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YMMV / Earth Abides

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  • Base-Breaking Character: Ish has become this for many more recent readers, partly because of Values Dissonance in his common attitudes. Some readers claim that Ish is an Insufferable Genius who views everyone else in the tribe as below him on the intelligence scale. Others, while acknowledging his condescending attitudes, see him as a Jerkass Has a Point as he is the only one that seems concerned with rebuilding civilization and preserving information that will enable future generations to survive.
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  • Heartwarming: Once Ish wises up to what things he needs to teach, his first lesson is to teach the kids how to make and shoot a bow and arrow. Several generations later, the tribe crafts arrowheads from pennies. That lesson had stuck with Ish's students, and they went on to teach it to the next generation and so on.
  • Squick: Shortly after the plague come population explosions of insects and vermin. And they get into the food supplies.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • The "horrible secret" that Ish's love interest has been hiding is that she's mixed race, specifically that she has black ancestry. To his and his creator's credit, Ish isn't bothered by this revelation at all. He chuckles and tells her not to worry about it, privately reflecting that the old racist fears over miscegenation have no place in the post-apocalypse.
      • There's a bit of Values Dissonance in the moment where Ish suddenly adds up all the clues about Em's ethnicity: "brunette complexion, dark liquid eyes, full lips, white teeth, rich voice, accepting temperament ... "
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    • More Values Dissonance in the chapter "The Year 22", specifically about the business involving Charlie and Evie. It's wrong for Charlie to target Evie sexually because he's got what one character calls "Cupid's diseases", and may spread them into the rest of the community. It's wrong in Ish's eyes because Evie is mentally handicapped and is bound to produce "a lot of little half-witted brats". But nowhere, not once, by any character, is it suggested that it's wrong because what Charlie is doing is rape — Evie is incapable of giving or denying meaningful consent.

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