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The Unknown: An Anthology, by William Gillespie, Frank Marquardt, Scott Rettberg, and Drik Stratton

by William Gillespie , Scott Rettberg , Dirk Stratton , and Frank ,


The Unknown: An Anthology

Based on the hypertext novel the Unknown.

Fiction and poetry by:
William Gillespie
Frank Marquardt
Scott Rettberg
Dirk Stratton

Red paperback. Decadent, comic, lively, dark, and satirical, the fragmented novel explores the millennial collision of literature, technology, and commerce. Published by Spineless Books. ISBN 978-0-9801392-9-7 $16. 6 by 9 inches. 268 pages. Distributed by Ingram. 6-18-2011. Mostly prose. Eximious. Perfect bound.
Fineal. Enduring. Haunting.

"Print: it's got a certain heft to it."- Robert Coover, upon handling The Unknown: An Anthology

Midway through this sprawling hypertext
I lost my way: there were too many links:
Every route left me more and more perplexed,

As though I were confronting a sphinx
With an infinity of riddles that blazed,
But shed no light. Onward I clicked, but no chinks

In the obscurity could be found. Dazed,
I stopped at a black-bordered page, on the verge
Of something strange. I watched, amazed:

From its blankness words began to emerge,
Dark and ominous, filled with the fear
And loathing of an evil, deadly dirge:

"Collaboration's a trail of tears
And blood," the brooding words said,
"Abandon all hope, ye who enter here."

The final word, underlined in red,
Was the only link and I couldn't resist
Clicking it, though I was also filled with dread.

The screen began melting: it throbbed and hissed
Like a raging, electronic baboon
And began belching a dense, hash-like mist

That quickly filled the entire room.
Overcome, I fell to the floor in a swoon.

How long I lay there insensible
I cannot say, but when I at last awoke
Things were even more incomprehensible.

No page, no computer, no room filled with smoke,
Just a dusky gloom unlike anything
I'd ever seen before. I heard myself croak,

My voice, quaking with fear, "What's happening?"
"Where am I?" Receiving no reply,
I stood up and saw absolutely nothing.

No walls, no rocks, no trees, no sky-
I was standing but it wasn't clear on what.
Then, in the distance, something caught my eye.

A large, looming shape apparently cut
Out of an immense pile of bone.
A sign over the door (closed shut)

Declared (in Gothic lettering): "Welcome to the Unknown!
(Suckers.)" The sign was covered with lichens and grime
and featured a widely grinning feral-toothed clown.

"Wait a minute, I thought, as I began to climb,
Clown and Unknown: what a horrible rhyme!"