- "When Lila arrived home, she found a dead cat in the parking lot."
Unfinished series of interconnected short stories by alliterator. They are all set in one city: Stair, California. Stair is unusual, however, in that it's an infocity, a place where lines of information converge, creating a place where reality is sort of fluid. Instead of rats, it has rolpens, creatures out of an Escher painting who can curl up into wheels. And sometimes there are buildings whose geometries are...not right. And then there is the danger of the Aponym and the Unfolding.
The stories are as follows:
- Slow Fires: Lila Chaser discovers something about her new job at the Stair Public Library. Something that involves a secret society and the Heat Death of the Universe.
- Dying Dreams: Detective Brydon Banach of the Stair Police Department is searching for a serial killer, the Oneirophage, the killer of dreams. But their fates of more intertwined than he thinks.
- Empty Rooms: Nadia Newcomb likes her job at the Hilbert Hotel. Sure, the hotel is kind of creepy at times (and the rooms seem to shift at other times), but it pays good money and she likes almost everyone she meets. Until the Mysterious Guest, Mr. Skolem arrives.
- Time Lapses: Muriel MÃ¼ller-Lyer is a projectionist at the newly renovated Catoptric Theatre. Except by looking into the back of the projector, she can see more than the film. She can see another world entirely.
- The Backward Arrow: The Aponym are finally making their move and the end will be here soon. Lila Chaser, Brydon Banach, Natalie Newcomb, and Muriel MÃ¼ller-Lyer all have to find each other and figure out how to stop them before they bring about the endless emptiness.
Tropes used in these unfinished stories:
- Affably Evil: Mr. Skolem.
- Alien Sky: At the Heat Death of the Universe, the Aponym have eaten all the stars.
- Ancient Conspiracy: The Colophon, a conspiracy of librarians.
- Anyone Can Die
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Logovores (servants of the Aponym) caused the burning of the Library of Alexandria, the downfall of Abyssinia, and the disappearance of all of Earnest Hemingway's early work.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Lord Nelson, a homeless man who believes he's, well, Lord Nelson. Fighting some strange version of the Battle of Waterloo.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The Aponym are entropy creatures from the end of time and have sent back a logovore to destroy the Stair Library. Lila stabs it in the spine.
- Eldritch Abomination: The Aponym, the Teeming Emptiness.
- The End of the World as We Know It: The Unfolding, where the Aponym not only eat all information in the future, but reach out into the past to eat it everywhere.
- Eye Scream: The Oneirophage takes out his victims' eyes.
- Genius Loci: Implied to be all of Stair itself.
- Mental World: Lila goes to hers after she looks into the knot hole.
- Portal to the Past: Subverted; by looking into the Knot Hole, Lila is able to dream she is in the past.
- Psychic Dreams for Everyone: Though this is mainly because they all live in Stair, a very weird city.
- Serial Killer: The Oneirophage.
- Shapeshifter Swan Song: The logovore Lila stabs starts doing this before it runs away.
- Shout-Out: To MC Escher, as well as various optical illusions and paradoxes.
- Stable Time Loop: At the end of the first story the dead cat isn't really a cat.
- Time Travel: The Aponym are able to send back logovores through knots in time.