it hard to get into, it was written in the 60s by a scientist and the language is very dated and waffly. I loved the concepts and the progression but I found the blatant sexism and racism very offputting. I know it’s a product of its times but I can’t seem to be able to ignore prejudice to just enjoy a story. The main character also pissed me off, having an intellectual superiority complex that seemed largely unfounded. The thorough exploration of an end of the world as we know it saved the book in the end, it’s quite impressive how Stewart has extrapolated the impact of the demise of humanity on the trappings of civilisation and the few survivors, given that it was written in the 60s, well before the modern crop of doomsday books and films.

Dead Red Heart edited by Russell B Farr.

A recently published anthology of Australian vampire stories. After reading Earth Abides I needed modern writing and less serious subject matter, so picked up this anthology and was really impressed. I’m not a huge vampire fan, and it seems a difficult task to come up with an original take on vampires but there were several outstanding and original stories in this anthology. There were a few that I thought weren’t quite up to the high standard of the others (not so much in writing but just in terms of a gripping story) but on the whole I loved the experience of reading this book. Special mention has to go to Jane Routley for “Bats”, Penelope Love’s “Lady Yang’s Lament”, Angela Slatter’s “Sun Falls”, Damon Cavalchini’s “Renfield’s Wife”, Joanne Anderton’s “The Sea at Night”… all stories I really enjoyed and Jane and Damon get points for awesome takes on the vampire myth. There were so many other great stories though, highly recommend reading it!

Will review more as I finish them!


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