Homuncula by John Henri Nolette – a review

I am not an active reader of horror-fiction by any standard. The three collections of Lovecraft stories on my book shelf were a gift from a friend this year. I do love a good horror film (and am happy to watch enjoyable awful ones), but the written form has not been a huge part of my literary experience.

However, what you do find in my book collection are many, many, works of anarchist thought, theory and practice. And before being a work of horror-fiction, Homuncula is a work on what it is to live a life as an anarchist.

Homuncula is a story about an individual who no longer finds themselves able to conform to the Reality that has been constructed where they live. They seek to escape the confines of civilisation and embrace the wild landscapes, where anarchy flows freely, not bothered by repressive anthropological machinery. What proceeds from here narrative-wise, I will not spoil.

One of my favourite quotes from the book is this – “The human world was against me now yes, most undoubtedly, but what of it? The universe and all of wild nature, it seemed, were on my side.”

You could read this book and conclude that it is a story about cannibalism, ancient alien gods and blobs, but that would by no means be fair to the book, nor Nolette. What Nolette achieves through this book is bringing the reader all of those darkest aspects of the anarchist experience and, in that way that horror aesthetics does so well, exaggerates so that we may reflect upon our own experience and affirm our strength and power that has gotten us to where we are right now. Nolette weaves anarchist thought through the book, including, either in reference or as characters, noted historical anarchists and anarchistic individuals, in ways that I imagine most individuals familiar with anarchist thought would enjoy – I certainly did.

As far as comparisons go, this work reminds me most of authors like Quinn, Kafka and Lovecraft. It’s thought is also comparable to that of Bakunite, Galleanist and primitivist, while being unique, in that this is Nolette’s work.

Any anarchist or non-anarchist who reads this book, I feel, should read this not as a work of ideology or propaganda, but as something far more important. Really, this is a work seeking to explore the absurd and unanswerable question of how does any individual find a way to live.

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