Severance by Ling Ma

81A9dFqIEELCandace is an aspiring photographer who thrives on the routine of her young professional life in New York City. She navigates the city in contented anonymity and plays her part as a competent and vital cog in the mass production of Bibles for publishing clients. As an epidemic of Shen Fever threatens the global population, Candace clings to the comforts of her 9 to 5, while the rest of the city flees to hometowns to find family and refuge. An orphaned daughter of immigrants, Candace is on her own until she joins up with a group of survivors led by Bob—an IT guy on a power trip, looking to enact his own vision for a new society.

Severance is a satirical apocalypse story pointing to the tragedy of the infinite loops we find ourselves barely living in.  Shen Fever is the embodiment of an epidemic already deeply rooted in the global consumer society—the mindless repetition of going through the motions while our mental capacity, bodies, and self-awareness slowly deteriorate. I love Ling Ma’s wry humor and her new-age interpretation of the apocalypse wrought with disillusioned millennials and the familiar horror of the relentlessly mundane.

“When you wake up in a fictitious world, your only frame of reference is fiction.”

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