0202-2020: Readings from my book in two parallel universes

Aaron A. Reed
Feb 2 · 3 min read

My book Subcutanean is a horror novel where no two copies are the same, and in honor of its impending release — and the palindromic date of 02/02/2020 — I’m launching two bots, @subcutanean2160 and @subcutanean6621, that will perform readings from different versions simultaneously. Over the next few weeks, each will tweet the entire text of two different versions of Subcutanean: respectively, the versions generated from seeds 02160 and 06621.

So what is Subcutanean? It’s a horror novel with generative text that’s reassembled for each new reader. Created by award-winning interactive fiction writer Aaron A. Reed (that’s me), the book contains hundreds of places where words, sentences, even entire scenes can vary. Each copy is generated from a unique seed, and no two copies are ever quite the same. Early reviewers have had nice things to say:

“…manages to shatter all skepticism… pulse pounding, mind bending horror.” — HorrorNews

“not a gimmick… everything in this novel is deeper than it first appears.” — Carl on Goodreads

The plot concerns parallel universes, impossible architecture, and dangerous friendships. It’s scary, but it’s also a heartfelt story about coming of age and finding yourself. The project was successfully crowdfunded last year and ships later this month. You can still pre-order your own unique copy of Subcutanean on Indiegogo!

Tell me more about these bots! The bots will do synchronized “readings” of the next section of their respective books on a regular schedule: generally 12 noon PST on M/W/F, and 3pm PST on Sunday (with a few extra performances on launch day). Each reading will last between thirty minutes and an hour, depending on the length of the section. You’ll be able to watch their performances differ and drift across the course of the reading.

What else do I need to know?

  • The two bots live here and here, and you don’t need to be a Twitter user to view their posts.
  • You can scroll back through their previous tweets to catch up with the story so far: the oldest will be at the bottom.
  • If you use Tweetdeck, you could try adding a column for each bot to easily see the two stories unfold in parallel (even without following them if you don’t want your main feed to be cluttered). You can also add a generic “subcutanean” search column to see both bots as well as other chatter and traffic. (The project’s official main account is @subcutanean.)
  • Feel free to reply, quote tweet, retweet, or otherwise interact, during a performance or otherwise! (Though the bots will not respond to you.)

Enjoy, and find out how to get your own unique copy of Subcutanean here. You can also check out my design posts for a look at how I made this project happen.

Aaron A. Reed

Written by

Writer and game designer interested in the future and history of interactive narrative. https://aaronareed.net/ https://igg.me/at/subcutanean

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