George R. Stewart
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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.
From the Paperback edition.
dangers of disease to a community, and they did not know the force which any society was privileged to exert in its own defense. The boys filed out, in spite of their years and inches and paternity, seeming mere children again. "Keep quiet about this," Ezra told them. The three older men turned to each other again after the younger ones had gone. "Let's get Em back in," said Ezra. Em joined them, and then there were four. They stood for a minute in silence as if under the actual threat of
face was such great weariness as he had never seen on a face before. He was appalled. Then suddenly he was happy, for he knew that she would never have sat there and let her weariness show unless the future was safe. Yet it was such a weariness as he scarcely thought could exist. Suddenly he knew that behind such weariness must also lie great grief. At that moment too he realized that he himself was now on the road to convalescence, probably less weary than she, able to share the load. He
a veil. At least while those two lived, the ancient proprieties would survive. But all the others were clothed in the haphazard but comfortable leavings of civilization. The men and boys wore blue jeans and sport shirts, with light windbreaker jackets over their shirts against the early morning chill. A few of the smaller girls were almost indistinguishable from the boys, except for their longer hair, but the women and most of the girls declared their femininity with skirts, and lent color by
You had no friends to visit in the other part of town, and no movies to go to. To bring cans and bottles home from the grocery stores, the dog-teams did well enough, and they also served for fishing-expeditions to the bay-shore. Still, the older ones agreed, it might be possible to get an automobile running again, and to drive it for a considerable distance, even on rotten tires, if you kept the speed down below, say, twenty-five miles an hour. And that was really traveling, compared with a
was shaping in his mind. "Say, boys," he said, "Bob and Dick, I mean. Do you think you can go back and shift those wheels by yourselves?" "Sure," said Dick, but he looked puzzled. "What I mean is—well, Joey is too little to be much use, and I'm tired. It's only four blocks to the City Library from here. Joey can go with me. Want to, Joey?" Joey was already on his feet with the excitement of the idea. The other boys were happy to get back to the tires. As they walked toward the Library, Joey