The diary of Alex Case, researcher.
October 18, 2017 7:32 PM   Subscribe

Xi is happier now. She opened up to me about how much she hates the life here. She said she dreams about The Sick Land. Although her academic career has been mal anthropology, she's planning to leave the field. She doesn't want to think about it for the rest of her life.

I can relate to her view. There's something different about being here. It makes you look at the research with new eyes. A lot of the stuff they've found out is horrible. When it was just pages in a book, I don't think I even noticed.

This is a blog, so read from the chronologically earliest (linked) entry to the latest, moving upward. If you're not fond of horror fiction, you may not want to read this. If you're squeamish (especially re: body horror and/or insanity), you may want to click the back button. If you ignore this warning, don't blame me if you can't sleep tonight.
posted by anthy (17 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
ooh, I'll read just a few pages be f o  r   e     b        e             d
posted by Earthtopus at 7:59 PM on October 18, 2017 [5 favorites]

Is there a link that would take one back to the first page/entry, rather than one having to hit the back/previous button a billion n times?
posted by armoir from antproof case at 9:15 PM on October 18, 2017

I believe the link goes to the first entry.
posted by Anonymous at 9:47 PM on October 18, 2017

You are correct. I am a fool. Thanks
Carry on
posted by armoir from antproof case at 10:47 PM on October 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

I just finished it, a good creepy read. I think it'd make an amazing video game experience in the relentless downward spiral.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 12:28 AM on October 19, 2017

The Sick Land reminded me a lot of Tanis in the beginning. Really creepy and made me stay up way too late to finish it. Thanks for posting!
posted by wilky at 7:09 AM on October 19, 2017

I'm getting feelings of Roadside Picnic or Annihilation. I'm only about a third in, so this may change. Quite good though.
posted by Hactar at 8:49 AM on October 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

it's hard not to read it as a metaphor for grad school
posted by vogon_poet at 9:08 AM on October 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm enjoying reading it while listening to this.
posted by The Minotaur at 12:12 PM on October 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

What a powerful story.
posted by hapaxes.legomenon at 12:53 PM on October 19, 2017

I was meh on it. By the end I didn't have any real emotional investment, and the protagonist was kind of an earnest idiot. I mean yes, you have your skittering horrors, and the bit with what was powering the machines was interesting, but it took forever to get there. By then I was kind of done with her. The atmosphere was interesting, but you never felt a slowly-growing horror so much as "oh, it's just gonna get worse...huh another bad, she survived that, ok...wait a prophecy?...oh never mind....guess that's it? Huh."

There was lots of vivid, Lovecraft-worthy imagery but it never seemed to go anywhere interesting. The protagonist's visions kept referencing choices and tests, but for that to be meaningful a character has to actually, at some point, grasp that they made a right or wrong choice and feel the impact of that. Or grasp that their belief in choices and tests was all an illusion. Or have any kind of realization at all. But she just plods along, survives for a while, then that's it.
posted by emjaybee at 5:08 PM on October 19, 2017 [4 favorites]

Just read this. Really impressive, a great find. Like Hactar, I got strong vibes from Annihilation (and Roadside Picnic, too). I was sceptical about the acknowledgement of the blog format initially and thought it was a bit contrived, but it was ultimately very effective - unlike a book with a first person narrator, or even a film with its protagonist, you never knew how many pages or minutes you had left, and whether the next entry would be an abrupt and catastrophic conclusion - and ultimately it was tied into the narrative very neatly, too. And although it’s six years old or so, the sense of dread and unease fits very neatly with today’s political / ecological climate.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 6:28 PM on October 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

I liked it overall. The source (and nature) of the machines was a nice touch I didn’t see coming. It did lag in a few places - could use some editing, but it had some fine creepiness in parts.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:32 PM on October 19, 2017

I just finished it. I'd like to know who wrote it, but can't find much discussion online. Anybody know anything?
posted by The Minotaur at 3:28 PM on October 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

I only know that the author's name is Jon Hills, and that's because it's in the copyright notice at the bottom of every page of the blog. And that looks to be a pretty common name -- there are a bunch of hits if you google it. Googling the name + "sick land" just brings back the blog and reviews on Web Fiction Guide.

Let us know if you find anything? I'd love to know if he wrote anything else.
posted by anthy at 9:54 AM on October 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

This is some fun, amateur horror fiction, but the Phillips Diary section is a really bad parody of period writing.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:26 PM on October 22, 2017

I've been reading it in dribs & drabs, and I've just hit the part around October 2013 when he's brought back to the facility only to discover that none of the scientists understand what they are doing, or seem to care that they don't understand.

Now that is creepy af.

(Enjoying it thoroughly, thanks!!)
posted by Westringia F. at 4:38 AM on November 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

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