I'm searching for a sci-fi novel I read about 20 years ago; might be important to mention that I read it in french.

As far as I remember, the story is about a man, who doesn't really know where he is or how he got there, alone in a town. There are no other people in the town. Pretty soon, a woman seemingly appears out of nowhere, with no recollection of how she got there.

Of course they fall in love, even if the man initially doesn't find the lady that attractive at first. I remember them to be middle-aged.

After a time, they are tired of their environment and to be alone, so they want to get out and explore. But they can't. Reality seems to end not far from town, all around it.

Pretty much at the end of the book, it is revealed that they are actually in a computer simulation run by aliens who want to study the long-gone human race. They developed technology to extract all of a person's memory and everything they were from a few dna samples. I think I remember the aliens mentionning that the dna samples came from old bone fragments. The 2 simulated humans are offered to continue living in the simulation or just terminate, I believe. I think they chose to continue living in the simulation.

The book cover might have been a human skull along with rats; not very sure about this though.

I've been searching for this book for 10 years now, I'll be eternally grateful if you help me identify it :)

  • I can't recall the title of the novel either, but i remember a bit of the story : When the man wakes (possibly in a hotel), the town is filled with dead bodies. Soon after, rats swarm the place. The second day, there are only bones left. The day after that, the bones disappear. I also read this novel in french, so it might not be impossible that the book did not have a wide publication.
    – user26260
    Commented May 14, 2014 at 9:29
  • Sounds about right. Any other elements you might recollect that would help finding the book? Commented May 28, 2014 at 4:23
  • I'm pretty sure it's "Le désert du monde" by Jean-Pierre Andrevon. I'm ordering a copy to confirm. Commented May 28, 2014 at 5:07

1 Answer 1


Finally :) It's "Le désert du monde", by Jean-Pierre Andrevon.

Une assemblée silencieuse de cadavres, voilà ce que l'homme trouve à son réveil dans ce petit village en apparence si paisible... Que s'est-il passé ? Et surtout qui est-il, lui, et quelle place tient-il dans cet holocauste où il est le seul survivant ? Car l'homme est sans mémoire, il n'a pas de passé, pas d'identité. Son existence va désormais se confondre avec cette double quête : découvrir le passé du monde et retrouver son propre passé. Mais quand il y parviendra, ce sera trop tard, bien trop tard...

Google translation:

A silent assembly of corpses, that's what the man finds when he wakes up in this apparently peaceful little village ... What happened? And above all, who is he, and what place does he hold in this holocaust where he is the only survivor? Because the man is without memory, he has no past, no identity. His existence will henceforth merge with this double quest: to discover the past of the world and to find his own past. But when he does, it will be too late, much too late ...

  • 1
    How does it fit the question? (We know it's correct as you asked the Q but Story-iD answers should all be equal quality) Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 4:08

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