Book Reviews

So many books (you know the rest)

Station Eleven
by Emily St. John Mandel
Published in 2014 (I finished it on October 22, 2015)

Again, strong recommendations led me to this novel. And more importantly, someone loaned me a copy.

It worked for me. A thought provoking adventure, though not at all what I was expecting. I was thinking it was a science fiction novel. But it is post-apocalypse. And the writer knows her theatre. “Thank you Fifteen!”

The characters are well done with some being notably stronger than others and some seemingly flat, despite a lot of narrative around them. Odd, I know.

The amount of serendipity and coincidence is obviously implausible, yet that’s fine. Fiction has always contained that aspect. It’s only when it happens that makes life interesting. Had everyone not been connected, well, it wouldn’t be as fun.

Everything else seemed believable though.

Almost everything. My only problem was that I don’t believe mankind would take so long to really recover from such a disaster as depicted. The thing about it: once you know something is achievable, it’s much easier to return to it a second time. From a four-minute mile to space flight to nuclear fission, just knowing it’s possible to do it means all that’s left is filling in the blanks. As well, the “instructions” are there in libraries and on computers—once you have power again. However, it would be very easy to utilize solar panels to get necessary computers fired up again. And given the insatiable appetite for seeing cat photos on the Internet, I don’t see that taking long either.

People have always had that “See a mountain, climb a mountain” psyche built in. Yes, getting food and water would be the first few steps, but after that, planes would be back in the air in a very short time. I imagine it would be with smaller planes and new pilots would be trained. But in WWII, the Allies had to train pilots in a couple of weeks to maintain muster. Necessity and desire make great things happen.

Again, this doesn’t ruin the novel. It’s a fascinating exploration and one that is essentially impossible to prove or disprove without it actually happening.

But let’s hope it doesn’t.