cover image Guantanamo Redux

Guantanamo Redux

Dean Gessie. Anaphora Literary, $15 e-book (68p) ISBN 978-1-68114-299-9

The cryptic, poetic prose of Gessie’s near-future novella requires slow, careful reading. A derelict ship in the Bay of Frisco houses the Center for Domestic Terrorists. Atheists, political dissidents, and privacy advocates are locked up in government prisons, buried as thoroughly as the cask of Amontillado. The L.A. Mercy Killer has just euthanized an old woman in a hospital and is being interrogated by the aptly named Special Agent Orwell. Orwell insists that he was working with the mysterious girl whose face no one can see; she’s wanted in connection with an attack that destroyed Los Angeles. The girl may be real, or she may be just the spark of rebellion in a society steeped in demagoguery and authoritarianism. Gessie evokes a nightmare scenario of an Orwellian government under which justice, freedom, and equality are antiquated notions, and you can hear “amendments of the Constitution snapping like tracheal bones.” The nonlinear storytelling is needlessly obtuse, but the message is timely and pertinent. (Apr.)