The Quiet Earth is a science fiction novel (ISBN ) by New Zealand writer The Quiet Earth . Penguin Books Australia. Retrieved 4 June. The Quiet Earth book. Read 38 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. John Hobson, a geneticist, wakes one morning to find his watch stop. The Quiet Earth (Text Classics) [Craig Harrison, Bernard Beckett] on Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the month in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries.
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The Quiet Earth by Craig Harrison - book cover, description, publication history. Before it was a film, The Quiet Earth was a novel by Craig Harrison. The artfulness with which both these challenges are met sets this book apart. It is a. 'I was sitting bolt upright in bed breathing fast and staring at the wall. The daylight was streaming into the motel room through the slats of the.
A short story has permission to observe, to linger inside impressions and fears, but a novel of this type avoids storytelling at its peril.
The artfulness with which both these challenges are met sets this book apart.
It is a high-concept novel, and within the New Zealand literary tradition that already places it comfortably in the minority.
The greater appeal, though, is not the freshness of the concept but its execution. Initially, the story moves through the actions and emotions we might expect of the protagonist. Hobson does as we would do: he searches, pieces together tantalising clues all the clocks have stopped at 6.
Fear not just that he is alone, but that he is not psychologically equipped to be alone. That he will disappear within the existential chasm. Any, any explanation would dam the panic … I struggled to be objective … An enormous isolation and loneliness, a sensation not of being observed but of being ignored, totally abandoned, was all I could separate from the confusion and fear.
This everyman quality, the camaraderie of the extreme, allows the first of the narrative tricks to be pulled. And that leaves it open for the author to establish a conflict between our instinctive loyalty toward the sufferer and the kind of man Hobson may actually be.
As the character moves through his broken world, we come to realise he might be implicated in the breaking of it. In clumsy hands, the unreliable narrator is a cheap trick, designed more to frustrate than to manipulate.
Here, it is carefully employed. Hobson is not alone. Another man has survived: Apirana Maketu, or the Maori, as our narrator uncomfortably insists upon calling him but then, so many things about this narrator are uncomfortable. Here we are, a touch under halfway through the novel, and finally the potential for external conflict presents itself.
Harrison gives it free rein. Share this book share High resolution cover picture Preview this book books View book rights notepad. About the Author. Other editions of The Quiet Earth. Share The Quiet Earth via: Facebook facebook Twitter twitter Email mail. Extract from The Quiet Earth. Rights for The Quiet Earth World: Text Publishing. There is a moment of hostility when Api breaks free, resolved when Hobson explains that his son, who was autistic , drowned in a bathtub, and Hobson felt Api was making fun of this.
The death of the child led to the end of Hobson's marriage. Both men realise that Hobson is not in complete control of his actions. Visiting the Beehive , Api speculates that they could be lab rats on some kind of duplicate Earth; it is they who disappeared. Hobson puts no stock in this theory. Three weeks after the Effect, Hobson is left alone while Api goes to get a new car.
Hobson goes into Api's bedroom and finds photographs of Api as a private during the Vietnam War , posing with the mutilated corpses of Viet Cong. Hobson believes that Api is a psychopath. The End Is The Beginning[ edit ] Hobson feels helpless to prevent his relationship with Api from deteriorating further and plans to kill Api with sleeping pills. After searching for a boat to take them to the South Island , during which both men experience an attack of dread from the "force" hounding them, Api takes Hobson for a joyride in his Lotus Elite.
A woman runs into the car's path. She is taken to the hotel and made comfortable, but neither Api nor Hobson are medically trained.
Unless she is less badly hurt than she seems, she will die. The men bicker pointlessly. The woman's condition worsens, and there is nothing her fellow survivors can do for her. Hobson senses the unseen force again, emanating from the empty city. He speculates that the force may have always been a part of the land, and is claiming the Earth. Api studies the Bible, and later wakes Hobson to tell him that he has solved the clock enigma. Hobson does not believe this, and holds a hidden gun on the deranged soldier.
The woman dies, sending Api into hysterics. After another argument, a full-scale battle with guns and grenades ensues. Hobson kills Api, with the soldier seeming to give up.
The scientist is now alone.
Breaking open Perrin's box, Hobson realises his colleagues considered him unbalanced and kept him under surveillance. Perrin believed that Hobson's DNA was altered due to radiation, which caused his child's autism.
Hobson believes the Effect was his doing. The project he worked on caused the unravelling of animal DNA; only those with the dormant gene pair were spared. Flashbacks detail Hobson's last days at the research unit. Perrin charges Hobson with negligence, as the sample slides for insects and animals in the machine are blank, while the ones for plants are normal.
This event cements for Hobson his long-growing misgivings about the experiments, and what he believes are Perrin's motives for pursuing them.
In a later flashback, Hobson relates how he sabotaged the sound wave machine before going on leave to output a much higher level of infrasound than the controls would register. The idea was to put the machine out of action temporarily, ruining Perrin's chance to use Hobson's theories. Hobson took what he believed to be a fatal dose of sleeping pills on the night before the Effect.
As he reads Perrin's notes, Hobson realises that this sabotage almost certainly caused the Effect.