Daryl Gregory

Afterparty is NOT a hoax

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…or IS IT?

Let’s say ALIEN INTELLIGENCES want to screw with you, Philip K Dick style. You’re at home, receiving most of your information about the outside world through a screen. You have been told by the screen that your novel will be published next week. This book is all about how you can’t trust anything your brain tells you. It has a character who is PARANOID because she can see PATTERNS in the NOISE. You are almost certain you wrote this book.

The screen brings you EMAIL from REAL PEOPLE who claim to have read the advanced copies of the book. REVIEWS appear on the screen, and you dutifully send links to these pages to other REAL PEOPLE who appear on a screen labeled TWITTER. But what proof do you really have? What if the ALIEN INTELLIGENCES want you to remain CALM and WAIT?

Then, a box arrives in the mail. It is not a metaphorical container, like DropBox. It is REAL.

The BOX contains this:

There are many copies of the book you thought you wrote. You are happy, and relieved. The book is REAL!

And then you think, wait a minute. What if this is the ONLY BOX? That’s just the kind of thing that ALIEN INTELLIGENCES would do.

You have a week to wait before it is scheduled to appear in any other bookstore. You can do nothing but wait. Nothing but type this into the screen and click PUBLISH. Because that is something a REAL PERSON would do.

You know only one thing for sure: This will be a LONG WEEK.

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