One snowy night in Toronto, famous actor Arthur Leander dies on stage whilst performing the role of a lifetime. That same evening a deadly virus touches down in North America. The world will never be the same again.
Twenty years later Kirsten, an actress in the Travelling Symphony, performs Shakespeare in the settlements that have grown up since the collapse. But then her newly hopeful world is threatened.
If civilisation was lost, what would you preserve? And how far would you go to protect it?
This review may be slightly biased because I love this book. Like I really really love this book. Okay first thing is it’s a post apocalyptic novel. But it’s so believable. We don’t have any of this phone signals turning people into zombies, or aliens invading or nuclear detonations. It’s just a really really bad virus that kills almost everyone. I mean if Ebola or some other virus gets worse that could actually happen. It sort of did happen once with the Spanish Flu.
I love that it’s sci-fi but not really. Actually its barely sci-fi. This is the sort of book I would recommend for people who don’t like sci-fi. I mean yes a good part of the book is set in a post-apocalyptic world, but it’s still not sci-fi. Apart from a new virus it really doesn’t have any new science in it. Its really more a story about a bunch of people living in a world with no electricity, no medicine, no internet, no anything basically.
But the one thing I love most about this book (and I may start rambling here) is that is has a reference to Star Trek Voyager. This is probably no secret but I am a huge Star Trek Voyager nerd. One thing that annoys me when any media makes a reference to Star Trek is that they forget there is more to Star Trek than James T Kirk. I mean there are five Star Trek television series (six if you include the animated series), not to mention the movies. And yet when there is any mention of Star Trek in pop culture you can bet it will be referencing The Original Series.
So the fact that Emily St John Mandel referenced ST: Voyager and not only that but it explains a huge part of the book. That one tiny line explains the entire reason why there is a shakespeare company travelling around North America and Canada. That was the moment I fell in love with this book.
In fact I love this book so much that I want to give away a copy of it to one of you. All you need to do to win is write a short story using this prompt: If you knew a world-killing viral infection was coming, how would you prepare?
- Story must be 11 sentences or under.
- You must submit the story as a comment on this post.
- Entries must be submitted by 5pm (GMT) on July 1st.
- The winner will be picked by Joseph and myself.
- The book will be sent out via Book Depository so you must ensure that Book Depository will ship to your country (check here).
- Winner will be announced on July 2nd.