Station Eleven, By Emily St. John Mandel, a Standalone ILB Thread

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Because I read it a few weeks ago and mookieproof just finished it and seemed to have enough to it to warrant its own thread.

Faron Young Folks (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 4 June 2015 02:21 (six years ago) link

National Book Award Nominee, Arthur C. Clarke Award Winner, recipient of many other accolades. Which follows a traveling troupe of actors and musicians as they journey through a post-pandemic US. Although this, the usual description, is slightly misleading as much of the book takes place before or even during the onset of the pandemic and follows other characters. The post-apocalyptic stuff is kindler and gentler than most, the worst happening or having happened "offscreen" as it were, without descending into the other pitfall of ye old renfair nerd utopia. The organizing principle of much of it is the examination of the life of one man and his various associates such as ex-wives, from various angles, a la Citizen Kane, if I may. Seems like it could either have crossover appeal for readers of both speculative and "mundane" literary fiction, unless there is destructive interference resulting in cancellation in which case neither camp likes it.

Seems like I spelled everything correctly in the thread title, phew.

Faron Young Folks (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 4 June 2015 02:33 (six years ago) link

Truth be told I preferred the pre-pandemic sections or the the stuff about the pandemic itself, but of course lots of the fun was to see how the post-apocalyptic parts reflected on or connected to what came before, and how significant artifacts introduced early on in the chapters set in the future eventually had their meaning revealed in those chapters set in the past/present

Maria Felix Kept On Walking (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 5 June 2015 02:44 (six years ago) link

probably liked the miranda parts best

i quite enjoyed it, but i guess a few weeks later it feels a little lightweight. having jeevan wander off into his own story made all the coincidences of the main plot seem brittle.

the air gradia plane tho

mookieproof, Friday, 5 June 2015 21:46 (six years ago) link

I liked a lot of it and think it's a great read but yeah - as it found more direction it became more diffuse. the onset of the pandemic more compelling than the aftermath, to me.

Joan Crawford Loves Chachi, Saturday, 6 June 2015 00:59 (six years ago) link

Thought the Miranda sections were the best as well, she was the most interesting character. The Hollywood dinner party was probably my favorite set piece.

Liked the fact that we hear about Arthur from all sorts of points of view except his own.

What we need is a heavy ILB hitter like James Morrison if not teh pinefox to bring this thread to life.

three weeks pass...

discounted (£1.79) on kindle today (.co.uk at least)

i've had 4 different people recommend it to me so...

koogs, Wednesday, 8 July 2015 00:14 (six years ago) link

Am reading this now, partway through the first substantial Miranda section, and this is actually really good so far. I'm hoping there's more during-pandemic stuff to come, though, as the Jeevan opening sectin was pretty compelling.

Well, i really liked that. It didn't fall into the usual pitfalls of literary-novelist-ventures-into-SF territory (I'm looking at you, Atwood). Strangely, the sitting-round-airports bits seemed more compelling than the more overtly adventurous out-in-the-wilderness sections. It reminded me of the weird atmosphere conjured up in another recent read, 'Five Days at Memorial', about the people trapped in a hospital for days during Hurricane Katrina. And I really liked the last section, about Arthur's last night, with the various "X will dies in 8 days/2 weeks, 48 hours" bits, like lights winking out until there's total darkness.

as verbose and purple as a Peter Ustinov made of plums (James Morrison), Wednesday, 15 July 2015 02:16 (six years ago) link

Wonder which, if any, of her other books is worth reading next

Crawling From The Blecchage (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 15 July 2015 18:15 (six years ago) link

The Singer's Gun looks interesting if you have a taste for noirish crime shenanigans

as verbose and purple as a Peter Ustinov made of plums (James Morrison), Thursday, 16 July 2015 00:34 (six years ago) link

i read this and thought it was kinda bad.

affluent white (Lamp), Monday, 20 July 2015 16:07 (six years ago) link

this was ok, i was kinda expecting it to reach for something more cathartic at the end than it did & im not sure how i feel about the absence of such

ciderpress, Sunday, 2 August 2015 18:43 (six years ago) link

three months pass...

half way through. i'm not sure i like all the flitting backwards and forwards in time.

koogs, Tuesday, 3 November 2015 11:56 (six years ago) link

I really enjoyed reading it but found it kind of unsatisfying. I also enjoyed World War Z but I quite liked that this wasn't concerned with 'during'.

kinder, Tuesday, 3 November 2015 12:02 (six years ago) link

eight months pass...

I liked the part about how Miranda came to think of the story as about the Undersea people and not so much about Dr. Eleven. I also liked Clark and the Museum of Civilization. On the train I laughed out loud at the imitation of corporate speak and realized how inauthentic it was for me to attempt to use it, however inexpertly, when attempting to report my thoughts on job candidates to the hiring manager. (The situation seemed to require it.) I was on my way to see Bruce Conner and all of Clark's reflections on the detritus of civilization as worthwhile, on encounters as worthwhile, seemed fitting.

youn, Sunday, 24 July 2016 12:42 (five years ago) link

I am hypothesizing that any disappointment had to do with genre specific expectations (if introduced that way) and hope that there might be another (engaging) reading.

youn, Monday, 25 July 2016 21:51 (five years ago) link

one year passes...

Well this was a cosy catastrophe, being a John Wyndham fan I was fine with that. I wonder if this was a lighthearted reference to Cormac McCarthy's less cosy catastrophe:

...her brother had been plagued by nightmares. "The road", he'd always said, when the shook him awake and asked him what he'd been dreaming of."

On reflection though it does seem a little more lightweight than when I was in the midst of it. I'm not sure if having all the protagonists connected to one another added anything, except making me think that the prophet had a point, they had all been saved for a (Man in the High Castle-esque) reason. And the two included images from the graphic novel were disappointingly rubbish, nothing like the Moebius-esque ones I'd imagined.

lana del boy (ledge), Friday, 8 June 2018 11:44 (three years ago) link

three years pass...

tv show just dropped; might be a little too real right now tbh

thought the little girl actress was fantastic

mookieproof, Thursday, 16 December 2021 22:44 (one month ago) link

Realized the other day that this book manages to include not just a pandemic but also a shipping crisis: Miranda on that beach in Malaysia looking at all the container ships that are stuck offshore unable to dock.

Lily Dale, Friday, 17 December 2021 00:00 (one month ago) link

I was disappointed by this novel. It came with some kind of big repute, yet felt like ... like ... what I imagine Young Adult fiction to be like? The immediate rejoinder is that this is a baseless slur against YA fiction. But it seems a shorthand way to describe the bright, 2-dimensional character of the book.

In any case, I was surprised that the novel was so slight. The different aspects didn't add up well, the connexions didn't feel worthwhile. The very short chapters that came along at one point didn't fit in.

Yet, to be sure, she was right about the emergence of zoonotic pandemics.

the pinefox, Tuesday, 21 December 2021 10:52 (four weeks ago) link

I liked it. I thought it was a little bit slick, a little bit pat, yet also quite lovely in the way it managed to summon up a sense of nostalgia for the world we live in - or the world we lived in at the time the book came out. And a few things really stayed with me: Miranda dying on the beach in Malaysia, with the sun coming up and the container ships just in her field of vision, is an extraordinarily beautiful scene imo.

I reread it some way into lockdown, and it seemed to me then that the Station Eleven comic, with the people of the Undersea, was the really prescient part of it. The story about people who are dangerous because they resist reality, because they want to go back to a world that doesn't exist anymore - that felt much more like our pandemic than any of the details about the Georgia Flu.

Lily Dale, Tuesday, 21 December 2021 15:39 (four weeks ago) link

Those are good comments -- about 'nostalgia for the world we live in - or the world we lived in at the time the book came out': yes: it makes ordinary modern reality seem like something fond and lost.

(Perhaps John Wyndham et al did that too?)

The comic within the novel, I felt, might have been central and important (as in, say, KAVALIER AND CLAY), but actually went nowhere. The version I bought and read contained no images, as I think others' did. I no longer remember any of the details of the comic as ekphrastically described.

the pinefox, Tuesday, 21 December 2021 17:29 (four weeks ago) link

I don't think any editions had illustrations, did they?

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Wednesday, 22 December 2021 05:42 (four weeks ago) link

mine has two pages right at the very back, a mocked up cover and a splash page so effectively just 2 pictures with about 2 sentences of text.

koogs, Wednesday, 22 December 2021 06:58 (four weeks ago) link

this show is good

mookieproof, Sunday, 26 December 2021 03:20 (three weeks ago) link

HBOMAX?

Santa’s Got a Brand New Pigbag (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 26 December 2021 03:38 (three weeks ago) link


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