Emily St. John Mandel

Station 11

Station 11

Station 11 takes place in a post-pandemic world. In this case, 99.9% of humans have been killed off by a strain of the flu, and those who survive must literally claw together a new reality. Both the show and the book follow a myriad of characters, all who are connected by their relationship to a comic book called Station 11. This review is unusual in that I watched the TV show based on the novel first. Then, I proceeded to read the book afterwards.

I was absolutely mesmerized by the show. The writing was unique and creative, and it envisioned a post-pandemic world that didn't rehash the typical tropes. Instead of a world overwhelmed by constant fear, murder, and survival, there is art, there is Shakespeare, and there is a realistic outline of trauma that rises above just generic sadness.

The book and the show were so different that it actually proves difficult to compare the two. It's as though two authors were given basic plotlines, and then told to submit their version of the story. While some of the details are similar, they really are distant cousins of each other. The book includes most of the same characters, though the characters are given different circumstances and plot lines. The major emotional arc of the show - the relationship between Kristen and Jeevan - isn't present in the book at all. The book does add some richness to the story from the show, however, honestly, I think the show was the superior of the two. Maybe I would have felt differently if I had read the book first. Regardless, I think both hold merit, and I would suggest reading the book and watching the show for the richest experience.

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