Recommend me some "mindfuck" fiction

Every once in a while you come across something so bizarre or surreal that you either have no idea what’s going on, or your mind actually adjusts to a level where you understand the allegory (or whatever) and end up thinking in completely terrible logic that would even be shaky in THAT universe for a week. Some examples of this include FLCL, the last couple episodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion, Serial Experiment: Lain, or to use a non-anime example, Carol’s Alice in Wonderland/Beyond the Looking Glass or maybe Disney’s Fantasia (well, those are more whimsical than “mindfuck”, but the nonsense makes it fit in my book).

I tend to like things on the extreme end of the spectrum either “vibrant” and “colorful” or otherwise “whimsical” (i.e. doesn’t take itself seriously) or really, really gritty or dark (any mix of these works too, I’d love a surreal whimsical noir). But anything is fair game really, books, music, movies, video games, TV, alien holocrons, if you can think of anything so bizarre or lacking sense it makes the heads of most mortal men spin I’d love to hear about it.

On the off-chance that you don’t know the Illuminatus!-trilogy, that’s pretty much the definition of mindfuck.

I’m going to start by suggesting the movies “A scanner Darkly”

an underrated (if admitedly flawed, particularly because of the choice of animating some sort of lifeless robot for the main character instead of a human) rotoscoped adaptation of the Phillip k. Dick story and “Donnie Darko”

Weaveworld by Clive Barker kinda had that effect when I first read it.

I think the Neuromancer books by William Gibson will interest you.

Amazon review:

“Our hero, Case, is a cyber-freelancer, able to jack himself into computer-systems and experience cyberspace as a three dimensional reality. Case, however, tried to steal from one of his more dubious clients who subsequently infected him with a Russian mycotoxin, effectively rendering him incapable of cyberspace work and therefore unemployable. We therefore meet him, down on his luck, and mixing with some rather eccentric characters in a downtown bar in Japan.
For me, it reads like `The Maltese Falcon in Space’. There is a pervasive noir element, since Case - like many a Nineteen-Forties gumshoe - is forced to take on a job, the full details of which he is not fully aware. There’s a beautiful and dangerous woman (by the name of Molly) and a mysterious benefactor (who turns out to be a rogue Artificial Intelligence, intent on freeing itself from its security programmes) as well as a supporting cast of neon-lit lowlife.”

Anything by Jack Ketchum, but I highly recommend Off Season for something horrific and surreal. Even now, I think it holds up to other works that have surpassed it in shear brutality (it was published in the 80s) and it’s unflinching portrayal of how ghastly the prospect of cannibalism really is. Say, as opposed to the Hannibal Lecter version. :wink:

Well, there’s this book, you see… But the first rule of this book is that you can’t talk about it. And the second rule is that you do not talk about it…

I came in to mention that (unsurprisingly). By the same author is the Schroedinger’s Cat series which is also pretty trippy (but in a good way).

Not sure if these qualify, but I’ve often held that 2/3 of the perfectly revolting film festival would be the movies Eraserhead by David Lynch and The Forbidden Zone. Trying to describe these movies, let alone explain them, is damned near impossible. The movies are set in worlds that make Alice in Wonderland seem blissfully sane and normal.

(The third film in my proposed trilogy, Tod Browning’s Freaks, is also practically normal in comparison.)

Don’t know if it is actually a mindfuck, but I’ll recommend “To Reign In Hell” by Stephen Brust. Does that fit?

Irvine Welsh wanders into some strange, dark, funny territory at times. I’m not sure it’s quite what you’re after, but the thoughts of the tapeworms up a fat copper’s arse (Filth), body swapping while tripping on acid (Acid House), or giving someone else your hangover (The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs), is mindfuck territory for mine. Heck, with Welsh, the whole of Scotland in general and Edinburgh in particular, is deeply fucked up (and piss funny).

If you like that kind of thing. :dubious:

Remainder by Tom McCarthy - that’s one fucked up book right there. Horrible because it starts so reasonably, and the madness it insinuates into the reader builds up so subtly.

The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe. Another book written from the PoV of someone who is insane. More in-your-face than the first one, but artfully done.

The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith by Peter Carey. Carey’s blurb on the back talks about what it would be like if the membrane between reality and unreality were to tear slightly. This achieves it, in an entirely unnerving way - it’s so similar to our world, yet so different, which is creepier than merely being fantasy.

You will love Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. It does something to your brain.

Right now I’m reading Crash by J.G Ballard. It’s a real mindfuck on a multitude of levels. The story itself has no real cohesive plot, but involves a few people who have had car accidents in the past and now find that the only way to get off is to involve the car in some way in their sexual exploits. The car crashes themselves become sexually gratifying and they’ll cause them for sexual fulfillment. But it’s even creepier when you realize the protagonist is the author himself and he’s using the book to explore his relationship between sexuality and technology.

Dan Simmons’ first novel, Song of Kali. Ugh. I felt I went through a total breakdown along with the main character. Now I have kids I doubt I could read it again. Won some prestigious horror award or another.

THAT is excellent.

What order would you show them in? Start with Freaks & get weirder or use Freaks as a brain-cleaner after the first two?

Nothing by John Waters or H.G. Lewis?

Try anything by Chuck Palahniuk and read Mark Danielewski’s “House of Leaves” and “Only Revolutions.” The latter will mess with you while you’re trying to figure out what PAGE you’re on…the book is written with a first page on both covers, one “upside down.” The text crosses in the middle so you read the upside down text through to both ends. Err…that doesn’t sound like it make sense, but trust me, it does.

Waters and Hershel Gordon don’t begin to approach the weird of the three I listed, IMHO.
You probably already have it, but have a look at Re/Search’s book Incredibll Strange Films. Gordon gets a whole chapter to himself.

K W Jeter’s Dr. Adder sprang to mind immediately.

There’s a strong Philip K Dick influence.

If you want mindfuck lite, Delicatessen.

(and another vote for Eraserhead)

ETA: Should I worry that I didn’t find Lain particularly mindfucky?