I heard amazing things about this book. After weeks on the hold list at the library I got it. I must admit it was one of those books you don't want toI heard amazing things about this book. After weeks on the hold list at the library I got it. I must admit it was one of those books you don't want to read in bed because you will stay up too late.
The premise is not new: population wiped out by killer virus. The bulk of the story telling (very well written) takes place before and after this apocalyptic event. The fact that a group of artists has decided that "survival is not sufficient" (Star Trek: Voyager quote) and created a travelling band of musicians and Shakespearean actors to keep culture alive is a new premise and very interesting. The old argument of the classics verses new or modern is briefly touched upon, as The Symphony only plays the classics and the players only do Shakespeare.
To me this was a very standard apocalyptic book. Nothing really shockingly out of the ordinary to me. Well written, as are many, and moves quickly. A thread about a vanity comic book called "Station Eleven" runs through the narrative, however, to me it wasn't really strong enough. There was a slight connection made at the end, but not really a "boom" moment. I would have liked to see the story of Station Eleven itself really intertwined more with the characters and their struggle to either hang on to the old or create the new. It sort of seemed like a mere plot device to tie characters together.
I would have liked a real debate of what our culture really is. If survival isn't sufficient what really takes us that step higher? Is maintaining the old white men culture of "culture" really what makes us better than animals or is the key in creating new that represents who we are now? What do those born after the apocalypse gain from the old? Shouldn't the arts represent the spirit of the people in the now? Is merely performing that which exists really being creative? Shouldn't we be using creativity to bring together the current? This is touched on just enough to get your brain working, but not enough to really be part of the narrative. Just an aside. To me this was crying out to be the main point! The art of the comic book, the actors before and after, the musicians--all the elements were there to really use the arts as a main thrust of the book on what IS civilization. More of a nudge, really. I can imagine some great book group discussions, but you really don't need the book for that. The book seems to be a one line question with no meat to build on.
Other elements that were baffling: soap. Easy enough to make, yet no one seemed to be doing it. They just kept searching for it, 15 years after the event. In fact, other than food, no one seemed to be creating new products for survival, something that is actually not unheard of. People seemed bent on recreating the old world instead of taking hold of the new and building on that. No looms, no inks, no new instruments. Just hunting for the old in abandoned buildings. Even now people are taking garbage and making instruments to play. No creativity.
I came out of it with the thought that glorifying all that is past using the tools of the past is the key to moving beyond mere survival, which is disturbing to me. Honor the past, yes, but look at the present to create the future.
There were some cool references to current pop culture and to the realities of a world as it moves away from the event horizon into the every day of a world without electricity, mining, fossil fuels, bullets. Again, just a few and mostly as asides.
Bottom line: good read, interesting world, touches on some bigger topics yet not enough. Missed chances here. I was left wanting. ...more
A brilliant fast paced book perfect for every geek and nerd. Set in 2044 in a rather probable world where most people spend there time in the virtualA brilliant fast paced book perfect for every geek and nerd. Set in 2044 in a rather probable world where most people spend there time in the virtual world. Where one corporation rules, or is trying to rule both the virtual and physical world. Where people can make an entire living never leaving their homes. Where the fascination with all things gaming is life.
It centers around a young man who is part of a subculture of 'gunters' all trying to find the Easter Egg worth billions within the virtual game/world that everyone lives in. The story itself is fun, but the best part for me was all of the 80s, geek, and pop culture references. You don't have to be a gamer to appreciate this book, even though there are a LOT of game references.
There is a definite message relating to 'real vs virtual', but it doesn't slam you over the head.
If you read it too close there are flaws in the plotting, but it's science/pop culture fiction so don't dwell on those. Read it like you watched WarGames, played D&D, or your favorite sitcoms in the 80s. It is fast, fun, and definitely worth a read.
I just finished this fabulous third book in the Skychasers series. The whole series is one of the best science fiction series I have read in a long tiI just finished this fabulous third book in the Skychasers series. The whole series is one of the best science fiction series I have read in a long time. I kept forgetting that it was supposed to be YA. The depth of the characters and concepts are stronger than many ‘adult’ series. This last book does not wrap everything up neatly. It is gritty, emotional, and hard to read at times. Ryan is so good at description that I felt the physical pain and emotional struggles of the characters. The ending is very logical and not what you would necessarily expect and I like that.
When I read the first book in this series I spent most of it being very angry at some of the characters to the point where I thought I didn’t like the book. Then I realized it was just because I was so attached to the characters and what they were going through. After that I couldn’t wait for the next book to come out.
I am being very vague because the plots are so complex that I don’t want to give anything away. Suffice it to say, if you like science fiction that explores the human condition while examining the constructs that humans cling to in desperate situations, this is the series for you. ...more
I hate that I read these books so fast because I wish they never ended. Each one gets better than the last. Impossible to describe, all I can say is sI hate that I read these books so fast because I wish they never ended. Each one gets better than the last. Impossible to describe, all I can say is start with The Eyre Affair and read every book in order. Otherwise they will make no sense. Well, they already make very little sense, but at least by reading them all in order they make more non-sense....more
Very different from the Thursday Next books, which I love, but still good. Intended for the YA audience, like most current YA this one is sophisticateVery different from the Thursday Next books, which I love, but still good. Intended for the YA audience, like most current YA this one is sophisticated. It takes place in an alternate Britain where dragons once flourished and magic is normal. However, their is one dragon left and magic is fading. We follow an orphan whose job it is to shepherd the magicians making sure they get to the few jobs that are left for them.
It was slow moving to start. It is definitely the first in a trilogy. Things start to come together about half way through and by the end I was entirely hooked. Can't wait for the next one!...more
An editor's dream book. Consists entirely of the fact checking and editing notes for one essay. It is an often acrimonious discussion between fact-cheAn editor's dream book. Consists entirely of the fact checking and editing notes for one essay. It is an often acrimonious discussion between fact-checker and author over the place of "fact" in the often nebulous non-fiction essay. How much can you change a fact for "artistic flow"? So far I am really enjoying this and, of course, falling on the side of the fact-checker. Why play loose with the facts and assume the reader is reading your essay for edification of concept only? Why not be accurate and stop this flow of inaccurate information that plagues our country today? We'll see if John D'Agata can convince me, but right now I am siding with Jim Fingal. A fact is fact and if you mess with it you are writing fiction. ...more
Te second book in the Match trilogy follows the characters to their new posts and their attempts to survive, discover, and reunite. More clues arise aTe second book in the Match trilogy follows the characters to their new posts and their attempts to survive, discover, and reunite. More clues arise about the Society and what lies outside its borders. There are a few new characters and Condie doesn't hold back on reality, wins, and losses.
I am looking forward to the third to see if we get more answers, or if the answers will be that nothing can really stop the human heart from loving, creating, and enjoying....more
Another YA novel where society, literally THE Society, has eliminated crime and hunger by completely controlling every aspect of a person's life, inclAnother YA novel where society, literally THE Society, has eliminated crime and hunger by completely controlling every aspect of a person's life, including their food intake. This first in a trilogy centers on a young couple that have been found to be a perfect "match" for each other. Through a glitch another choice comes up for the young woman and she begins to doubt.
This novel is an interesting exploration of curiosity as a natural human instinct and how trying to even the playing field can never really happen because someone always has to be on the bottom.