Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel

StationElevenNorthAmericaHiRes“Dr. Eleven: What was it like for you, at the end?
Captain Lonagan: It was exactly like waking up from a dream.”

Disclaimer: The review contains some non-trivial spoilers. Though I am quite convinced that the reading of this particular book cannot really suffer from them, proceed at your own risk.

I like to think about Station Eleven as of science fiction in reverse. Where most SF stories conceive of the future as a superstructure built over their past (and somebody’s present), in this one the future looks back toward the past as a dream of wasted miracles and heartbreaking loss. Against the backdrop of a crippled world and through the excruciating prism of art, a thing of poignant beauty is brought together. Because survival is insufficient.

This last sentence – taken from a Star Trek episode and painted over the wagons of a troupe of actors and musicians, The Traveling Symphony. They ply the erstwhile American lands bordering the Great Lakes, performing their Shakespeare and their music. But America is no more, not for twenty years, since the Georgian swine flu almost wiped out humanity. Continue reading