Title: Subject 11 Author: Jeffery Thomas Date published: 2014 Category: weird fiction, horror
What if the Jersey Shore/reality tv met the Stanford prison experiment and had a deformed mutant baby? The result would be Subject 11. Ten subjects are recruited for a mysterious test in which they have to live in an abandoned building. An abandoned building with locked doors and no way out. The requirements are few but rather taxing: take a handful of unidentified pills every day, do not reveal your actual name, refer to yourself and others by the assigned numbers you are given. Once a day visit the confessional booth and talk about something, anything. Do that for a week and get $5000. Easy enough, right? Well, it’s not quite so easy. Something weird, weirder than these strange requirements, starts to unfold. The walls in the confession room are covered in some sort of strange graffiti. The subjects’ realities start to shift and merge in an unsettling way.
This story was unsettling. I’m still not sure if I liked it. The story evokes feelings of dread, strangeness, and uncomfortableness. It’s a quick little novella that only took a few hours to read. I read it in one sitting on one sleepless night. It is definitely worth reading. Thematically, this is a weird and nihilistic tale that exposes the weakness of the human race and society. It goes into the transient nature of our perceived reality and how easily what we see can be manipulated, a flaw that can easily be exploited by other people and an alien force. The ending wraps things up full circle while leaving more questions unanswered than explained. I recommend this book!