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IMMOBILITY by Brian Evenson

IMMOBILITY

By Brian Evenson

Pub Date: April 10th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7653-3096-3
Publisher: Tor

Realization of what appeared, briefly and fictionally, as a "hypothetical" novel in one of Evenson's (Last Days, 2009, etc.) previous works.

In this combination of two classic science fiction tropes—the post-apocalyptic future and the protagonist who has no memory—a man who may or may not be named Josef Horkai wakes from what he is told has been 30 years of cold-sleep storage. Following the Kollaps, the landscape is pocked with craters, scarred by violence and poisoned by radiation; only a few scattered groups cling to survival in shelters and caves. Rasmus, the leader of the group, tells Horkai that he is the group's "fixer," needed to retrieve a mysterious cylinder that has been stolen by a rival group. Horkai's legs are useless and, according to Rasmus, he needs regular injections in his spine to stop a lethal disease spreading upwards to his brain. To get Horkai where he needs to go, two "mules," placid, literal minded individuals of limited intelligence, will carry him. Qanik and Qatik, the mules, don radiation-resistant suits, but Horkai needs none; more, he can heal from any injury and seems to be immortal. According to Qatik and Qanik—they refer to their group as the "hive," and neither expects to survive the trek—there are other, similar, survivors. It’s a formidable what's-going-on scenario, told from the point of view of a character who has every reason to be unreliable, that merited further development rather than just a slam-dunk ending.

Satisfying if not particularly surprising or original.