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StarfleetComms Podcast: S4E06 – Review: Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
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Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
This is my review of Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel. A post-apocalyptic tale with a human feel.
Station Eleven? What’s it all about?
Officially, this is the blurb from Goodreads:
An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be saviour, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity. One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time-from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains – this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.
Video review of Station Eleven
Anything going for this?
While I agree with most of it I thought the story was about the human condition. What it means to be human and what it means to care. In many post-apocalyptic novels, we have dire consequence, ruthless adversaries, a horrific challenge to overcome and an overarching sense of despair. Granted, there’s a huge market for those stories but Station Eleven takes a different approach. It asks us about our relationships with each other, what the consequences are and what the end results might be. There is a message in this book and it’s about the importance and the frailty of connections.
Against a backdrop where most of the population has gone, no electricity or refined carbon fuels exist and early 19th Century medicine is once again king we find ourselves on course with a fate put in motion twenty or so years earlier.The story is told in a beautifully gentle way. Sometimes whimsical, sometimes dramatic, we are led toward the conclusion among a meandering path of interw