FREEBOOK FRIDAY: Zac’s Haunted House


Hello, Loyal Readers! Every Friday I look around the internet for something free that’s worth reading and this week I’ve found

The Book

Zac’s Haunted House, in case you couldn’t tell from the title is a horror story. It’s written by Dennis Cooper. But one thing that isn’t given away in the title is that which sets this ‘novel’ apart from all others–It’s made up almost entirely of animated gif images (for time-travelling readers visiting my blog from a pre-1995 era, .gif images are commonly used to create the illusion of animation). Nevertheless, ZHH bills itself as a novel, and I’m always down to try something new.

Why I Picked It Up

Because I thought it sounded like a neat idea. After all, the old adage states that a picture is worth a thousand words. And modern animation runs at 12 frames per second, so that’s 72000 words per minute, right? A new speed reading record!

What I Like About It

I exaggerated in the last section, but I really do value the image’s ability to instantly impart information which the written word could take pages and pages–too much exposition syndrome, anyone? Imagine if, in your novel, you could establish setting, mood, character, even direction in less than one second.
Regarding ZHH, I like the premise, and I like some of the images used. I also love the idea of the experiment–what about an animated novel?–And I really like that this is the first novel to try the idea.

What Could Be Better, If Anything

Well, I’ve read the first two chapters and, though there are some relatively spooky images (trigger warning: all of the triggers), I have yet to find any sense of PLOT. Yes, Plot, the one thing that distinguishes a novel from a… not… novel… thing. Chapter one seems to describe a lot of images of death and chapter two images of falling and money, but I don’t yet see any conflict or, most importantly plot. There’s no cause and effect that I can see linking any of these images. And without characters to relate to, it’s hard to find out why I should care.

As a matter of fact, this “novel” seems to lack all of the elements that make a novel a novel.

But as always, you should check it out for yourself and leave a comment letting me know what you think about it. what makes a novel a novel? Should we let some ancient classicists tell us what a novel needs to contain? Is it more than a collection of imagery? Let me know in the comments!

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