The UT Libraries is collecting essays and other creative responses to Station Eleven, last fall’s Life of the Mind reading, for a book to be published by Newfound Press, the UT Libraries’ online imprint.
The Libraries welcomes all submissions that can be represented in a printed publication — essays, poems, works of art, even humor. Our copy deadline is May 25, 2018.
The excerpt, below, is from an essay that will appear in the upcoming book.
Back when I was first reading Station Eleven, I commented to a colleague that it reminded me of The Road. In my superficial reading of things, they both depicted people on a journey in a world in which everything had collapsed. My colleague correctly noted that Station Eleven was nothing like The Road, that it had a completely different theme and message. I believe she meant that the former had a message of optimism and preservation of culture, while the latter was simply about survival in a world in ¬which nature itself has failed to function. At the end of Station Eleven, they see lights in the distance, indicating that someone has started up a power plant. At the end of The Road, I believe there is a sense that a small cadre of people will re-start humanity, assuming the sun will shine through the clouds at some point and start photosynthesis.
. . . We are fortunate to have many horrific futures to choose from in our literature. The Hunger Games series has a particular resonance for our times, in that it shows an aristocracy living off the sweat of the serfs in a neo-feudal police state. Soylent Green had a similar resonance in the years before environmental awareness. Mad Max and its ilk appeal to me less, since they seem less rooted in our realities. But they share with Station Eleven the notion that, in a vacuum, leadership will be grabbed by evil people. This starts us thinking about cults and other instances in which we see this now and through history. In this sense, these futures share more than we’d like to think with our present and past. . . .
(excerpted from “What Will I Do in the Coming Dystopia?” by Brooks Clark)
Read more here about Station Eleven and how to submit your essay or other creative response.