Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel, adds nothing new to the apocalypse trope-- in fact, I think she keeps it simple on purpose: a killer virus wipes out the bulk of humanity-- but the book is deserving of all the accolades (National Book Award Finalist, Amazon Sci-fi Book of the Year) and then some . . . it's vivid and completely gripping from page one, it's beautifully written, and there are scenes of great violence and decay-- of course-- but unlike Cormac McCarthy's The Road, there are also moments of beauty and poetry and hope . . . it's The Walking Dead if the zombies were replaced by actors, musicians, and prophets; while it's not a super-idealistic noble-savage view of humanity, it's also not an illustration of Hobbes Leviathan . . . it's somewhere in between: more "literary" than hard sci-fi, but still a perfectly imagined world and I highly recommend it (especially, as an English teacher and a musician, because this book gives me hope that I might have some small but valuable role in a post-apocalyptic environment . . . "survival is insufficient").