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The Unknown

The Unknown  3/14/05 - Hypertext by The Unknown

The Unknown is fabulous and hilarious. I've been looking for it for a while. It's awesome enough that I think I can entrust you to it before this review. You might get a kick out of reading it first, because it'll grab you.

Still here? Okay. It's hard to describe it because it's founded on a sleight of hand: it's the blog-like journal of a publicity tour for a book of essays about an anthology that never existed in either our world or the world of the story. The authors know it doesn't exist, but that doesn't stop them from writing about it, publicizing it, handing it out, or linking to it. The entire work swirls around so well that eventually it doesn't matter that the supposed subject never appeared; the real subject is the journey, the self-examination or lack thereof, and the ... aw-hell fun of it. Along the way they discuss hypertext, writing, spoof the publishing industry, parody themselves and what they're doing. It's House of Leaves, but funny instead of frightening.

It's the book tour my friends (known here as "the dudes") would take, and it's how they would record it, with a mix of cold-shower insight, riotous braggadocio, and disturbingly true hyperbole. It's written like it doesn't need to go anywhere, win any awards, be translated or made into a movie because the authors have already imagined it.