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strange flash fiction, perhaps "grotesque" in the literary sense..., October 5, 2020
An odd little piece of flash fiction, probably under 2000 words.
I doubt many English-language IF players know the name Yuri Mamleev, or a book of very strange short fiction collected in English under the title The Sky Above Hell and Other Stories. It is one of the few places I've seen fiction with a similar blur of realism and the grotesque, even in some places a similar tone. When these grotesque stories are executed correctly, they may not be "great" literature--but I tend to find them interesting, enjoyable, and above all memorable. For the length of this particular work, it is certainly worthwhile.
This is not a great work of IF. It is very light on the interactivity. As a piece of fiction, it is also not great. But IS certainly readable, and certainly more interesting than a lot of what can be found published in dozens of literary journals. It is a little sad this piece went unpublished as a regular story, but it is to the benefit of the IF community. Even with an IF Competition field of 100+ games, I imagine I'll remember this strange little story more than many longer and more interactive works of IF.
Anyone who likes the weird/strange/grotesque covered by a thin and warped veneer of realism should make a point of playing through this work.