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Immobility, Brian Evenson

2012/04/28

This isn’t something I would normally pick up when browsing the stacks, but I was intrigued by a review I read on NPR. The setting of the story is a post-apocalyptic world where nearly all life on the exposed surface of the planet has been destroyed. It is into this world that a man is brought out of statis. He has very little recollection of life before being stored, and cannot remember his name before threatening it out of the technician who roused him. He is also paralyzed from the waist down, and learns that his condition will spread to the rest of his body without treatment. The leader of the community into which Horkai has awoken tells him that there is a task which only he can accomplish, and Horkai, having little other choice or reason to refuse, accepts.

The story is quick paced, with short chapters and plenty of action. I raced through it in a morning, just as impatient as Horkai to know and understand what had happened. There is plenty to be unpacked here, as the genre of post-apocalypic fiction tends to raise questions such as, “Why should the human race be allowed to continue?” “Who should decide what society is?” “How do we know what, and who, is right and wrong?” A provoking piece of fiction, albeit a short one.

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