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The Warren

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  556 ratings  ·  101 reviews
X doesn’t have a name. He thought he had one—or many—but that might be the result of the failing memories of the personalities imprinted within him. Or maybe he really is called X.

He’s also not as human as he believes himself to be.

But when he discovers the existence of another—above ground, outside the protection of the Warren—X must learn what it means to be human, or fa
Paperback, 95 pages
Published September 20th 2016 by
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Jul 08, 2016 rated it liked it
this quote from the book pretty much sums up my reading experience:

At times, I become confused about the order in which things should be told. Parts of me know things that other parts do not, and sometimes I both know a thing and do not know it, or part of me knows something is true and another part knows it is not true, and there is nothing to allow me to negotiate between the two.

i started off digging the premise and the intriguing vagueness of the opening, but i found myself floundering prett
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.

The Warren is a short, suspenseful novella which delivers heaping doses of loneliness, mystery, and utter alienation. Brian Evenson skillfully turning confusion, weirdness, and schizophrenic leanings into an existential horror, where desperately seeking answers and not finding them is all part of the delicious fun.

Simply put, this is a tale starring X — though X isn’t even sure if that is really his name. He has many memories from other people imprinted within
Brian Evenson has a knack for mood setting in his stories, and he delivers atmosphere for days in this existential psychological sci-fi portrait. It's a fascinating little mind-fuck that I'm not sure I fully understand but it definitely kept my interest. It defies description a bit but think of it in the same vein as the movies Solaris or Moon. However, you know how it can get super annoying when someone keeps answering your serious questions with other questions? That's also what this book felt ...more
Oct 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Haunting and brilliant dystopian story telling with the kind of ending that makes you want to make everyone you know read it so you can all shout WTF? together.
Benoit Lelièvre
Aug 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Well, this was terrifying in all sorts of unusual ways. A little short, maybe but heavy on the existential terror and alienation. This was my first Brian Evenson and I can't shake the feeling I've started with the wrong book, but I liked the hell out of it. The disembodied narration, the disorientation and loneliness of it were delightful if like me you're into this sort of thing. I haven't read or seen The Martian yet, but I suspect being left alone on a planet is a lot more like Brian Evenson ...more
T.E. Grau
Dec 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love the work of Brian Evenson, as it's truly unlike any other, composed of a quality and class that makes me proud to read and write horror. I think he's an important author who can and has been acting as a bridge between speculative fiction and that deemed more "literary," which has benefitted both camps that are crossing over into rival territory more and more each day, softening the dividing lines. Evenson gets respect outside of the horror scene, and rightfully so, receiving reviews from ...more
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ponderous. This reads sort’ve like an Asimov story, hearkening back to one of my favorite shorts of all-time, The Last Question, but, ya know, this is much WEIRDER. This novella poses serious questions with no easy answers, and for its brevity, it isn’t a light read. There’s a lot of thought gone into these pages, and a lot of reflection shining back off them. The Warren is an exploration of self in the abstract sense, science-fiction on the edge of a fever dream. I liked this book quite a bit.
Jul 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Left me wanting answers in the most deliciously frustrating way.

Another barren wasteland. Another amazing novel that probes deep into what it means to be human and whether what you think you are, and what you truly are, really makes that much difference in the long run.


If I'm right, I'm about to spoil a whole bunch of shit for you.

Ok, you've been warned!

Soooo many parallels to Immobility here. In that novel, the human protag Horkai had been awakened from storage to go on a
Michael Hicks
Sep 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Although The Warren is short – less than a hundred pages and compelling enough to read in a single sitting – I needed some time to digest its content and figure out what I wanted to say about it. Ultimately, I think the less said about it the better. (And I do mean this in all seriousness, and in the best way possible.)

I went into this book blind, knowing very little about it other than it had a snazzy cover and was another release in Tor’s strong line of novellas. I think this is about all you
Richard Thomas
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow, so good. Disorienting, alarming, and intense.
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5, or thereabouts. A little esoteric. A bit bewildering. But happy I read it.
Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it

The nitty-gritty: A strange and thought-provoking story about loneliness and what it means to be human.

For me, memory is not only at times flawed and corrupted but also overlapped and confused, one personality hiding parts of another, blending too, so that the selves within my head sometimes seem many-headed and monstrous or deformed and impossible to comprehend.

It’s been a while since I read a novella, but every time I read one, I’m reminded of how much I love these small bites of s

Aug 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Supremely strange and surprisingly short (which makes the conceit easier to swallow), this diminutive tale is clearly designed to delight the reader who enjoys confusion, making you work for the answers (as very few are given). It's ultimately an unknowable tale, and that's half the fun; the other half is Evenson's skill at evoking existential horror through shifting perspectives, words unsaid and tales untold, and a fairly stark approach to narrative minimalism. The dedication to Gene Wolfe is ...more
Kyle Muntz
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
It makes sense that this is dedicated to Gene Wolfe, who I know is an influence of Evenson's going way back. It's sort of like a more phenomenological companion piece to Immobolity, with characters stranded in an unknowable, toxic wasteland full of barely functional technology, but this time rooted in the problem of multiple consciousnesses existing in one body. It's a familiar mode of storytelling for Evenson: to put his characters (who generally don't know who they are or where they came from) ...more
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like a future Sartre would never have wanted to experience, this is identity confusion as sci-fi horror. A quick read full of disturbing moments of being trapped, both physically and mentally, there are images that will prowl your nightmares like Freddy Krueger on intergalactic steroids. Get ready, because you probably won't stop reading once you start.

I especially enjoyed sections II and XIII.
Oct 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This should be an instant classic. I will be thinking about it for a long time to come.
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
I've been meaning to check out Evenson for a while and this novella seems like a perfect introduction, though not very auspicious as far as introductions go. It's a scifi story that deals with the nature of being (what makes a person a person, what is the definition of person and so on) and it is an intriguing concept, but the execution left me utterly indifferent. It wasn't the writing per se, not sure why exactly, it just didn't engage. Subjects like ontology and metaphysics should opt ...more
Aug 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, own, ebook
Tudor Ciocarlie
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love when a book goes to the extreme with the unreliable narrator.
A. Blumer
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoy when horror books aren't overly descriptive. It gives me a strong sense of mystery and when unexpected details are revealed, it's all the more jarring. Brian Evenson did a wonderful job here with setting an eerie and unpredictable essence by just not saying much at all.

Another part of this--the main part, I should say, revolved around the person called X. Written in first person, Evenson pulls you through the thoughts of someone who is piecing together their own existence without
Nov 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Μια μικρή ιστορία, ας πούμε εκτενές διήγημα, ή νουβέλα για τους Αμερικάνους, από τον Έβενσον. Η αινιγματική του γραφή, σκοτεινή, αλλά με τους ήρωες εν μέσω ζόφου να δρουν καμιά φορά αδέξια, έχει χιούμορ, έχει χαρακτήρα και, τέλος πάντων, της έχω πλέξει τα εγκώμια στα παρελθόν σχετικά με άλλα του βιβλία. Μια παρατήρηση έχω να κάνω: η αφιέρωση του βιβλίου στον Τζιν Γουλφ δρα ποικιλλοτρόπως - αφενός τον αγαπάω ακόμα περισσότερο, αφετέρου ρίχνει λίγο φως στους σκοτεινούς διαδρόμους που πορεύεται ο Έ ...more
G. Brown
Dec 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Warren is another good example of Evenson's ability to play with our minds. If you enjoyed Immobility, then this piece is an absolute must-read: a companion piece of sorts that will have you asking a lot of questions about Immobility after you read it. Because these two stories are ostensibly happening in the same world, and they have so much in common but such opposite resolutions. There's a lot here about identity and perception of reality in such a short space. Almost to the point where I ...more
Tamara Romero
Sep 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not sure of what to say about "The Warren" other than it’s going to be boiling in my head for a few days. It’s a challenging story, the protagonist is the final product of several minds poured into his –artificial- body. Sometimes he’s “me” and the next page he’s “us”, and then he suffers a memory loss that leaves the reader collecting some information that the guy –named X- no longer has. I prefer not to volunteer too many details on the plot. I have my own theory about the ending but I won’t e ...more
Autumn Christian
An excellent, bizarre little book. Sparse prose, no word is wasted. Sparse, alien landscape. Like reading a book that makes the walls tighten in on you until you can't breathe.
Nov 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
A brilliant and incredibly grim tale. I'm relatively new to Evenson's work, but after reading this I'll be chasing up more. A real mind fuck.
David Agranoff
We did an interview with Evenson about the Warren on our podcast Dickheads:

This book will always be special to me and the San Diego horror community since this short 92 page novella was sold ten days before its official release from TOR books at Horrible Imaginings Film fest. 2016 was the first time HIFF included literature programming and when Anthony Trevino and I approached our first key note literature speaker Brian Evenson was the author we wanted. No
Feb 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, science-fiction
Quite the strange book. I enjoyed the fact that I was never quite sure what was going to happen next or how the story would end.

The first person that popped into my head as X was Michael Fassbender.

I will certainly try more by this author.
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: galley
2.5 out of 5 stars -- see this review and others here.

Summary: A mysterious being named 'X' grapples with his own existence and the questions behind what it means to be human.

My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

Review: I had heard that this one was weird, frustrating, and confounding. It certainly checked all three boxes.

The most intriguing and also most beguiling part of this novella is something not mentioned in any plot synopsi
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, novel
Cerebral and freaky and distressing and quick and great. I'm always glad to read Evenson.
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Literary Horror: The Warren by Brian Evenson 14 38 Oct 30, 2016 07:17PM  
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“But I opened up each pale eye within me and inquired until I found enough to tell me to rummage some more, and then I tried to close all the eyes again at once, to seal each back—for their own good, for their safety. Each was already crisscrossed with darkness and scars and damage, and awakening them seemed only to damage them worse, so better to keep them asleep.” 3 likes
“At times, I become confused about the order in which things should be told. Parts of me know things that other parts do not, and sometimes I both know a thing and do not know it, or part of me knows something is true and another part knows it is not true, and there is nothing to allow me to negotiate between the two.” 0 likes
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