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Immobility    by Brian Evenson order for
by Brian Evenson
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Immobility by Brian Evenson, award-winning author of Last Days, is a mix of science fiction and horror. It begins - and ends - in a dystopian future after the Kollaps, with its protagonist, Josef Horkai, being awakened from some kind of cold sleep. He has no memory and is paralyzed from the waist down. The man in charge of the underground community, Rasmus, tells him that he has a degenerative disease and thta his survival depends on regular spinal injections. Rasmus sends Josef on a critical mission to retrieve a stolen cylinder, filled with seed.

How you ask can a paraplegic succeed in any kind of mission? Josef is carried by mules Qanik and Qatik in hazard suits, which only prolong their survival outdoors for a short period - this is a suicide mission for both of them. But somehow Josef is immune to the radiation that's killing them. He is also apparently a fixer, a detective of sorts. As they travel together, Josef wonders about all he's been told and what he can trust, if anything. Qanik and Qatik get Josef to their goal, Granite Mountain, where Josef meets another like himself, someone who 'could have been his double.'

Mahonri expects Josef to assist him and his brothers with their work as Keepers. But he carries out his original mission, though his mules are unable to get him all the way back. He's saved by Rykte, who can also survive outdoors. Rykte has yet another perspective on this strange world, is somewhat of a philosopher, and considers humanity 'a curse, a blight.' He allows Josef to make a choice, to allow humankind to continue or not - what will he do?

If you enjoy dark, dystopian SF (which I have to admit I do not) then you'll appreciate Immobility, which has it all, even the requisite nasty twist of an ending.

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