C. G. McGinn


Ramblings about Books and Writing

Filtering by Tag: Metro 2033

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel is the story about a traveling theater group in the years following the collapse of the civilized world.

The story follows the lives of several characters who are connected in some way or another to one man, a famous Hollywood actor -- Arthur Leander.

This is a story that makes you think long after you've finished reading it. It's been said that the ability to do this makes for a good story and I would have to agree. I got into a lengthy discussion with the librarian who recommended this book to me, over who was the protagonist of the story. There were either many, or one. We couldn't quite decide. All of the main characters have Arthur Leander in common. It could be argued that Leander is the protagonist. However the other characters are the ones doing most of the actions in the story. Any one of them could also be considered a protagonist in their own rite.

It's a tricky story, but somehow it works. It works on a lot of different levels. It still has me thinking, weeks later while I write this entry. This was actually a very difficult entry to write because I could go at it from several different angles and had trouble deciding how to spin it. I chose to go with the character puzzle.

I will also say that the world created in Station Eleven is one of the most believable ones to come out of the post-apocalyptic genre. In a world completely void of a supernatural element -- be it Metro 2033's Librarians and Dark Ones, or the virals of The Passage -- humanity is seen to survive however they can, making due with the shelters left from a fallen civilization, building settlements, and returning to a hunter-gathers society. And coming out from the ashes of popular culture and a keen background in the creative arts, of course we would see a traveling theater, committed to maintaining the Bard's great works.

Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky

Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky was the surprise hit of these cold and dark winter months. Sometimes I pick out books without knowing a damn thing about them or their author. This was how I discovered The Rook by Dan O'Malley--a book that will remain in the Number One spot on my short-list for a very long time.

Metro 2033 is a hit because of the world Glukhovsky creates. He took a very simple concept--the Moscow Metro, and turned it into an almost alien environment. I had no idea how large the Moscow subway system was. When I first started reading the book, I thought to myself, how can a story this long take place in the confined space of a subway system? There can't possibly be enough setting here. Like you, I was ignorant of just how hUge the Moscow Metro is. Here's a picture:



It's pretty big...I guess.

I want to go to Moscow just to ride the subway. I was talking to a friend who grew up there and she told me that they do indeed have tours. I might start hosting a tour of the MBTA Green Line, from Riverside to Fenway. Good times

I don't want to go into detail, but there were a lot of great mysteries and lore in Metro 2033. Glukhovsky gave out just enough backstory to give a sense of what caused everyone to flee into the metro, lest they become victims of nuclear attack. And characters express superstitions that turn out to be grounded in more truth than irrational fear. It's not just a story of hopeless survival. There is far more at play here. And he doesn't give it all away, leaving room for the reader to draw their own conclusions.

It was also adapted into a video game, which happened to go on sale this week, which I happened to pick up. I haven't had a chance to start playing in yet, but the graphics are very awesome and the main menu captured the feel I got from the book. It also helped that Glukhovsky had a hand in it's development. Once I've put a few hours into the game, I'll give it a review.

The book has two sequels that I'll probably read before summer, but not before I finish Lock In by John Scalzi and possible one or two lighter reads.