Liminal States (and earlier works), Zack Parsons
Citadel Press, 2012
Of all the places in the whole wide internet, you wouldn’t expect the comedy website Something Awful to host some of the best Web-original horror out there. Do a little digging into their archives, though, and you’ll come across the bizarre, surreal, genre-bending and brilliant serial fiction of Zack Parsons.
It’s hard to explain any of his works without spoiling the enjoyment of reading them, because much of their impact comes from piecing together the setting and plot from the clues you’re given. For instance, my favorite piece, Instruction for a Help, begins as a series of how-to guides (the first simply explains how to grow fruit) written in bizarrely broken English, accompanied by odd, distorted images. Going in blind, you’d probably read it as surreal humor– but as you continue through the subsequent guides, it becomes clear that the strangeness has a context, and you begin to get an unsettling picture of the world these guides are describing and the perspective from which they are written.