The Unknown: An Anthology, by William Gillespie, Frank Marquardt, Scott Rettberg, and Drik Stratton
The Unknown: An Anthology
Based on the hypertext novel the Unknown.
Fiction and poetry by:
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!"