I dedicate The Situation to all of the passive-aggressive emotional vampires, cowardly blunderkinds, narcissistic sociopaths, and incompetent power-abusing managers currently lurking amongst unsuspecting office workers everywhere.
The above is the acknowledgment to Jeff VanderMeer's novella The Situation. Given the dedication, this is a story set in a corporate office and features a long suffering office worker with a worsening work-place situation. That's something so many of us are facing today, though to be honest, it's not a new situation for employees to be in. So, in that sense, The Situation is a perpetually topical story.
What makes The Situation stand out is that VanderMeer takes all the mundanity of working in an office and combines it with elements of absolute fantastic. The narrator's office is filled with the weird and surreal. The narrator appears to make educational products, except they are educational beetles that can crawl into an ear and teach the recipient. A major project is to make a fish that will swallow a child and after sensory deprivation, increase the child's facility at math. The corporate world of The Situation is utter madness.
If a story can truly be said to be "about" anything, The Situation is about a poisonous corporate enviornment. Coworkers once considered friends change as they are promoted. Managers can be absolute monsters. A new employee can alter the atmosphere of a workplace. It's a perfectly common story told with fantasatic literalizations of what occurs in offices around the country (perhaps world).
Damn, Jeff VanderMeer nails this one.
The Situation is available for download.