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Liminal States Paperback – April 1, 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
"LIMINAL STATES is a beautiful, fascinating, and engrossing novel. The characters are rich, their destinies intertwined over more than one lifespan; the setting is lavish with well-researched and utterly convincing details. This book will capture you." - Kevin J. Anderson, bestselling author of Sisterhood of Dune
"Of all the books you read this year, Liminal States may just be the most ambitious and rewarding of all." - Nick Sharps, SF Signal
"LIMINAL STATES delivers scenes full of dark meaning and crazy intensity. There's really nothing else quite like it, and adventurous readers are urged to seek it out." - Michael Berry, San Francisco Chronicle
"With LIMINAL STATES, Zack Parsons establishes himself as an exciting and compelling new writer. I heartily recommend LIMINAL STATES especially if a mashup of westerns and noir and dystopian horror is something that appeals to you." - Rajan Khanna, Tor.com
More About the Author
His debut novel, LIMINAL STATES, will be released in April of 2012.
Top Customer Reviews
It is a long, unblinking stare into something that is profoundly unsettling and alien, something more terrible than our own worst notions of hell, all described in beautiful, often sad, tragic tones.
An entire universe has been created here, introduced through song, serial, and several trailers, all of which are not necessary to enjoyment of the book but should be taken as integral parts of the experience via liminalstates.com. From the very first page, it is quite obvious that this is a labor of love on all fronts.
It is one hell of a ride.
Parsons has written a couple nonfiction books, but this is his first fiction novel. The tale mostly concerns two men -- Warren Groves, a wild west officer with murder in his bones, and Gideon Long, a man made cruelly desperate by his wealthy father's emotional abuse. After a train robbery/childbirth gone wrong, the two men cross paths and end up discovering a sort of Fountain of Youth that has the power to revive them every time they die, and which also begins regularly producing duplicates of their past selves. As time passes, these duplicates begin to cause problems, and the true nature of the magical pool is revealed to be far more sinister than it seems.
Although I am not a big fan of Westerns, I was immediately drawn into the tale by Parsons' slick, minutely-detailed prose. His depiction of the big train robbery, for instance, enthralled me in a way few books have in recent years. Furthermore, Parsons' construction of this alternate world is so rich and fully-realized that it is truly impressive. Astounding even. The story is unique, and although the elements of it are often times bewilderingly complex, Parsons' sumptuous prose keeps the story from feeling like a chore.
Parsons does succumb to a flaw common to first-time writers of fiction: overwriting. As far as flaws go, this is the kind you WANT to have, especially if your writing is as accomplished as Parsons'.Read more ›
The book plays with characterization in a unique way and develops the leads across all three sections. They only become more developed and more compelling as the story moves towards its conclusion.
This is not an easy book. Things are not spoon-fed to the reader, but they are there. Working out what exactly separates this world from our own can often mean going back 10 or 20 pages, but figuring out these slight irregularities is incredibly rewarding. Reading the online prequel serial will make some things much clearer and increase appreciation of certain moments in the story.
Liminal States is an enormous undertaking, especially for a first novel, but Zack succeeds magnificently.
The single most glaring flaw to me (though this is entirely subjective and others may disagree) was Parsons' prose. It's not bad, exactly, I don't want to say that, but it did repeatedly pull me out my immersion in the story. The thing is this: even though I like literature and do a fair bit of reading, I'm a physics major, and thus I'm pretty left-brained most of the time. Unlike some artier people, who are more in tune with this sort of thing and have a better eye for it, when I read a novel, I do not generally notice the "style" of the prose. I comprehend what it says and move on, unless it strikes me as particularly graceful, as does much of Adam Smith's writing (though he didn't really write literature), as does much of Twain's writing, to name two examples off the top of my head.
With this book, though, the prose stuck out at me. The writing sort of plods along, for lack of a better term. Sentences tend to be simple, declarative statements with a single clause, with not very many commas. Perhaps "journalistic" would be a better way of describing it. I just recall many instances in which I would become distracted by the way in which a passage was written. Here's an example from the first paragraph of chapter two:
"He was barefoot. His nightshirt was soiled with blood.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I suppose the best advice I could give one looking into picking up this book, is the less you know the better.
As a long-standing fan of Mr. Read more
Multiple genres and a surreal plot that drags you along willingly (even when it appears that things are not going all that well). Read morePublished 10 months ago by Iain
Excellent book with a wide reaching plot that goes from Western, to Noir, to Dystopian. I liked how the characters changed and mutated as the decades progressed. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Mojo Threepwood
Great horror. Although a bit of a confusing start, it builds into a great narrative.Published 11 months ago by Ram
Decent otherworldly horror but get to it and stick to it. What happened to the giant that emerged from the stacks? Read morePublished 12 months ago by Neal Ramos
Starts out a pretty standard adventure novel... and then starts to fall off the cliff of irreality. I'd say worth reading for fans of Phillip K. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Matthew P.
A little uneven at times which as a debut novel is not unsurprising. But it has fascinating and unique ideas and does not go in the directions you expect it to.Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
Wow...Zack Parsons' first novel is a strange beast. Starting off a little slow, the novel hits an impressive and exciting stride about midway through. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Bleggs