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Immobility [Paperback]

Brian Evenson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Trade; Reprint edition (9 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765330970
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765330970
  • Product Dimensions: 20.9 x 14 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,100,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book by Evenson Brian

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short, but great read. 24 April 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Got this book when I came home from work - 253 pages later and just after midnight I've finished reading it. I could not put it down. The narrative writing is easy to follow and you are posed questions right from the start. You are not sure exactly what is happening and who is telling the truth or lying. The images of the post-apocalyptic wasteland are memorable, the author's not there to explain every nuance and the reasons for each happening. There's a small cast of characters - that's all that's needed. It's difficult to say any more without spoiling the story. Basically it's a story in the future, about a guy who's lost the use of his legs, has to be transported to an unknown destination on the back of a 'mule' (person), for some unknown reason. The imagery was great - the desolation and location of the story were absolute.

There are so many different ways the ending could go - to be honest I was a little disappointed it did not turn out the way I imagined it, but it was good never the less - hence the 5 stars.

Great read, as the testimony of me reading it in one night shows!
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Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bleak adventure that's really about authority and the individual 24 Jun 2012
By M. Griffin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Brian Evenson, one of my favorite short story writers, specializes in brief, enigmatic mysteries with a Kafkaesque flavor. Most of his collections have come out from publishers with more of a literary/experimental focus (Underland, Coffeehouse, Four Walls Eight Windows). It wouldn't seem unreasonable to categorize Evenson as a straight "literary" writer whose work contains speculative or "genre" elements only to accentuate the weird unease in a Kafka/Lynch sense, and not as raw meat for a genre readership. Such a conclusion about Evenson's work might seem to be argued-against by the release of Immobility, a post-apocalyptic tale which almost be called an "adventure" (if a quiet one), published by SF/Fantasy powerhouse Tor Books.

The story begins with the awakening from cryogenic stasis of Josef Horkai, a paralyzed amnesiac with unexplained resistance to the environmental toxins and radiation which keep the rest of the few surviving humans hiding underground. He's given a mission by Rasmus, seemingly in charge in this desolate, wrecked post-Kollaps aftermath, and a pair of "mules" named Qanik and Qatik, twins or perhaps clones, carry Horkai on the assignment. On the way, Horkai tries to get information from the mules, whose responses often seem nonsensical, yet sometimes contain information or even wisdom.

Horkai's muddled memory, which leaves him uncertain about such basic facts as whether he's even human, drives him even more strongly than any assigned mission. Immobility isn't just about Horkai's paralysis, but about his inability to choose any direction for himself because he lacks the necessary information to judge his own situation. Plagued by cyclical memories of sleeping and awakening from sleep, Horkai struggles to understand who he is, and how to deal with direction in which he has no say. I take this as a direct and explicit comment about the way some religions keep followers in the dark, use them as fodder for the promulgation of the faith. Evenson's own history as a former member of the Mormon church, and the story taking place in Utah, particularly near the Brigham Young University campus, would seem to support this interpretation.

The story is reminiscent of Cormac Mccarthy's The Road in terms of mood, yet in that story the protagonist was strongly driven toward a certain end. Horkai isn't sure what he's seeking, beyond the most basic sort of self-knowledge. The foundational nihilism of Immobility should come as no surprise, as in his acknowledgements Evenson name-checks Thomas Ligotti, a horror writer noted for his pessimism about humanity. I enjoyed Immobility, found it stimulating and well-written, though not quite as sharply-honed as Evenson's short works. It's worthwhile for those readers who enjoy darker tones and a bit of philosophical challenge, but may be too bleak for some.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intensely dramatic, dark, and chilling 12 April 2012
By SciFiChick - Published on Amazon.com
Josef Horkai wakes up to find he can't move and has no memory. The people who wake him up tell him little other than that he is paralyzed from the waist down, and they need him for a critical mission. The future world is bleak and ruined by war. Josef is only told he needs to recover something that was stolen. But as he soon discovers, there is more to his mission than meets the eye.

Evenson's desolate world is post-apocalyptic, with mysterious and bizarre characters. Immobility is a quick, yet thought-provoking read. I read it through in one sitting and couldn't put it down. The reader experiences everything along with the paraplegic Josef, from the horrific medical procedures to uncovering terrifying truths. This science fiction thriller is intensely dramatic, dark, and chilling. With an unpredictable twist that I didn't see coming, this story did not disappoint.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars grim ultra-dark Kafka like thriller 10 April 2012
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Detective Josef Horkai was the best at dealing with lethal situations that other cops would fear involvement; his greatness was handling the worst, but executing with minimal collateral damage. However that was who he was before the -Kollaps.

Horkai awakens from a coma but suffers from amnesia although he recalls the Kollaps. He becomes aware that he is dying while people nearby assume he remains in a frozen animated state. His legs no longer work and his arms are as useless while he lost his teeth, hair and time nor any idea what is killing him or why he was kept on ice.

A stranger insists he is Horkai's friend and demands full thawing as he needs the former cop's investigative skills. His assignment is to retrieve a stolen cylinder before a catastrophic matching that of the Kollaps occurs. He distrusts his self-proclaimed buddy and the information is nebulous. While his body is a complete failure, if he decides he wants to live albeit frozen, he must accomplish the mission immediately as time has run out on Horkai even before he thawed.

This grim ultra-dark Kafka like thriller hooks the reader from the start as Horkai slowly awakens to his condition and the horror of what has passed while he was sleeping. The severe landscape establishes a hopeless backdrop as Horkai struggles to adapt to this horrific new world being an inexperienced paraplegic whose memories are fleeting at best. Fans will fully appreciate his descent into total darkness while pondering whether the protagonist suffers from an unending nightmare or is this really happening to him; to Horkai it does not matter whether it is a bad dream or not, as this is his realism.

Harriet Klausner
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars and that he would be unrecognizable to the other tribe and so perfect to get in and out without suspicion 11 Sep 2014
By Mark P. Sadler - Published on Amazon.com
In a climactic, post-apocalyptic tale the man finds himself awoken, from what he is told is thirty years on ice. Two main factions have developed in the new world and one has stolen valuable seeds from the other. He has been pulled back from his forever sleep as only he possesses the skill set to bring back the stolen product. He is told he was a fixer of sorts, a detective, in his prior life, one that he has almost total amnesia from, and that he would be unrecognizable to the other tribe and so perfect to get in and out without suspicion. That he is a paraplegic does pose somewhat of a insurmountable problem until two mules are provided, strapping young humanoids bred for this purpose, to get him there and back.
The odds of survival in the harsh region is impossible, except for the fact that he appears immune. His mules die off, he makes it back but comes to the realization that the seed he recovered was probably being stolen for the first time. His mission is compromised in his mind. Ass his body heals and he is able to walk once again he surmises the leaders were lying to him, but why? Will he deliver the package and survive? Evenson is a fresh voice in the end-of-the-world sortee on science fiction and a voice to be followed.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Evenson gets more accessible without losing any of his stark, astonishing talent 9 May 2014
By Josh Mauthe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There's no author quite like Brian Evenson, whose books often feel as though Cormac McCarthy was writing Edgar Allan Poe stories of madness and horror. His prose is razor sharp and complex, but never difficult; while his storytelling is often done through implication or ellipsis, his mood and atmosphere are second to none, creating a dark, apocalyptic feel to even the simplest tale. And whether exploring the madness that often comes from religious focus (a frequent theme) or the poetry of violence and cruelty, Evenson does it while telling compelling, original stories that feel like no one else's work. Immobility may be Evenson's most accessible (and, it must be said, least unique) work, in terms of storytelling; it's the story of an amnesiac thawed out in a post-apocalyptic society and asked to retrieve an object, and what follows is a strange, unsettling blend of noir tale, Cormac McCarthy's The Road, and philosophical musings on humanity and our role on the planet. But while the story is simple to follow (at least, in terms of the plot), the book is not so easily categorized. As always, Evenson's prose is astonishing, immersing you in this broken, off-kilter world where questions are never answered as simply as you'd like, people are driven by their own agendas, and nature itself seems to have turned against us. It makes for an odd blend of science-fiction, post-apocalyptic horror, and postmodern fiction, but it's to Evenson's credit that it all works as well as it does, spinning a riveting tale that we quickly become invested in all the way to the inevitable yet surprising ending. Immobility may not pack the visceral impact of some of Evenson's short stories or the jaw-dropping Last Days, but it does show that he can do something more traditional and mainstream while losing none of the voice, mood, and atmosphere that makes him one of the most gifted writers working today. And even if Immobility feels a little more familiar and less bracingly original than Evenson's other work, there's no denying the talent that's on display in every cutting sentence, every chilling description, and every rich exploration of ideas from religious zealotry to what it means to preserve human life.
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