cover image The Warren

The Warren

Brian Evenson., $2.99 e-book (74p) ISBN 978-0-7653-9314-2

Evenson’s almost surreal novella puts identity front and center in a dead world, seeking to define what is human as the main character grapples with having multiple and sometimes overlapping personalities. He assumes his name starts with X, is certain that he is human, and knows that he is a person—despite questions about what a “person” is from the monitor, the machine that holds knowledge inside the underground warren that serves as X’s shelter from the unnamed, poisonous world above. Having no more bio-material to fashion others like himself, X sets in motion a chain of events that will throw into chaos everything he thought he knew of the world and himself, and perhaps end the last humans—by any definition—forever. The fanged philosophy stays sharp as Evenson makes numerous intriguing points, but it goes in circles more often than not. At the core of the story is the gripping idea of life’s slow potential extinction. The story doesn’t seem to go anywhere, but hopefully that’s the point. Otherwise, the story feels incredibly unfinished. (Sept.)