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These Lifeless Things

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Eva is a survivor. She's not sure what she survived, exactly, only that They invaded without warning, killed nearly all of humanity, and relentlessly attack everyone who's left. All she can do to stay sane, in the blockaded city that's no longer home, is keep a journal about her struggle. Fifty years later, Eva's words are found by Emerson, a young anthropologist sent to th Eva is a survivor. She's not sure what she survived, exactly, only that They invaded without warning, killed nearly all of humanity, and relentlessly attack everyone who's left. All she can do to stay sane, in the blockaded city that's no longer home, is keep a journal about her struggle. Fifty years later, Eva's words are found by Emerson, a young anthropologist sent to the ruins to study what happened. The discovery could shed light on the Invasion, turning the unyielding mystery of the short war into a story of hope and defiance.


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Eva is a survivor. She's not sure what she survived, exactly, only that They invaded without warning, killed nearly all of humanity, and relentlessly attack everyone who's left. All she can do to stay sane, in the blockaded city that's no longer home, is keep a journal about her struggle. Fifty years later, Eva's words are found by Emerson, a young anthropologist sent to th Eva is a survivor. She's not sure what she survived, exactly, only that They invaded without warning, killed nearly all of humanity, and relentlessly attack everyone who's left. All she can do to stay sane, in the blockaded city that's no longer home, is keep a journal about her struggle. Fifty years later, Eva's words are found by Emerson, a young anthropologist sent to the ruins to study what happened. The discovery could shed light on the Invasion, turning the unyielding mystery of the short war into a story of hope and defiance.

30 review for These Lifeless Things

  1. 4 out of 5

    K.J. Charles

    Extraordinary novella about life after the apocalyptic invasion of Lovecraftian *things*. Told by the journal of a woman living in a Russian town in the aftermath, struggling to survive and to grapple mentally with the situation, and also the scientist many years later studying events, when what's happened is mostly over. It's a weird, disturbing story where much is left unclear or unresolved and things happen in the gaps between sentences, and we come up against the impossibility of knowing, the Extraordinary novella about life after the apocalyptic invasion of Lovecraftian *things*. Told by the journal of a woman living in a Russian town in the aftermath, struggling to survive and to grapple mentally with the situation, and also the scientist many years later studying events, when what's happened is mostly over. It's a weird, disturbing story where much is left unclear or unresolved and things happen in the gaps between sentences, and we come up against the impossibility of knowing, the evanescence of existence, and the way humans just don't want to confront stuff. Terrific, terrifying.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    Here are the bad guys. Are you paying attention? Hunger. Thirst. Illness. Injury. Rain. Snow. Dust. Sickness. Loneliness. Despair. Mistrust. Agents. Looters. Rats. The statues of the conquerors. The trees which seek to seize and skin you. The small monsters which seek to harry and eat you. The Them, who have come from far away, and a different time, to drag you into the darkness. But Them you already know. A very intriguing novella from Premee Mohamed - one which builds on a Lovecraftish foundation thro Here are the bad guys. Are you paying attention? Hunger. Thirst. Illness. Injury. Rain. Snow. Dust. Sickness. Loneliness. Despair. Mistrust. Agents. Looters. Rats. The statues of the conquerors. The trees which seek to seize and skin you. The small monsters which seek to harry and eat you. The Them, who have come from far away, and a different time, to drag you into the darkness. But Them you already know. A very intriguing novella from Premee Mohamed - one which builds on a Lovecraftish foundation through alternating accounts of an anthropologist and a woman surviving the invasion of Them, some hundred years apart. There's such interesting hints of the world 100 years from invasion, and I'm hoping at some time the author revisits it - which is not to say I wasn't satisfied by the story, I'm just greedy. Most of the focus is on our historical diarist, whose entries hint at some truly monstrous moments, but also give us glimpses of what people can be capable of when only their best will keep them alive. It's so short that to get into it properly would spoil it, but suffice to say - I very much enjoyed it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Wayne Santos

    A dark, thoughtful, almost Lovecraftian literary science fiction novella about life at the end of the world. Told from two points of view, a historian researching ruins after an apocalyptic event, and Eva, a woman who lived those times and committed her time in that period to a journal. This is a thoughtful, stately, and yet at the same time emotional and deeply creepy story about life in a world destroyed by invaders you can barely comprehend. It's a mix of the harsh realities of survival in tha A dark, thoughtful, almost Lovecraftian literary science fiction novella about life at the end of the world. Told from two points of view, a historian researching ruins after an apocalyptic event, and Eva, a woman who lived those times and committed her time in that period to a journal. This is a thoughtful, stately, and yet at the same time emotional and deeply creepy story about life in a world destroyed by invaders you can barely comprehend. It's a mix of the harsh realities of survival in that period, the rich inner life of a woman that refuses to stop thinking and feeling even in as it hurts her, and the confusion of struggling against an enemy that doesn't even obey Newtonian physics. Despite its short length, this is a dense, rich story, and Mohamed manages to cram in an impressive amount of lyricism and human insight into a survival story about the apocalypse.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Runalong

    An absolute triumph of a story exploring how people survive cataclysmic events which after 2020 makes this thoughtful tale of humanity and not simply an alien invasion. Magnificent Full review - https://www.runalongtheshelves.net/bl... An absolute triumph of a story exploring how people survive cataclysmic events which after 2020 makes this thoughtful tale of humanity and not simply an alien invasion. Magnificent Full review - https://www.runalongtheshelves.net/bl...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Lovecraftian colonizer monsters. I was biting my nails through 90% of it, and need to re-read it at some point (I miss things when I'm anxious, and there's a lot of subtle nuances). I've been reading a lot about colonialism lately, and here are some of the passages that really made me think of that frame: No one's got any proof that these... these new things, these statues that began springing up, ever did anything except remind the conquered peoples that they had indeed been conquered, just as ha Lovecraftian colonizer monsters. I was biting my nails through 90% of it, and need to re-read it at some point (I miss things when I'm anxious, and there's a lot of subtle nuances). I've been reading a lot about colonialism lately, and here are some of the passages that really made me think of that frame: No one's got any proof that these... these new things, these statues that began springing up, ever did anything except remind the conquered peoples that they had indeed been conquered, just as had been happening throughout history (This one reminds me of the part in Ecofeminism that talks about the difference between an intentionally rootless global elite and refugees forcibly dispossessed from their roots.)They are not from here, in any sense, any, that a human mind would understand as 'here.' Nowhere is 'here' for Them. Or everywhere is here. This idea Eva had, that They were gods or something, I can't get behind that, but I can't shake it either. They had the trappings of gods, maybe They had fooled other worlds. But no hint of real divinity, except for power. Appeasement, of course -- the policy with which I've lived most of my short and academically-focused life -- never worked... The truth was it never did, but that didn't stop places from trying it. The enemy is not each other and the enemy is not love. It's not wanting to be loved, either.... That's the ally. The only one we've got. It will not help us win the day. Nothing will. But it will fight at our side. It will not save us. It will only save our humanity.

  6. 4 out of 5

    S. Naomi Scott

    This is a fantastic read, with some really nice ideas, and some very subtle twists. Definitely give this one a read if you like your stories to have some thought behind them. Full review to follow shortly.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Shabbeer Hassan

    A dystopian tale with simmerings of eldritch horror in the background. There are times when a lot can be said by not explicitly stating them, as nameless horrors are much imagined than the ones seen in the flesh. My rating - 4.5/5

  8. 4 out of 5

    Goran

    Pretty interesting little (post-)apocalyptic slice-of-life.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Michael Dodd

    The first title released as part of Solaris Satellites – Rebellion Publishing’s new direct-to-reader range of novellas – Premee Mohamed’s These Lifeless Things is a strange, unsettling, ambiguous tale of the costs of survival and the difficulty of piecing history back together. One of a handful of survivors from when They invaded, Eva ekes out a rough living in the city, avoiding the terrifying sentinels and all the other new dangers, and keeping a journal of her days. Decades later, young Emers The first title released as part of Solaris Satellites – Rebellion Publishing’s new direct-to-reader range of novellas – Premee Mohamed’s These Lifeless Things is a strange, unsettling, ambiguous tale of the costs of survival and the difficulty of piecing history back together. One of a handful of survivors from when They invaded, Eva ekes out a rough living in the city, avoiding the terrifying sentinels and all the other new dangers, and keeping a journal of her days. Decades later, young Emerson finds Eva’s journal on a research trip to the city, recognising it as a rare opportunity to gain an insight into what actually happened in the years following the invasion. It’s hard to know quite what to make of a story like this, with all the questions that it leaves unanswered and the sense it gives of a wider, more expansive world just waiting to be explored further. Readers who like stories to be neatly wrapped up by their conclusions may well find it frustrating, but there’s no question that it’s compelling from start to finish, beautifully written and quietly powerful. As a vision of the cold, chilling unknown it’s extremely effective and often deeply emotional, examining questions of survival and the awful prioritisation that requires, love, loss, the preservation of history and even the competitive realities of competitive science, all under the lurking shadow of the faceless, nameless, abstract yet deeply disturbing Them. It’s certainly a story that will last long in the memory, unsettling but thought-provoking. Read the full review at https://www.trackofwords.com/2021/02/...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Frances

    I loved this one. It's a beautifully understated pair of stories about people dealing with the presence and the aftermath of incomprehensible cosmic horrors. I mean, very tangible cosmic horrors, certainly present, but incomprehensible. The descriptions of the Setback time are beautiful, and the tired focus of Emerson's 'current' narrative is extremely relateable. The ending of both stories... I feel like there's technically room for hope, but what I really took away is an overwhelming sense of m I loved this one. It's a beautifully understated pair of stories about people dealing with the presence and the aftermath of incomprehensible cosmic horrors. I mean, very tangible cosmic horrors, certainly present, but incomprehensible. The descriptions of the Setback time are beautiful, and the tired focus of Emerson's 'current' narrative is extremely relateable. The ending of both stories... I feel like there's technically room for hope, but what I really took away is an overwhelming sense of more work coming, and uncertain outcomes. The griefs that happen in that context are bright, but they are so small. I was initially taken aback by Emerson's framing of things--I kept thinking of it as too safe and recovered--but as the work progressed, I started to see her context differently. Not as one of recovery, but as a held breath; a long moment with no expectation that things were actually better. Like living in the fourth-last paragraph of Bob Leman's "The Window" with no fixed timeline.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Merit

    The novella has two timelines - the journal of a woman named Eve, in the aftermath of a Lovecraftian apocalyptic event that lingers in strange unreality, and Emerson, the anthropologist studying the events some fifty years later as the world is beginning to recover. A strange, disturbing story, where memories and events are unreliable, and little information is even known about the invasion that broke the world. Fantastic cosmic horror, with deep layered psychological dread that builds as the st The novella has two timelines - the journal of a woman named Eve, in the aftermath of a Lovecraftian apocalyptic event that lingers in strange unreality, and Emerson, the anthropologist studying the events some fifty years later as the world is beginning to recover. A strange, disturbing story, where memories and events are unreliable, and little information is even known about the invasion that broke the world. Fantastic cosmic horror, with deep layered psychological dread that builds as the story reaches a crescendo in both timelines.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Eileen Lee

    Loved this book so much. It had so many elements I like in a book: a close, introspective voice that offers some beautiful philosophical insights, strained and uneven relationships, the constant threat of annihilation from incomprehensible forces despite which people struggle to continue meaningful human lives. The found journal structure creates a lot of tension. It's a short book, but I inhaled it as fast as I could. This little cosmic horror novella should not be missed. Loved this book so much. It had so many elements I like in a book: a close, introspective voice that offers some beautiful philosophical insights, strained and uneven relationships, the constant threat of annihilation from incomprehensible forces despite which people struggle to continue meaningful human lives. The found journal structure creates a lot of tension. It's a short book, but I inhaled it as fast as I could. This little cosmic horror novella should not be missed.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Caroline Mersey

    Read for the Glasgow in 2024/Rebellion publishing event on 17 April 2021.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Allyson

    Holy cow! What the heck?!? This was astonishing. A great quick read if you’re looking for something in speculative fiction.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gary Varga

    I really enjoyed reading this novella. It has an interesting premise and uses the writing technique of twin protagonists at different points in time. Not a spoiler but the following describes how the book achieves this: part of the book depicts a researcher on an archaeological/scientific interest site with a 50 year old diary documenting what was occuring at that very same site. The characters are deep, flawed, and ordinary. That is what makes this story real. Not one single character is a hero o I really enjoyed reading this novella. It has an interesting premise and uses the writing technique of twin protagonists at different points in time. Not a spoiler but the following describes how the book achieves this: part of the book depicts a researcher on an archaeological/scientific interest site with a 50 year old diary documenting what was occuring at that very same site. The characters are deep, flawed, and ordinary. That is what makes this story real. Not one single character is a hero or villain in disguise. That isn't to say that the book avoids heroic or evil moments, just that this is a sci-fi Armageddon story with both feet firmly planted in the ordinary. And that is what makes it such a wonderful read. Don't expect answers to all your questions. I always find this frustrating. Unfairly (to the author) so.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jim N

    This novella starts with a great premise: in the story's past, Lovecraftian entities invaded the Earth. In its present, a researcher finds a journal written by a survivor of that invasion who was part of a group struggling to survive in an entity-occupied city. The story switches back and forth between journal entries and the first person narrative of the researcher Initially, I found the story gripping but it quickly becomes repetitive and drags in the middle (despite it's short length). It neve This novella starts with a great premise: in the story's past, Lovecraftian entities invaded the Earth. In its present, a researcher finds a journal written by a survivor of that invasion who was part of a group struggling to survive in an entity-occupied city. The story switches back and forth between journal entries and the first person narrative of the researcher Initially, I found the story gripping but it quickly becomes repetitive and drags in the middle (despite it's short length). It never reaches a satisfying conclusion. I'm not a reader who needs every monster described or every story wrapped up in a neat, tidy bow but These Lifeless Things was too vague and ambiguous for it's own good. In the end, rather invoking the terror of the indescribable, it was just dull. I've boosted it a star because despite my disappointment, I thought the writing was good.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    This is a fascinating story told from two points of view...a researcher in the time after a devastating alien invasion that nearly wiped out humanity (it has since recovered, mostly), and a woman in the thick of the invasion itself (told through found journal entries that the researcher is studying). It didn't have quite the twists I was expecting but a lot is left ambiguous and unanswered in the bridge between the two timeframes. This is a fascinating story told from two points of view...a researcher in the time after a devastating alien invasion that nearly wiped out humanity (it has since recovered, mostly), and a woman in the thick of the invasion itself (told through found journal entries that the researcher is studying). It didn't have quite the twists I was expecting but a lot is left ambiguous and unanswered in the bridge between the two timeframes.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Theaker

    Part of the Solaris Satellites series. There was a worldwide disaster fifty years ago and no one is quite sure what happened, even those who lived through it. Then a student discovers a hidden poetry book in which a woman kept a journal. A good story which really overdoes it with the italics.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Galen Strickland

    I'd be re-reading this right away if I didn't have so many other books waiting. I also think my rating might increase, but for now I'm a bit confused, wondering if one or both of the narrators are unreliable. I'd be re-reading this right away if I didn't have so many other books waiting. I also think my rating might increase, but for now I'm a bit confused, wondering if one or both of the narrators are unreliable.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Simon

    Recent Reads: These Lifeless Things. Premee Mohamed's novella takes us to a world rebuilding after a mysterious invasion. A historian finds documents that tell of creatures from out of time and space and a struggle for survival in the ruins. A moving reclamation of Lovecraft. Recent Reads: These Lifeless Things. Premee Mohamed's novella takes us to a world rebuilding after a mysterious invasion. A historian finds documents that tell of creatures from out of time and space and a struggle for survival in the ruins. A moving reclamation of Lovecraft.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ken

    Liked this one a lot. Haven’t read cosmic horror in a while and I loved the unique framing. Looking forward to reading Mohamed’s other work.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Andre Boone

    Creepy and full of suspense. "These Lifeless Things" leaves the reader feeling unsettled (in a good way!). Creepy and full of suspense. "These Lifeless Things" leaves the reader feeling unsettled (in a good way!).

  23. 4 out of 5

    Luke

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tyler

  25. 4 out of 5

    Derek

  26. 4 out of 5

    imyril

  27. 5 out of 5

    Christine Blake

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nay

  29. 5 out of 5

    Olav

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Crilly

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