“Fallin: Rankin’s Tale” by CB Archer

Our hero in this story is obsessed with collectibles and cola.  Luckily his new game is full of both.  In his quest for the prize “D” (wink wink) he stumbles into a secret section where he gets rather more “D” than he was expecting, along with LOTS of cola, except that it’s actually, well, let’s just say “product.”  If you have a low tolerance for descriptions of swallowing “product,” then this is not the story for you.  On the other hand, if you want a metaliterary, meta-gaming story in which the main character is perfectly aware of the literary conventions into which he is falling, but falls into them anyway, be prepared to laugh till you snort up your cola (or whatever else is currently in your mouth).    This story, like the others I’ve read in the series, walks a line between sublimely ridiculous and just plain silly (or possibly offensive), and somehow makes it work.  The outrageously explicit everything, including references to the construction of the text itself and its status as a made-up text about a made-up game (hence, twice removed from reality), could have fallen horribly flat, but instead the narrative bounces along, one step from disaster but still somehow miraculously triumphant, like one of its own game characters, and produces a product that is unexpectedly Fapple-flavored.

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