Guest Essay: Zack Parsons on ‘Liminal States’


liminalstatesI have been writing satire (at and non-fiction (My Tank is Fight!) for over a decade, so when I decided to write my first novel, Liminal States, I wanted to put all of that experience to good use by immediately setting it aside. I wrote the most horrifying and bleak American sci-fi I could conceive and made it the centerpiece of a multimedia story spanning ARG, prequel serial, artwork, soundtrack and short film. There is a lot to experience, but it begins as a fairly simple tale of revenge and love lost in the 19th Century.

Gideon Long, a failed industrialist of the American West, is involved in a train robbery to try to save his business and win the affection of the cultured, but very-married Annabelle Groves. He is wounded in the attempt and, dying, he wanders through the desert. In a cave carved into foreboding black mountains he discovers a pool that offers him life. Gideon Long and his rival in romance, Sheriff Warren Groves, are exposed to the pool and become immortal, but there is a price.

These immortal characters straddle American history, the course of the narrative demonstrating the unnatural effect their presence has on world events. Liminal States blends genres to fit the times, incorporating western and hardboiled detective and, ultimately, sci-fi, driving the story to a wild conclusion. Folks seem to like it. Publisher’s Weekly gave it a star and Cory Doctorow called it, “a justifiably showy demonstration of the author’s chameleon-like ability to write in several genres all at once.”

More than the praise I am thrilled to be writing fiction and excited to offer this story to the world. Check it out if it interests you and thanks for the opportunity to share it here.