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These Lifeless Things

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  76 ratings  ·  25 reviews
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
Kindle Edition, 113 pages
Published February 11th 2021 by Rebellion Publishing (first published February 5th 2021)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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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
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
Wayne Santos
Feb 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
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 -
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
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.
May 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Haunting. That's the best word I can think of to describe this.

I loved it.
Shabbeer Hassan
Apr 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 29, 2021 rated it liked it
Pretty interesting little (post-)apocalyptic slice-of-life.
Michael Dodd
Feb 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
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
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 ...more
Eileen Lee
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Caroline Mersey
Read for the Glasgow in 2024/Rebellion publishing event on 17 April 2021.
Apr 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Holy cow! What the heck?!? This was astonishing. A great quick read if you’re looking for something in speculative fiction.
May 24, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: standalone
There is nothing wrong with this novella, there was nothing I think was done poorly or that annoyed me. The reason for my rating (according to Goodreads' rating system 3 is 'I liked it') is that it wasn't particularly engaging either. The story was serviceable, there was some mystery and some trills, but it did not make me feel anything other than a mild interest.

I think the author had a good idea, and then tried to build a plot around it, but didn't quite know how to do so. Still, the basic pre
Gary Varga
Feb 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
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
Jim N
Apr 15, 2021 rated it liked it
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
Emma Leadley
Jun 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is a hard review to write. Not because of spoilers but because I read the novella and then sat back saying, “yes, well, ummm…” over and over to myself. This is an extraordinarily brave and confident piece of writing.

The story has post-war echoes, as well as those of the Cold War and post-disaster, such as Chernobyl. A whole world is built with very little actually explained and it worked for me as a reader. As the story unfolds, we learn just enough about the world and it’s cleverly control
Apr 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
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.
Galen Strickland
Feb 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Feb 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Mar 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
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.
Andre Boone
Apr 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Creepy and full of suspense. "These Lifeless Things" leaves the reader feeling unsettled (in a good way!). ...more
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Apr 05, 2021
Christine Blake
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Apr 04, 2021
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