I just finished reading Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. I jumped right in, not knowing what it was about and I was thrilled to discover a terrific story about a post-apocalyptic world, in which 99.9% of the population has died of a pandemic flu. As the remaining 0.1% of the world’s people stumbles around, they discover pockets of communities and one of them is a dystopia led by a mysterious prophet. There’s a lot more to Mandel’s story, some great characters and exciting plot lines. While I work on my review, check out this interesting article by Charlie Jane Anders from io9.com about why so many authors, including Mandel, are writing post-apocalyptic books:
Here’s what Mandel says about Station Eleven:
My starting point with Station Eleven was that I wanted to write about the life of an actor. I’m interested in film and theatre, and I’m interested in what it means to devote a life to art, the costs and the joys of that. I’d thought I’d write a book about an actor in a traveling theatre company in present-day Canada. At the same time, there’s something I’d been wanting to write about for a while now, which is the awe I feel—I don’t think awe is too strong a word—at this incredible world in which we live: this place where rooms are flooded with electric light at the flick of a switch, it’s possible to cross the Atlantic in hours, and speaking to someone on the far side of the world is as simple as entering a series of numbers into a handheld device.
One way to write about something is to consider its absence, which is why I set much of the book in a post-apocalyptic landscape. I thought of the book as a love letter to the modern world, written in the form of a requiem. Also, I really like post-apocalyptic fiction — THE DOG STARS and THE ROAD are particular favourites — and I thought it would be an interesting landscape for a traveling theatre company.
Be sure to check out the full article to see what these other authors are saying: Peter Heller, The Dog Stars; Hugh Howey, Wool; Edan Lepucki, California; and M. R. Carey, The Girl With All The Gifts.
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