By Terry Miles
Del Rey, 2021
Rabbits is science fiction novel set in the present, with no spaceships or aliens, just a lot of weirdos on the internet obsessing over trivia. It's a cross between magic realism and epic creepypasta, with an emphasis on creepy. It is set in the world of the ongoing Rabbits podcast produced and written by Terry Miles, but works as a stand-alone novel.
Rabbits, AKA The Game, is maybe a thing where if you look for clues and odd coincidences, you might be playing. If you play for long enough, it might be the sort of game you can win. If you win, you might get your heart's desire, or some money, or something. No one's really sure.
The 11th (?) iteration of The Game is different, however. This time people are dying. I mean, more then they were, probably. K is a long-time
player of the game, and he and a small group of obsessive-compulsive friends are ready to hit the ground running when the 11th Game is announced. They are hardly fazed when the starting phrase, "the door is open" is uttered by a minor politician who commits suicide on camera just after uttering the fateful words. They quickly become more fazed as people start disappearing, dying, and/or stalking them.
The Game presents "clues" in the form of synchronistic events, anachronistic clues, hidden codes, and spurious Mandela effects. Naturally, this makes a good setting for reality-bending not-quite-horror, although that's not quite what the players are looking for. It slowly emerges that some players are looking for very different things, things much more important that riches, and possibly even more important that one's heart's desire.
With 400 pages of slowly escalating minor oddities, this book is a bit of an engaging slog. It's good reading, but it's also a lot of time spent being uncertain if there's going to be a payoff, and given the nature of the story, I'm not going to give any spoilers on that front. It is also extremely Seattle-centric, a bit hipster, and very much of the internet age. I don't regret reading it, but I don't strongly recommend it either -- unless you're looking for a creepypasta beach-read. In that case, it's perfect.