Amber’s Goodreads review of Liminal States by Zack Parsons

Liminal StatesLiminal States by Zack Parsons

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The main thing is this: there is a pool of not-exactly-water that dissolves any organic thing it touches. Anything living will be born again from it, and even after that living thing dies – either from natural causes, age, violence, or accident – they will be born from the pool again in a state of youth and health.

It seems like the fountain of youth, a key to immortality, and that’s exactly how Gideon Long uses it. But what happens when the pool begins to birth copies of those that went into it, before the existing ones die? And what happens when it births things that never went into it at all… at least not from THIS world.

Liminal States starts out as a western, and turns into detective noir in the second part, but the sci-fi veins running throughout really come to the fore in the third part, portraying an increasingly dystopic near future (or, technically, past – it takes place in 2006) and eventually towards apocalyptic.

I really liked how Parsons wove in information showing how subtly different things are from our reality due to the discovery and use of the Pool and Gideon Long/Harlan Bishop’s rise to power: cosmonauts are mentioned, but not astronauts, suggesting that in this reality, America never joined the space race. The Cold War still continues on into the 2000s. Just little mentions that aren’t given more than a few moments’ attention but help to paint the overall picture.

I love Zack Parsons’ writing on Something Awful (Four Days in Winter was a serial I particularly enjoyed) so when I saw he had a book coming out, I preordered it right away. I’m glad I did. Liminal States is beautifully written, interesting, and highly imaginative. I definitely recommend reading the Reificant serial on Something Awful beforehand (and maybe even after, since then you’ll know what’s going on).

By the way, let me know if anyone finds out how to pronounce “reificant.” ;p

View all my reviews

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~ by Amber on August 8, 2012.

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