Has anyone read — or seen the HBO adaptation of — Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven? It won the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award and I read it recently to see what it takes to win that award.
As an award winner, I was not overly impressed with the writing. It felt like it had skipped the final editorial process, and it wasn't because it took on a very non–linear story line; I love non–linearity. The story seem to skip along haphazardly (though I will readily admit that may have been more a lazy "reader" than the writer) so I almost passed on watching the mini–series last month.
OMG. Patrick Somerville (who was a writer and showrunner) tightened up the story and took it into the same legendary space as Walking Dead. Both are post-apocalyptic stories, but are definitely different genres. There are no zombies in Station Eleven and the sidekick outlaws are milquetoast compared to WD's Negan — and correspondingly less important to the story line.
The various plots and subplots are vibrant and challenging and weave a complex tale; the drama is restrained but tense; the characters have depth and are developed over time like a delicate hollandaise sauce. And the (happy?) ending will tear your heart out. I haven't been that choked up (read - crying my eyes out) by good drama since Jeff Daniels called for a bayonet charge in Gettysburg.
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