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Evenson, Brian

Entry updated 20 May 2024. Tagged: Author.

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(1966-    ) US academic and author who began to publish work of genre interest with "Air Fish" (in Air Fish, anth 1993, edited by Jay Oestreicher and Richard Singer), and who gained considerable attention with his first novel, the non-fantastic Father of Lies (1998), about a senior functionary in a secretive religion who engages in child abuse. After the publication of this tale of horror, his long-term difficulties with the Church of the Latter Day Saints climaxed in his resignation from that faith in 2000. Most of his subsequent work is horror, or Horror in SF, though much of it is deeply and transgressively Equipoisal; collections of interest include Altmann's Tongue: Stories and a Novella (coll 1994), Contagion and Other Stories (coll 2000), Fugue State: Stories (coll 2009), Windeye (coll 2012), A Collapse of Horses (coll 2016), Song for the Unraveling of the World: Stories (coll 2019) and The Glassy, Burning Floor of Hell (coll 2021), the last two titles almost exclusively focused on recent work. A noir tale like The Brotherhood of Mutilation (2003 chap; exp as coll of linked stories/fixup Last Days 2009), takes its deadpan equation of Religion with a gang of self-mutilating criminals far beyond anything resembling the mimetic, hinting before it closes that the maimed detective at its heart is the Messiah and that the End of the World is therefore nigh; its thematic side-rider Baby Leg (2009) places a similarly mutilated protagonist in a medical establishment where he is experimented upon by a Mad Scientist. Both these tales end in Slingshot Endings that hint strongly that the Torture never stops: for everything repeats in Hell: damage is forever.

Three more recent Ties are of direct sf interest. The protagonist of Aliens: No Exit (2008) as B K Evenson, which is tied to the Aliens universe (see Alien), awakens from Cryogenic slumber into a Near Future world where the menacing Aliens have been co-opted by private enterprise. In his ties to the Videogame Dead Space (2008), the long and ambitious Dead Space: Martyr (2010) as B K Evenson is prequel set hundreds of years before the main action of the game in the twenty-sixth century CE, and offers some sf explanations for the incursion of Aliens who spread their empire by transforming the living into "Necromorphs", describing as well the beginnings of the loathsome Church of Unitology; Dead Space: Catalyst (2012), set within the main story-arc of the series, only loosely attends to its central plot.

The manipulated Mutant protagonist of Immobility (2012), Evenson's only untied sf novel, is periodically awoken in a state of Amnesia out of Suspended Animation to exercise his augmented powers in the performance of arcane missions through a landscape that evokes the theatre of Samuel Beckett. Between each excursion, he suffers a memory wipe (see Memory Edit), so as to be clean for the next appalling task; the Slingshot Ending clearly thrusts the protagonist, once again, into a nightmare of vastation (see again Horror in SF); this is also the fate of the protagonist of The Warren (2016) who, from the constraints of his Underground Keep, must wrestle with the layers of Identity that may be pasted over vacancy. [JC]

Brian Keith Evenson

born Ames, Iowa: 12 August 1966



Dead Space

individual titles

  • Father of Lies (New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 1998) [hb/Julie Metz]
  • Dark Property: An Affliction (New York: Hammer Books/Black Square Editions, 2002) [pb/Lisa Stefanelli]
  • The Open Curtain (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Coffee House Press, 2006) [pb/Linda S Koutsky]
  • Aliens: No Exit (Milwaukie, Oregon: Dark Horse Books, 2008) as B K Evenson [tie to the Aliens universe: Alien: pb/Stephen Youll]
  • Immobility (New York: Tor, 2012) [hb/Getty Images]
  • The Lords of Salem (New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2013) with Robert Bartleh Cummings writing as Rob Zombie [tie to the film: The Lords of Salem (2012): Basilisks: pb/]
  • The Deaths of Henry King (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Uncivilized Books, 2016) with Jesse Ball [graph: illus/hb/Lilli Carré]
  • Feral (New York: Anchor Books/Blumhouse Books, 2017) as B K Evenson with James DeMonaco [pb/]
  • Servitude (Brasilia, Brazil: Raphus Press, 2022) [chap: bilingual text in Portuguese and English: hb/]

collections and stories


works as editor

works as translator


previous versions of this entry

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