Searching for Short Stories about Hidden or Liminal Spaces
February 15, 2022 4:15 AM   Subscribe

In line with the recent Metafilter threads about someone getting lost in a hotel and discovering abandoned rooms with confusing architecture, I'm looking for short stories and videos with the same vibe! Ideally they would be under 10k words / less than 20 minutes and science fiction, but I'm open to other recommendations.
posted by Trifling to Media & Arts (20 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
You cool with anime? Dennou Coil is finally on Netflix.
posted by Mizu at 4:32 AM on February 15, 2022


Best answer: J.G. Ballard's Report on an Unidentified Space Station
posted by mattholomew at 5:18 AM on February 15, 2022 [4 favorites]


Best answer: One of the earliest novels I read as a child had this in it. I remember it being good. It was Tree House Mystery (14) (The Boxcar Children Mysteries) .

I imagine it's a simple account. But, if you're looking for a variety of sources it could be valuable.
posted by bbqturtle at 5:52 AM on February 15, 2022 [1 favorite]


Best answer: That pretty much typifies the short fiction of Jorge Luis Borges, especially Ficciones (Fictions). Great, unforgettable stuff.
posted by jabah at 6:15 AM on February 15, 2022 [4 favorites]


Best answer: The SCP Foundation has plenty, including SCP-087: The Stairwell. Though I am just now discovering that the site has been redesigned and the tagging system that would have been useful for finding more location-based SCPs has been deleted or obscured.
posted by ejs at 6:39 AM on February 15, 2022


The book Implied Spaces by Walter Jon Williams would probably scratch your itch, although it's obviously longer than what you're looking for.
posted by Spike Glee at 6:56 AM on February 15, 2022


Best answer: Heinlein wrote a short story called “And He Built a Crooked House”; I can’t remember the length of it, but it’s not novel length.

It’s been a long while since I’ve read it; Heinlein’s work has some baggage that hasn’t always aged well, but I don’t remember anything specifically off about this one.
posted by furnace.heart at 6:59 AM on February 15, 2022 [1 favorite]


Piranesi is a short novel set in this kind of environment.
posted by migurski at 7:42 AM on February 15, 2022 [10 favorites]


Little, Big, by John Crowley has a house with confusing architecture, but it's a very long novel
posted by dhruva at 8:43 AM on February 15, 2022


Best answer: It's a little longer than 20 minutes, but the first segment in The House on Netflix does some cool and eerie things with this idea.
posted by cakelite at 9:07 AM on February 15, 2022


A novella rather than a short story, but A Short Stay In Hell by Steven L. Peck.
posted by caek at 9:39 AM on February 15, 2022


A.E. van Vogt's Quest For The Future has some sequences set in a huge, seemingly abandoned structure.
posted by Rash at 9:41 AM on February 15, 2022


If you ever feel like taking this vibe in the direction of scary, esoteric, and long, The House Of Fallen Leaves is the favorite book of a dear novel-loving friend. I only read the first fifty pages or so and was too willied-out to go further. It weighs a pound or more.
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 2:10 PM on February 15, 2022


Best answer: the site has been redesigned

That's a copy. The real site is https://scp-wiki.wikidot.com/scp-087
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 2:51 PM on February 15, 2022


Best answer: A short film The Backrooms recently appeared on Youtube that's like the fictional version of that Twitter thread about the guy stuck in the big conference hall.

The Many Place is an episode of Creeped Out featuring an infinite(?) hotel hallway.
posted by subocoyne at 5:15 PM on February 15, 2022


Best answer: That's a copy. The real site is https://scp-wiki.wikidot.com/scp-087

Thanks! Here are all the SCPs tagged with "location."

Here are all the SCPs tagged with "building."

Here's the infamous Infinite IKEA SCP.
posted by ejs at 7:05 PM on February 15, 2022


Response by poster: Thanks everyone for your help! I'm planning on using them in a middle school class, so the children's lit and videos are also appreciated. Now to go read and watch all of your recommendations.
posted by Trifling at 7:39 PM on February 15, 2022


The title story from Steven Millhauser's The Barnum Museum would definitely fit the bill, unless you need it to have a plot per se.
posted by babelfish at 8:28 AM on February 16, 2022


I'm planning on using them in a middle school class
In that case, I take back my recommendation of A Short Stay In Hell. It's about combinatorics, vertigo, sin and infinity.
posted by caek at 11:37 AM on February 16, 2022


I liked the 3D walkthrough of this house for sale so much, I made a post here about it. Can you find the bathtub?
posted by Mchelly at 9:52 AM on February 17, 2022


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