For the last two weeks, strange, violent, or seemingly nonsensical comments have been appearing across unrelated Reddit threads. A mysterious user named _9MOTHER9HORSE9EYES9 (MHE) has been posting pieces of what appears to be a novel that draws heavily on historical events and religion, and show up in apparently random order. The piecemeal nature of the writing from this secretive author has led to a new online community that speculates on the work itself, and on MHE’s true identity.
A selection from MHE’s now deleted post
The Interface Series technically has no title, but that was the one chosen by the group of users in the eight-day-old subreddit r/9M9H9E9, which is dedicated to compiling the work as it unfolds, and theorising on what various unexplained terms might mean. It’s not an easy task when the the chapters leap around from the perspective of a CIA operative in present day, to that of a Nazi death camp administrator, to that of an ex-Hippie living near the Manson family in Death Valley, among others. At the time of this writing there are more than 30 posts, totalling over 17,000 words.
The chosen title is derived from the one consistent object tying these characters together: “flesh interfaces”, which seem to be portals of some kind, made of thousands of dead bodies, which transport biological matter to some unknown place and returns it inside a fleshy sack, heavily dosed with LSD. The users on r/9M9H9E9 have compared its bizarre mixture of science fiction, horror, and conspiracy theory to Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, though MHE claims not to have read it. “My favourite novelist is Jack Vance, though when I write about this information, I find myself thinking about Frederik Pohl’s ‘Gateway’ a lot,” MHE told Gizmodo over Reddit private message.
If the word “information” is off-putting, it’s because the author doesn’t acknowledge the work as fiction. “My information could, and indeed was, presented in a more straightforward fashion,” the author wrote, “but people took little notice of it. So I have decided to present it to others as it was originally presented to me: cryptically and in pieces.” When asked to clarify who had “presented” these things, MHE stopped responding. All we know about MHE is that he claims to be male, American, and in his 30s, according to a now-deleted post that’s been archived by the subreddit dedicated to his work. Of course any of these biographical details could also be intentional misdirection.
As to why he posts to “threads whose relationship to their content is, at best, tangential”, MHE claims to have tried disseminating his story through a website, which received fewer than 400 visitors per month by his recollection. By searching for key terms from the text, I couldn’t find any evidence of such a website existing, though it could have since been deleted.
A screenshot of MHE’s private message response
Some Redditors speculated that Anatta-Phi, a regular conspiracy theory poster on another subreddit, might be MHE’s real identity, as pointed out by Motherboard. Motherboard also claims to have received additional chapters from MHE, though users of r/9M9H9E9 are sceptical. In two separate instances, someone also appeared in the subreddit’s dedicated IRC chat claiming to be the real MHE.
While some users enjoy the race to discover MHE’s identity, arguably the most fascinating part of the entire endeavour is its pace. Since starting the project, MHE has posted at least one chapter every day since April 21st (except May 1st), but often posts as many as three or four. The suspense of the subject matter is, in a way, enhanced by the suspense of never knowing when the next chapter will appear or whose point of view it will be from. The most recent post from MHE is buried beneath deleted comments in a thread on r/DIY called “I built a World Map dining room table.”
And no one has any sense of how long the project will continue for, least of all the author himself. “The endgame is simply that the story comes to a conclusion and everything is made clear i.e. the connections between what wasn’t, what is, and what can be. I am fairly in dread of the task,” MHE told Gizmodo. “I don’t know exactly how I will do it. I think we shall see that what is actually uncovered is the uncovering itself.”
You can read what exists so far of The Interface Series here.