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Armageddon House

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Utopia. Four people living together deep underground in a subterranean facility. All their needs provided for. Food, water, medicine. A swimming pool; a gym; a bar. Except none of them can recall exactly how they came to be there, or what they are supposed to do. Dystopia. Where are the others? There must have been others. It's a huge facility, after all. It must be some s Utopia. Four people living together deep underground in a subterranean facility. All their needs provided for. Food, water, medicine. A swimming pool; a gym; a bar. Except none of them can recall exactly how they came to be there, or what they are supposed to do. Dystopia. Where are the others? There must have been others. It's a huge facility, after all. It must be some sort of experiment. They're test subjects. How long have they been there? When will they get out? How come there has been no outside contact? Utopia or dystopia. As the questions mount, so does the tension. Who will escape Armageddon House? Michael Griffin's riveting new novella ARMAGEDDON HOUSE grabs you and doesn't let go. It will stay with you long after you've turned the last page. This is a haunted house of a different sort.


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Utopia. Four people living together deep underground in a subterranean facility. All their needs provided for. Food, water, medicine. A swimming pool; a gym; a bar. Except none of them can recall exactly how they came to be there, or what they are supposed to do. Dystopia. Where are the others? There must have been others. It's a huge facility, after all. It must be some s Utopia. Four people living together deep underground in a subterranean facility. All their needs provided for. Food, water, medicine. A swimming pool; a gym; a bar. Except none of them can recall exactly how they came to be there, or what they are supposed to do. Dystopia. Where are the others? There must have been others. It's a huge facility, after all. It must be some sort of experiment. They're test subjects. How long have they been there? When will they get out? How come there has been no outside contact? Utopia or dystopia. As the questions mount, so does the tension. Who will escape Armageddon House? Michael Griffin's riveting new novella ARMAGEDDON HOUSE grabs you and doesn't let go. It will stay with you long after you've turned the last page. This is a haunted house of a different sort.

30 review for Armageddon House

  1. 5 out of 5

    Schizanthus Nerd

    Welcome to a day in the life of Mark, Jenna, Greyson and Polly. Although, perhaps it’s night. It’s kind of hard to tell when you’re entirely cut off from the outside world. Everything they could possibly need is provided for them. There’s more than enough food to last a lifetime and alcohol is plentiful. They can laze around the pool, exercise in the gym or explore countless rooms. It sounds like paradise but is it really a prison? “We all forget things, more and more every day.” Their memorie Welcome to a day in the life of Mark, Jenna, Greyson and Polly. Although, perhaps it’s night. It’s kind of hard to tell when you’re entirely cut off from the outside world. Everything they could possibly need is provided for them. There’s more than enough food to last a lifetime and alcohol is plentiful. They can laze around the pool, exercise in the gym or explore countless rooms. It sounds like paradise but is it really a prison? “We all forget things, more and more every day.” Their memories of before are hazy (there was a before, wasn’t there?) and there’s no one to answer any of their questions about why they’re … wherever they are. They don’t know how long they’ve been [insert your best guess here] or how long this experiment test captivity refuge whatever it is will last. With only a daily routine standing between them and their paranoia-fuelled tension, this utopia (if that indeed is what this is) could be coming to an end. It wasn’t long before the cogs in my head began to whir. I was intrigued by this world that was appearing in my imagination and looked closely for new clues that could help me solve the puzzle. “We should’ve been told.” I have this (probably not normal) fascination with stories that drop characters into strange scenarios that they don’t understand - yet. Cube is one of my all time favourite movies, even though I am convinced I would have died there, as well as in the first room of Escape Room. While I love watching characters piecing together the clues that will increase their probability of survival, I’m even more interested in the psychological fallout. Seeing how different people respond when they’re plonked in the same fishbowl, and wondering how I would react in similar circumstances, is something I can’t get enough of. The characters’ various coping mechanisms and the group dynamics sucked me into this story almost as much as the mystery of What The Hell?! Fear is corrosive. If you’re looking for a nice, neat story, with all of the answers waiting for you on the final page, wrapped up in a pretty bow, this is not the story for you. I suspected going into the bunker (if that’s what it is) that I was unlikely to have all of my questions answered and I was semi prepared for the frustration that comes with the unknown. While my frustration level is higher than I expected, my need to know for sure has diminished greatly. If the author ever provides all of the answers to every question ever, do I want to know? Hell, yes! Did I have fun coming up with my own increasingly outlandish explanations, some of which I’m still pondering? Absolutely! Mostly for my entertainment, but also for yours if you’re interested, I present to you just some of the many question marks that hovered over my head as I read … Is there actually an outside world? Are there other people either inside or outside? Are they underground at all? Are they even on Earth? Are they billionaire preppers who purchased their survival in an apocalypse? Was there an apocalypse? Was it aliens? Are they unknowingly participating in a social experiment that’s being broadcast across the world? Is one of the characters a mole? Do the other three people exist or are they the hallucinations of one person who’s been isolated for too long? Is this AI or virtual reality? If any of them do find a way out, what kind of world will they be walking into? I absolutely love Vince Haig’s cover design. Is that a face I see? Two final thoughts: 1. I doubt I’d ever get the TV to work in this place. 2. The cleaning scene is still messing with my mind. Thank you so much to Undertow Publications for the opportunity to read this novella. Blog - https://schizanthusnerd.com

  2. 5 out of 5

    The Grim Reader

    It’s perhaps ironic the Grim Reader finds himself locked down and at the same time locked inside Michael Griffin’s latest novella, Armageddon House. Quarantine restrictions are being eased but many questions remain unanswered. I have a feeling readers will either love the ambiguity of Armageddon House or despise the fact that there are many more questions than answers by the book’s end. I’ve read Griffin’s other books so I know nothing will be spoon fed to me. Could I stand a Sprawling novel of It’s perhaps ironic the Grim Reader finds himself locked down and at the same time locked inside Michael Griffin’s latest novella, Armageddon House. Quarantine restrictions are being eased but many questions remain unanswered. I have a feeling readers will either love the ambiguity of Armageddon House or despise the fact that there are many more questions than answers by the book’s end. I’ve read Griffin’s other books so I know nothing will be spoon fed to me. Could I stand a Sprawling novel of questions with no answers, locked doors with no keys? Probably not, but a novella, one as intriguing as this, I can do that just fine. If you can imagine American Gods mixed with 10 Cloverfield Lane, you’ll have a rough idea as to where this one is heading. Though, of course, I could be completely wrong. This is critical thinkers weird fiction and my tiny brain is now mush. Still, I really enjoyed Armageddon House. And so... 4/5 trips to the locksmith from the Grim Reader.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    Bloody Brilliant! This book starts off relatively reminiscent of stories depicting dystopian rule and a lot of isolation. Four characters (Mark, Jenna, Polly, and Greyson) are indeed isolated in what is assumed to be an underground bunker or some deep government secret testing facility. Tension between characters are high. There’s a bully, a mentally ill person, a leader, and what could very well be a passive aggressive psychopath. At about the half way mark, the story becomes weird and just gets Bloody Brilliant! This book starts off relatively reminiscent of stories depicting dystopian rule and a lot of isolation. Four characters (Mark, Jenna, Polly, and Greyson) are indeed isolated in what is assumed to be an underground bunker or some deep government secret testing facility. Tension between characters are high. There’s a bully, a mentally ill person, a leader, and what could very well be a passive aggressive psychopath. At about the half way mark, the story becomes weird and just gets weirder and weirder until the whole thing climaxes into one strange and phantasmagorical mess. I mean that in the best possible way. It’s a play on our own reality and constantly questions what it means to be alive as a human being. This is the type of stuff I like to read best. It makes you think, continuously making you question what’s going on. It does this from the very beginning, and once it has its hooks deep into your flesh, it twists the chains and pulls. Much food for thought here. Also, it’s bloody brilliant. Highly recommended!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Micah Castle

    Armageddon House is a fast-paced, evocatively written, psychological weird fiction novella about four people living, seemingly willingly, in a bomb shelter or an underground bunker in an unknown location somewhere in the world. Griffin just drops you into the protagonist mind, and doesn't really explain what's going on in the world that drove them to the bomb shelter/bunker initially, or why they chose to go, or why were they the ones to go and not other people, or— There's just a lot of questions Armageddon House is a fast-paced, evocatively written, psychological weird fiction novella about four people living, seemingly willingly, in a bomb shelter or an underground bunker in an unknown location somewhere in the world. Griffin just drops you into the protagonist mind, and doesn't really explain what's going on in the world that drove them to the bomb shelter/bunker initially, or why they chose to go, or why were they the ones to go and not other people, or— There's just a lot of questions not easily answered, or answered at all. Which might be intentional. It's one of the books that really goes over your head if you're not paying attention to the subtle cues and descriptions. It's like he's writing a story behind the story. It reminds me of House of Leaves in a way, but not as complex and puzzling, and it definitely deserves a re-read for me to fully grasp the entirety of the story. But, the story that you do understand is one about life, the routine of day-to-day actions, of what it all means, if anything at all, and what will happen once it's over; about friendships and relationships, past, present, and future; about yourself changing through the years, no longer being the person you were in the past and no longer being the person you're now in the future, and your own ticks, your own idiosyncrasies... It's amazing that Griffin could touch on so many things in such a small book. Overall, I enjoyed it a lot, despite the ever present feeling of missing something throughout my read. I recommend picking this up if you're a fan of Griffin's previous work, or you're just a fan of weird fiction.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    An amazing, I refuse to put it down because I absolutely MUST find out what the hell is going on here, almost read it in one sitting but I started it too late last night, fuck with your head on a multitude of levels, this is why I read small press, book. It's a wicked noodler of a dystopian/utopian/post apocalyptic novel in which the author drops us smack dab in front of Mark as he awakens, as he always does, at precisely 6:20am in his tiny room. Mark is one of four people who appear to have wil An amazing, I refuse to put it down because I absolutely MUST find out what the hell is going on here, almost read it in one sitting but I started it too late last night, fuck with your head on a multitude of levels, this is why I read small press, book. It's a wicked noodler of a dystopian/utopian/post apocalyptic novel in which the author drops us smack dab in front of Mark as he awakens, as he always does, at precisely 6:20am in his tiny room. Mark is one of four people who appear to have willingly/unknowingly gone into isolation together. They have been locked in some kind of bunker/building/spaceship/experiment underground/in space/on another planet for an unknown period of time, and there appears to be something wrong/not right/off about each of them, and they might be/are withholding/forgetting/lying about information/themselves as they move through their daily routine. Are you wondering if I fell down and cracked my head because I'm not making any damn sense? Good. Because reading this book is very much like that, but in such a deliciously awesome way. Think Immobility and The Warren by Brian Evenson. Think Wool by Hugh Howey. Think 10 Cloverfield Lane, think Passengers. We only know what the characters know and we are trying like hell to figure things out along with them. And yes, we are left just as confused as they are when the book draws to a close. that's not to say that I don't have my theories. Oh man, do I have theories! Don't blink for a second. You can't afford to. Undertow Press continues to show me that they are all that and a bag of chips. Every title I've read from them continues to raise the bar and blow me away. And now excuse me while I go find more Michael Griffin titles to devour.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Well Read Beard

    I was enthralled, rapt, held by this novella. The mystery, what are we doing here? how did we get here? and the style that it is written with are absolutely attention capturing. Clear your schedule, don't start this thing when you have other shit to do. It's not happening. There is a bit of Howey's Wool, maybe some David Lynch, a slice of Lost? I am trying to come to terms with the influences I felt. What I can tell you is that I like these types of stories. Stories where the locale is vast and I was enthralled, rapt, held by this novella. The mystery, what are we doing here? how did we get here? and the style that it is written with are absolutely attention capturing. Clear your schedule, don't start this thing when you have other shit to do. It's not happening. There is a bit of Howey's Wool, maybe some David Lynch, a slice of Lost? I am trying to come to terms with the influences I felt. What I can tell you is that I like these types of stories. Stories where the locale is vast and mysterious. What are we doing here? How did we get here? Again, Wool. You want a YA reference, how about The Maze Runner. A story where the locale is as much a character as the characters. It's cool and intriguing, levels and aspects and the sense of being kept, held. A rat in a cage. Armageddon House is the story of Mark. Mark wakes up everyday at the same time in the same place. Groundhog Day? Definitely a physical feeling and sense of repetitiveness. We are in this massive compound, the levels and layers to this thing feel huge. You definitely get the feeling that it is underground. Is this some kind of post apocalyptic compound? Is this an experiment? All we really know is that there are 4 people involved. Mark, another man, and two women. The story takes place over a day. A single day, again the Deja Vu. You feel that all this has been repeating. Wake up, breakfast, medical department, sun room, workout. Same thing everyday. You also felt that we are nearing the end. Sprawling place. 30 plus refrigerators, only 2 still in use, 1 per couple. Tension. Tension builds throughout. Steady, slow build escalation all the way to the end. Anxiety, aggression. Personal relationships starting to break down. Anybody reading this review know what it feels like to be locked down with your close family for a few months? Oh, wait - we all do, right? Feel that, the walls closing in a bit? You get where I am going with all this? This may be the perfect Covid novella, or maybe absolutely not the thing you need right now. This may be absolutely the thing you need right now, or this novella may be a horrible choice to read during Covid. Wait, did I already write that. I feel like I have been here before. It's a great story. Seriously it grabbed me quick. The locale, 4 people stuck in an unexplained scenario. The building tension and anxiety. The ending is as mysterious as the beginning. Some readers may not love that, I really liked it. That being said, if you are a reader that wants everything tied up neatly, if you need all the questions answered, this may not be for you. If you like a bit of mystery and some blanks left to fill in yourself? If you dig that idea of a cool underground bunker setting, again WOOL, a post apocalyptic, experiment, who knows? mystery, intrigue, relationship drama, science fictiony dystopia. Yeah, read it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Roz

    So not my kind of book. Sorry for the rating but ugh.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Monique Snyman

    For some reason, probably due to still being in Lockdown Level 3 in South Africa, I found this book super unsettling and weirdly relatable. Armageddon House was a great story and the writing was excellent. Definitely one for the bookshelf.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    Jenna and Mark, Polly and Greyson. Four somewhere in time, in isolation. They have memories vague, and thoughts, imagined things, with secrets and questions arising as things unfold on their past and future down in their dwelling place and their very essence and meaning of being there. The author has you following along their dilemma, rituals, days in cycles, almost like Truman Show same time same witnessing of repeated actions and routines, almost programmed, and then you find this is not Truman s Jenna and Mark, Polly and Greyson. Four somewhere in time, in isolation. They have memories vague, and thoughts, imagined things, with secrets and questions arising as things unfold on their past and future down in their dwelling place and their very essence and meaning of being there. The author has you following along their dilemma, rituals, days in cycles, almost like Truman Show same time same witnessing of repeated actions and routines, almost programmed, and then you find this is not Truman show like, no humor, the author wants to take you for a twist, a Black Mirror, or Twilight Zone spin of fates. This tale has some eery resemblance to life of present in isolation, a weird human tale of existence leaving two things, either to finish with things to process within the psyche of the reader for quiet hours to come or merely pass of as folly and fun. The sense of this crucible tale that runs parallel to present status of inhabitants of earth amid a pandemic came about with maybe this set of words: “In his room, Mark obsesses on the ticking of his watch. The passing of time is impossible to prevent, but Mark wishes he could disassemble and reassemble the parts so the days would pass the way they’re supposed to.” The author has nicely conjured a utopian work of speculative fiction for the reader to be lost in its depths for a short vivid visceral slot of minutes of existence. I will be reading his collection The Human Alchemy some time this month, that sits on my TBR paperback pile for a while now, with very tempting cover inviting one to be lost within its pages. Review with excerpts @ More2read

  10. 5 out of 5

    Steve Stred

    ** Edited as review is now live on Kendall Reviews! ** ‘Armageddon House‘ by Michael Griffin is one of those books that came onto my radar via a Twitter suggestion. I believe it was Shane from Ink Heist’s tweet I saw saying that Griffin was looking to connect with reviewers for reviews and so I reached out and bingo bango, a digital copy was kindly sent over by the great folks at Undertow Publications. Not since ‘At the End of the Day I Burst Into Flames‘ and ‘All Hail the House Gods‘ have I been ** Edited as review is now live on Kendall Reviews! ** ‘Armageddon House‘ by Michael Griffin is one of those books that came onto my radar via a Twitter suggestion. I believe it was Shane from Ink Heist’s tweet I saw saying that Griffin was looking to connect with reviewers for reviews and so I reached out and bingo bango, a digital copy was kindly sent over by the great folks at Undertow Publications. Not since ‘At the End of the Day I Burst Into Flames‘ and ‘All Hail the House Gods‘ have I been this enraptured with a book where at each passing page I tried to figure out what was happening, but had absolutely no idea where it was going. What I liked: The premise is simple: four people live in an underground bunker. That’s it. But it isn’t that simple. The four continually see changes, both in each other but in this place they inhabit. Bits and pieces of memories come back, but not enough to fully remember them before. They all know something happened, the world ended somehow, but are they an experiment? Paranoia over who knows what and how much really drives the narrative and Griffin always gives you a little bit more, to keep you following that carrot before you. I loved the pacing and how Mark was the main character but not really. That may not make sense, but after you’ve read it, you’ll understand. There was one moment that really had my cage rattled – when it was Mark’s turn to clean up a specific room. It was just a fantastic little slice of crazy and it heightened everything that happened after. What I didn’t like: As with most books like this, it’ll drive some people bonkers that there are no clear cut and well-defined answers. For me, I really dig that because it makes me fill in the blanks, but I can see that being a point of contention with some readers. Why you should buy it: If you loved the two books I previously mentioned, this will sit nicely alongside them. It’s just a speeding train with no brakes and you want to know what is going on and they why. For most readers, this will be an easy one-sitting read, but it’s a book that has intricate, infinite layers and one that’ll stay with the reader long after they’ve finished. I may actually dive back in after a month or so and see if a re-read unearth’s any new clues to the ending.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cail

    I blazed through this book, it’s hard to put down. The writing is gripping and easy to follow at first, but as it gets farther along, I found myself re-reading sections to confirm I’m tracking with what-the-HELL is going on. This book left me with a lot of questions, but it’s a helluva fun ride. I’d be curious to hear the author give his take on the ending in a podcast or interview. Dystopia-drenched weird fiction. Dig it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    If I hadn’t pre-ordered Armageddon House in early March, before the Covid pandemic escalated, I would have easily believed that this novella was inspired by the lockdown. It starts in medias res, presenting us with two couples of sorts – Mark and Jenna, Greyson and Polly – living in a hi-tech underground bunker. Their subterranean world has all the necessities they require. There’s a well-equipped kitchen, a gym and swimming pool, a tavern and even a sort of museum. There’s food to last many a l If I hadn’t pre-ordered Armageddon House in early March, before the Covid pandemic escalated, I would have easily believed that this novella was inspired by the lockdown. It starts in medias res, presenting us with two couples of sorts – Mark and Jenna, Greyson and Polly – living in a hi-tech underground bunker. Their subterranean world has all the necessities they require. There’s a well-equipped kitchen, a gym and swimming pool, a tavern and even a sort of museum. There’s food to last many a lifetime and unspecified “medication” which they need to take on a daily basis. Away from the outside world, these characters try to hold on to their sanity by sticking to well-established routines. Are these four characters the last survivors of some apocalyptic disaster? Are they human guinea pigs in a strange experiment? They don’t know and we don’t know either. Mark – from whose perspective we seem to see things – suffers from strange memory gaps, perhaps induced by the medication. There are glimpses of hazy memories, hints suggesting a very different past. The quartet explore the levels of the bunker, trying to understand their situation and to possibly find a means of escape. We look on, as lost and perplexed as they are. At first, this book reads like a literary equivalent of the “Big Brother” reality show. In close, enforced confinement, tempers fray, tensions simmer, occasionally overstepping into violence. Friendships are made and unmade, desire waxes and wanes. As the novella progresses, however, we realise that the claustrophobic horror portrayed does not exist merely an individual level, but also on a cosmic one. Tellingly, Griffin slips in references to Norse sagas. Whilst these mythical undertones initially seem out of place in a sci-fi scenario, they suggest that Armageddon House should be read as an existential fable, possibly representing our constant struggle to understand the human predicament – Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? Whether the book works for you or not depends, of course, on what scale of “weird” you like your “fiction” to be. In some ways, Griffin’s novella reminded me of I Who Have Never Known Men by Jacqueline Harpman. I feel that, like Harpman’s book, Armageddon House is a “novel(la) as thought experiment”. Narratively, it leaves too many questions unanswered. I find this frustrating but other readers, of course, might not – some might even delight in the ambiguities. Beyond the bare bones of the plot, however, the novella raises haunting, philosophical questions which cannot be easily dismissed and this is where its strength lies. 3.5* https://endsoftheword.blogspot.com/20...

  13. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Joyce

    Two men and two women find themselves in a strange underground bunker, and no-one can agree on the reason for them being there. We can always rely on Mike Griffin to deliver a weird and unsettling tale. Told from the point of view of one character, Mark, things soon unravel as tensions and weirdness continue to ramp up the action. The characters all have complex and relatable characteristics (some more relatable than others!) and the unique setting/conflict makes for a very original story.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Scipione

    Full review coming soon to horrorbound.net but quick thoughts. This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Haunting and weird and tremendously impressive.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    Four residents of a strange underground habitat Michael Griffin’s novella called “Armageddon House” is the story of Mark, one of a quartet of people living in a kind of multi-level bunker. They are experiencing something like a time loop, repeating a daily pattern without any certainty of why they are there or what is happening to them. As the novella’s plot progresses, events become more and more surreal. Griffin has built a unique and fascinating setting for this book, and reading it is like s Four residents of a strange underground habitat Michael Griffin’s novella called “Armageddon House” is the story of Mark, one of a quartet of people living in a kind of multi-level bunker. They are experiencing something like a time loop, repeating a daily pattern without any certainty of why they are there or what is happening to them. As the novella’s plot progresses, events become more and more surreal. Griffin has built a unique and fascinating setting for this book, and reading it is like stepping through a series of rooms where each is more strange than the one before. I appreciate reading fiction that takes me somewhere I have never been. “Armageddon House” does that most compellingly.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Shikhar

    Michael Griffin’s compelling novella centers around Mike (Griffin?) and his thoughts and questions, regarding four people and their isolation in a subterranean facility. Yet, each revelation gives birth to new questions. Mark and Jenna. Greyson and Polly. Their day begins in separate rooms, each with their own murals on the wall opposite the bed. Mark is wistful of a time when he and Jenna were still a couple, before they began a pantomimed relationship for Greyson and Polly’s benefit. Mark canno Michael Griffin’s compelling novella centers around Mike (Griffin?) and his thoughts and questions, regarding four people and their isolation in a subterranean facility. Yet, each revelation gives birth to new questions. Mark and Jenna. Greyson and Polly. Their day begins in separate rooms, each with their own murals on the wall opposite the bed. Mark is wistful of a time when he and Jenna were still a couple, before they began a pantomimed relationship for Greyson and Polly’s benefit. Mark cannot remember when they separated. Indeed, Mark cannot recall much at all. This becomes a theme that grows throughout the novella, for all four of them. “Each of the four has always known, without remembering ever having been told, which bottles they need, and in what dosages. They self-administer shots, or count pills to be swallowed with water...Each sits in their own elegant white leather reclining chair...[b]eside each, a stainless-steel tray organizes the day's medicines...[t]heir remaining supply, sufficient to last years, is kept within glass-fronted coolers along one wall. Further back, a massive freezer stores deep overstock for the longer term, though Mark imagines none of them want or expect to remain here long enough to deplete the refrigerated supply...He takes this as given...” Mark, from whose point-of-view the entire story unfolds, is aware that they are all locked in, deep underground. Each has his or her own idea as to the reason why. Is it in order to protect them from the harsh post-apocalyptic landscape above? Is it an experiment, for which each is being handsomely recompensed? Mark hates Greyson for his physical aggression towards him. Is HE the spy? Is the mole Polly, whose craziness is occasionally evident in statements like, "You know actually, I think we aren't the real test, ourselves...We're like a simulation of the big test they'll do later, somewhere farther away. Isn't that right? Like, a test for a test. I mean, humanity is just a trial run anyway. Preliminary, that's the word. Preliminary test. Each test is practice for another test, and that's practice for the next one. Only, how many? Like, which one is this?" It is Polly, whose antics continually send the others running downstairs, or upstairs, trying to find her? But Mark may have his own agenda. Their day is rigidly structured: mealtimes, exercise, pill-time in the Medicine Center, and of course, “sunbathing” beside the enormous swimming pool. The facility could serve hundreds. Thousands. Are they all that’s left of the human race? Griffin nimbly interjects hints of just how bizarre the truth may be, when “[t]oday is Mark's turn in the rotation for biological disposal...The others leave without cleaning up after themselves. After they're gone, Mark uses tweezers to gather organic detritus from each work stand into the larger stainless-steel tray atop the roll cart. Tiny of detached skin, unwanted eyelids, lobes and appendages, discarded trimmed nails, hairs and eyelashes pulled out by roots, all the flesh scattered amidst blood smears and spatters. Every day, the shedding of these parts leaves behind more waste than all the days before. This avalanche of decay, a kind of incremental death, is necessary for the renewal it brings. Each morning's birth, nearer and nearer to something new, and possibly final. Usually the mess doesn't bother him, when it's his turn. Today he averts his eyes as much as possible. Imagining a smell, he holds his breath....” Griffin deftly leads the reader from idea to idea, and ultimately, to action. These characters live and breathe, even the worst of them lovable, their dialogue authentic enough to make the surreal feel commonplace. If you haven’t read Michael Griffin’s work, ARMAGEDDON HOUSE is certainly as good an introduction to his skills and talent as you’re likely to find.

  17. 5 out of 5

    James Clark

    This is a smart little novella with an intriguing premise that almost pays off. Mark, Jenna, Polly and Greyson are stuck in a bunker with everything they need to survive: food, exercise equipment, medicine, artificial sunlight. The bunker has many levels, each with its own mystery. But the overall mystery is why they are there. Is it an experiment? Are they the last survivors of an apocalypse? None of them can remember exactly how they got there, or who they really are. It's a creepy scenario tha This is a smart little novella with an intriguing premise that almost pays off. Mark, Jenna, Polly and Greyson are stuck in a bunker with everything they need to survive: food, exercise equipment, medicine, artificial sunlight. The bunker has many levels, each with its own mystery. But the overall mystery is why they are there. Is it an experiment? Are they the last survivors of an apocalypse? None of them can remember exactly how they got there, or who they really are. It's a creepy scenario that builds a lot of tension. The characters are interesting at times, their histories are shrouded in mystery, and they have nuanced relationships with one another. But at the same time, they're somewhat one-note characters. Polly is neurotic, Greyson is an aggressive jerk, Mark is milquetoast, and Jenna is ... just Jenna. There's not a lot of depth to the characters, but that doesn't mean they're badly written, just a bit shallow. They efficiently serve their purpose in furthering the story, and they became more interesting towards the end, but never quite break out of their one note boxes. I found myself enjoying this book a lot while I was reading it, but ended up a bit frustrated by the ambiguity of the ending. There are endings that make you think and ponder the outcome long after you read it, and then there are ones that make you just go "huh?" Unfortunately this was in the latter category for me. Overall, I liked the book but would have liked a bit more meat on the bones of the story. Thank you to the author for providing an ARC for review. Michael Griffin has a sharp, crisp writing style that I enjoy and I look forward to reading more of his work. 3.5/5 stars

  18. 5 out of 5

    David

    4 people are trapped in a bunker with everything they need, except answers. Many reviewers seem to want all loose ends tied up with a bow. Maybe this story is an allegory for life - complete with loose ends. Oh, how humans love certainty and fear uncertainty! Each character or persona did not seem fully 3D, so perhaps there is a way to read this story allegorically - but in what way I just haven’t figured out yet. Maybe aliens study us. Maybe these are the last 4 people. Maybe Mike is on acid, o 4 people are trapped in a bunker with everything they need, except answers. Many reviewers seem to want all loose ends tied up with a bow. Maybe this story is an allegory for life - complete with loose ends. Oh, how humans love certainty and fear uncertainty! Each character or persona did not seem fully 3D, so perhaps there is a way to read this story allegorically - but in what way I just haven’t figured out yet. Maybe aliens study us. Maybe these are the last 4 people. Maybe Mike is on acid, or in a coma. Are we on a spaceship? Not on Earth? Can’t tell. My subconscious was trying to throw up all sorts of explanations, interesting in itself. Captivating from start to finish, and particularly poignant during Covid isolation. Also reminded me of Sartre’s No Exit play (“L’enfer, c;est l’autre”), which lends to an existential interpretation of this piece like a chamber play. One doesn’t know what came before, what is happening now, nor what comes after. It’s the kind of novella (112 pages) that makes you want to read everything the author has written, short or long form.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Walker

    This is an elegantly written little mindfuck of a book, which does not 'explain' its mysterious set-up at all. A novella not because of a paucity of ideas but because anything that might give too much away has been ruthlessly pared away from the text. Prose that is very clean and simple, and seemingly straightforwardly descriptive, but an overall effect that is opaque. It's always a bit pretentious to refer to Kafka in a review, but it's reminiscent of him – not so much in mood or tone, but in t This is an elegantly written little mindfuck of a book, which does not 'explain' its mysterious set-up at all. A novella not because of a paucity of ideas but because anything that might give too much away has been ruthlessly pared away from the text. Prose that is very clean and simple, and seemingly straightforwardly descriptive, but an overall effect that is opaque. It's always a bit pretentious to refer to Kafka in a review, but it's reminiscent of him – not so much in mood or tone, but in that crucial information for understanding the world depicted is withheld, not only from the reader, but seemingly from everyone inhabiting that world. Certain things are just taken on faith, except in this case it's not even clear what the tenets of that faith are. Though the title refers to the Christian (Greek?) idea of Armageddon there are several allusions in the text to Norse mythology and Ragnarok, but it's not actually clear if we're dealing with a pre- or post-apocalyptic scenario. I liked it a lot, but not a book for anyone looking for clear explanations and neat resolutions.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Teague

    Truthfully, I didn't quite understand the last chapter but I applaud the dream-like narrative of Griffin's writing. Starting out, it reminded me of Ballard's High-Rise - albeit underground; a post-apocalyptic bunker, with four survivors: Mark, Jenna, Polly and Greyson. Then, has the story progressed, it became - to me - stream-of-consciousness storytelling; my mind dizzy, to the point where I had to re-read passages. Back in the 90s, a form of fiction emerged within the burgeoning small and indepen Truthfully, I didn't quite understand the last chapter but I applaud the dream-like narrative of Griffin's writing. Starting out, it reminded me of Ballard's High-Rise - albeit underground; a post-apocalyptic bunker, with four survivors: Mark, Jenna, Polly and Greyson. Then, has the story progressed, it became - to me - stream-of-consciousness storytelling; my mind dizzy, to the point where I had to re-read passages. Back in the 90s, a form of fiction emerged within the burgeoning small and independent press - this novella fits into that perfectly: slipstream. I do recommend this, but it may - or may not - be your cup of tea.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kev Harrison

    At the beginning of this book, it felt like something of a departure from Michael Griffin's previous work, the ethereal dreamlike quality of his settings replaced with something all the more grounded, physical. Four individuals, our POV character being Mark are in an underground bunker. None of them seems to know why, for how long, or how they got there. The novella is character driven, with the settings deliberately quite sterile, and the story advances on the back of the relationships between At the beginning of this book, it felt like something of a departure from Michael Griffin's previous work, the ethereal dreamlike quality of his settings replaced with something all the more grounded, physical. Four individuals, our POV character being Mark are in an underground bunker. None of them seems to know why, for how long, or how they got there. The novella is character driven, with the settings deliberately quite sterile, and the story advances on the back of the relationships between them. It's a short read, so to say more would be verging on spoiler territory, but this is an excellent way to burn through an hour and a half of your life. Prepare for things to spiral out of control once the fuse is lit.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gurpreet Kaur

    First of all.. the writing style is incredible. This book keep me hooked from the starting.. like what the hell is happening... Have I missed something while reading... But no, it's a story with lots of questions hidden in it and so less answers provided in the end. It was an interesting read. My first book of this author. Kept me on my toes what's going to happen will they be able to escape or what's going to happen with them. All in all a good read which surely make your mind think.. think and First of all.. the writing style is incredible. This book keep me hooked from the starting.. like what the hell is happening... Have I missed something while reading... But no, it's a story with lots of questions hidden in it and so less answers provided in the end. It was an interesting read. My first book of this author. Kept me on my toes what's going to happen will they be able to escape or what's going to happen with them. All in all a good read which surely make your mind think.. think and a lot of thinking.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kyrilson

    This was a weird little novella. Reminded me a little bit of "Wool" by Hugh Howey. It's about four people in an underground bunker living day to day, with very little knowledge of why they're there and what's outside. There is an pervading sense of tension and claustrophobia throughout the story. It was a pretty good story, but I felt the characters were a little odd, and some of the situations were confusing to the reader. Overall I did find the story enjoyable and I liked the ending, but some This was a weird little novella. Reminded me a little bit of "Wool" by Hugh Howey. It's about four people in an underground bunker living day to day, with very little knowledge of why they're there and what's outside. There is an pervading sense of tension and claustrophobia throughout the story. It was a pretty good story, but I felt the characters were a little odd, and some of the situations were confusing to the reader. Overall I did find the story enjoyable and I liked the ending, but some people may not, as everything is not tied up neatly at the end.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Leigh Farina

    This book still has me trying to wrap my head around what I just read. It held me from page one and kept me wondering what and who the 4 characters are and what they are living through. The conflict between the characters is exactly what you would find between people stuck together in a confined space, but yet it is humanizing and relatable the struggle of grasping with what is really happening.

  25. 5 out of 5

    The_J

    Obscured, and definitely in Media Res, even a lovely homage to Fenris and his capture, but perhaps the finish could have benefited from more intense clarity, because it seemed a little light on the reveal

  26. 4 out of 5

    Atharva Joshi

    Not my kind of book. Maybe I was too dumb to enjoy it but anyways I just didn't get it. Usually I'm down with loose ends and unanswered questions but this was just a COMPLETE confusion. Sorry :(

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sou

    Filing this under “wtf did I just read?” I admit the plot is very intriguing and the writing is good, but there isn’t much of an ending or explanation to the set up. At least it’s a short read.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Isaac J Closs

    Short and sweet As atmospheric as anything Griffin has written to date, unsettling, offputting, claustrophobic, tense, well worth every penny! Hungry for more

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cat

    I'm so confused... and I can't tell if that's a good or a bad thing.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Robert

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