Level End by Brian Oliu
When you arrive, the music changes. In Level End, Brian Oliu treats you as a player rather than a reader, providing a video game walkthrough made of lyric essays, guiding you through the toughest boss battles. In this world, though, the pixelated enemies you face are uncannily familiar: angry family members, lost loves, yourself on a night after too much wine. Oliu’s game-inspired pieces are labyrinthine and beautiful–you’ll want to get lost on the way to the nearest save point–and they serve as a constant reminder that what you find at the end might not be at all what you expected.
$7; 32 pages
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“Among the recent wave of young writers with a literary interest in video games, Brian Oliu is both the least literal and the most successful in representing their strange, surreal logics. His lyric essays read the way video games felt before they understood themselves: mysterious, lonely, sad, funny, weird, existing in their own desire as much as (or more than) their bodies. They read the way it feels to remember something incorrectly.”
-Mike Meginnis, Editor of Uncanny Valley
“While less alert minds go on arguing whether video games are good or bad for us, Brian Oliu stands tall in a generation of writers who know our games are us — more than metaphor, more than fantasy, our questing characters are our questing selves, and art that moves us like Level End is the gem in the labyrinth we’re after.”
-Steve Himmer, author of the Bee-Loud Glade
More praise and publicity for Level End around the web:
Vidja Games and Mystery by Mike Meginnis at HTMLGIANT
Story on Tuscaloosa Runs This at the Crimson White
Awful Interview with Laura Straub at Vouched Books.
Check out previously published pieces included in this chapbook:
Save Point: Hot Springs & Boss Battle: The Final Boss at DIAGRAM.
Boss Battle: The One With the Long Neck at elimae.
Boss Battle: My Brother Who Controls the Weather at RealPoetik.