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Time travel, autofiction, and pandemics. Emily St. John Mandel’s new novel has it all

A photo of author Emily St. John Mandel.
A photo of author Emily St. John Mandel.

Her claim to fame came in 2014 with her fourth novel, “Station Eleven”a post-apocalyptic pandemic survival tale that’s garnered new meaning over the last two years. It’s been adapted into a hit HBO Max series.

Now, Emily St. John Mandel is back with her latest work of speculative fiction, “Sea of Tranquility.” It’s a pandemic novel written during a pandemic… about an author who wrote a pandemic novel right before a pandemic — so it, too, promises to hit close to home.


wrote in an essay about simulation theory. Kehe argues that several recent books touching on simulation theory “make the case not only that one can live meaningfully in a simulated world, but that one should.”

We talk with Emily St. John Mandel about making meaning with speculative fiction.

Copyright 2022 WAMU 88.5

Kathryn Fink
Kathryn Fink is a producer with NPR's All Things Considered.