Sunday, September 21, 2014

Station Eleven

Emily St. John Mandel's new novel, Station Eleven is in part a warning that, when things get really bad, the people who say that "everything happens for a reason" are to be avoided at all costs. For that reason alone it is praiseworthy.

But it is much more than that: A meditation on memory and identity. A post-apocalypse that proceeds, not through a forward march of irreversible decline, but through a web of recollection, reconstruction and redemption. A speculation on how it is that cultural artifacts survive and replicate, a syncretism of Shakespeare, celebrity gossip, micro-print-run graphic novels and Star Trek episodes coming together to remind us that "survival is insufficient". It's up there with Daniel Alarcón's At Night We Walk in Circles and Hisaki Matsuura's Triangle in competition for "best novel I've read this year," and it's by far the best one that I've read with science fictional elements. (Which means that, except in the unlikely event that I read something better in the next three months, I'll be campaigning to get it a Hugo nomination, even if that does mean trolling the incestuous SF/F "community" by insisting that it try reading something by an author who's not a regular con-goer.)

1 comment:

  1. I'll put it on the To Read List. (And if it's that good, I'll help with the trolling.)