This is incredibly timely … and the original book was written more than 60 years ago. And yet, we are still surprised when the inevitable happens. Again.
George R. Stewart was always interested in how humans react to ecological events, because he saw those reactions as defining human character. Two of his best novels, FIRE and EARTH ABIDES, focus on such events – FIRE, on a great forest fire (and fire ecology); EARTH ABIDES,on a planet-wide disease epidemic which nearly ends the human species.
This last month California experienced fire, and some Californians had a lesson about disease. There were massive and destructive fires, and a literary discussion of an epidemic which references Stewart’s EARTH ABIDES.
Build a home in the woods and, sooner or later, fire will come. Defensible space is a great help; but in suburbia’s tiny lots, there can be none. The fires of 2017 burned through the house-stacked neighborhoods so quickly that – as in the recent Oakland Hills fire – many people died trying to flee. Entire neighborhoods…
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