Friday, February 9, 2018

Battle of the Apocalypses

Station Eleven
by Emily St. John Mandel

Originally read on October 27, 2015

I'm reading some apocalyptic stuff because its coming up on Halloween and I like to tuck in a creepy, eerie book to mark it.  This year, it's two.  Both deal with apocalypses, and in an interesting turn, Station Eleven briefly alludes to The Passage.  (Even more strangely, the allusion made me realize something about The Passage that I hadn't quite put together before!)

So let's do a direct comparison, because those can be fun:

How We All Die:
TP - Military attempt to build super soldier with immortality virus goes horribly awry.  Vampires.
SE - Superflu epidemic.

Extent of Destruction:
TP - Most of North America is a vampire playground.
SE - 99.9% of humanity dies, worldwide.

Religious Overtones:
TP - Allusions and parallels galore.  Fate/Destiny/God is At Work Here.
SE - Characters deal with what happens through their various religious beliefs, and one character's beliefs are very important, but not a central theme

Is it a Page Turner?
SE - Occasionally.

Action Scenes:
TP - No problem. Here, have even more action!
SE - Eh.  Most are awkward.

What's the Biggest Problem?
TP - Too many people doing things because of some mysterious feeling or drive.
SE - A religious zealot villain with very little complexity.  

Is it a Good Book?
TP - Hell Yes.
SE - Yes.

What's the Best Part?
TP - The easy, natural power of the storytelling.
SE - The way that the book weaves complications from the time before the flu to consequences after the flu, when you might assume a pandemic would obliterate the past completely.

Final call:

The emphasis on art in several forms is refreshing.  I also get the impression that I would enjoy hanging out with the author.

If you like this try:
Sorry, fresh out of ideas!

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