At the recent ELO conference in Montréal Leonardo Flores introduced the concept of “3rd Generation” electronic literature. I was at another session during his influential talk, but I heard about the concept from him beforehand and have read about it on Twitter (a 3rd generation context, I believe) and Flores’s blog (more of a 2nd generation context, I believe). One of the aspects of this concept is that the third generation of e-lit writers makes use of existing platforms (Twitter APIs, for instance) rather than developing their own interfaces. Blogging is a bit different from hand-rolled HTML, but one administers one’s own blog.
August 26, 2018
July 6, 2014
The New York Times has an article (online today, in print tomorrow) entitled “Text Games in a New Era of Stories,” about ye olde interactive fiction and new-fangled manifestations of it, including Ms. Porpentine’s Howling Dogs and Ms. Short’s Blood & Laurels.
(Okay, it must be admitted that even The New York Times didn’t refer to the author of Howling Dogs as “Ms. Porpentine.”)
December 11, 2013
Slavoj Žižek did not write a twine game, but Alan DeNiro did. It’s called We Are the Firewall, and it has more rodents than Rat Chaos. It twists and communicates with the whole category of Twine games quite well, and the writing is quite compelling, and it’s well worth reading/solving.
DeNiro, by the way, is the author of (in addition to short stories and novels) the uncanny interactive fiction Deadline Enchanter, which I also recommend.
July 9, 2013
January 10, 2013
What is it that those who have it hate it and oppose it, but those who lack it desperately want it and imagine it?
Deb Chachra called my attention to Infovore’s new canonical list of “hypertext literature / interactive fiction / digital narrative.”
I certainly don’t object to the exercise of blog-based canon development. Back in 2004 I presented a canon-like list of Atari VCS games. Thinking up the list and discussing it online were very useful to me as I started formulating the book I’d later write with Ian Bogost, Racing the Beam. Some of the discussion was “what about this game, why not that game?,” as one commenter noted, but really not much of it – more often we ended up discussing why the focus on the Atari VCS, or what qualities make a game worth studying, or how gameplay and graphics/sound interact, etc.
November 8, 2012
Illya Szilak interviews Nick Montfort in the article “The Death of the Novel: How E-Lit Revolutionizes Fiction,” the first of a series of posts on electronic literature.
March 18, 2012
I was recently notified that “The Purpling” was no longer online at its original published location, on a host named “research-intermedia.art.uiowa.edu” which held The Iowa Review Web site. In fact, it seems that The Iowa Review Web is missing entirely from that host.
My first reaction was put my 2008 hypertext poem online now on my site, nickm.com, at:
Fortunately, TIWR has not vanished from the Web. I found that things are still in place at:
And “The Purpling” is also up there. Maybe I was using a non-canonical link to begin with? Or maybe things moved around?
March 7, 2012
We have an amazing Spring 2012 Purple Blurb lineup, thanks to this academic year’s organizer, Amaranth Borsuk, and featuring two special events and readings by two leading Canadian poets who work in sound, concrete, and conceptual poetry. The Purple Blurb series is supported by the Angus N. MacDonald fund and MIT’s Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies. All events are at MIT and are free and open to the public.
Monday, March 19
Author of Carnival, The Black Debt, Seven Pages Missing
Professor and David Gray Chair of Poetry and Letters, SUNY Buffalo
December 19, 2011
Here’s an announcement about a new, free hypertext authoring system from my collaborator Alex Mitchell:
We are pleased to announce the first public release of the HypeDyn
hypertext fiction authoring tool: http://www.partechgroup.org/hypedyn
HypeDyn is a procedural hypertext fiction authoring tool for non-programmers
who want to create text-based interactive stories that adapt to reader
choice. HypeDyn is free to download and open source, and runs on Linux,
MacOS and Windows. You can download HypeDyn from
HypeDyn was written in Kawa Scheme, http://www.gnu.org/software/kawa/
November 22, 2011
An exhortation for those creating or researching electronic literature to please submit to Electrifying Literature: Affordances and Constraints, the 2012 Electronic Literature Organization conference. The gathering will take place June 20-23, 2012 in Morgantown, West Virginia. A juried Media Arts Gallery Exhibit will be held from Wednesday, June 13 through Saturday, June 23, 2012 at The Monongalia Arts Center. Registration costs have been kept down to make it easier for writers and artists who don’t have institutional travel support to be part of the event.
The deadline for abstracts & proposals is November 30, by the way.
May 16, 2011
Since I mentioned some funny CYOA-like smut that has recently issued from the IF community, I’ll also suggest a less lewd piece of branching narrative, one which allows the reader to make choices early in the text and in the story’s past: Andrew Plotkin’s The Matter of the Monster. Perhaps it’s a case of the folktale wagging the dog – in any case, it’s brightly written, cleverly put together, and worth reading.
May 15, 2011
I believe that Curveship and the example game Lost One may have just recieved their first roasting, thanks to the firepower of the S.S. Turgidity and the intrepid, enterprising player character Stiffy Makane. The “erotic adventures” that unfold in The Cavity of Time, released as part of the Indigo New Language Speed IF, allow you to jump everything within reach. And, just to be clear, to fuck all of those things. If you were offended just now, let me suggest that you don’t fire up this Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-style garden of fucking paths. Otherwise, this offering, written in the slick Undum system, may please you. Not like that. I mean it may amuse you.
March 29, 2011
I strongly encourage those of you who haven’t seen it yet to check out Brian Kim Stefans’s Introduction to Electronic Literature: a freeware guide.
Right now it is “just” a list of links to online resources, from Futurism through 2010, that are relevant to understanding different important aspects of electronic literature – making it, reading it, sorting through different genres, and understanding its historical connects.
March 25, 2011
In 2001, Beehive was the first Web publication to print a creative digital media piece of mine, “The Girl and the Wolf.” I had written this story back in 1997 in Janet Murray’s Interactive Narrative class at MIT. (These days, I teach this class here at MIT.) It was strongly inspired by the readings of folk tales we had done in Henry Jenkins’s Children’s Literature class. “The Girl and the Wolf” is a very early creative piece of mine, but I remain pleased with the systematic concept and with what I wrote. It’s a simple arrangement of nine versions of a story, allowing the levels of sex and violence to be increased independently. With some contemporary references and a few other turns of phrase, I introduced only a few deviations from well-known folkloric versions of the Little Red Riding Hood story.
July 1, 2009
Chris Klimas, the hypertext and IF author who runs Gimcrack’d, has just released free versions of Twine for Mac and Windows, along with documentation and several screencasts that explain how the system works and a command-line tool, called “twee,” for working with stories in Twine’s format. Twine is a system for constructing interactive stories using a visual map, not unlike Eastgate Systems’ Storyspace. While it lacks the august heritage of that piece of software, Twine is freely available and free to use for any purpose, even commercially.