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[eBook-List] [Fwd: Winchester's Nightmare: A Novel Machine]

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  • Deena Larsen
    -- ... Deena Larsen dlarsen@acm.org http://www.chisp.net/~textra Come on over to explore the amazing possibilities in hypertext ... WINCHESTER S NIGHTMARE A
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 2, 1999
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      Deena Larsen
      Come on over to explore the amazing possibilities in hypertext

      A Novel Machine
      By Nick Montfort

      Is now available (in "softback") from:

      Full installation instructions and a US-based http download option can be
      found at:

      Winchester's Nightmare is a work in Inform, premiered at Digital Arts
      and Culture '99 on October 29 in Atlanta. In its "hardback" form, it is
      a novel-length interactive fiction which includes a computer running
      software: a novel machine. The work consists of a primitive portable
      computer running a cybertext in the literary fiction genre, with a
      text-adventure interface. Ten hardbacks are for sale. The softback,
      available free, contains the entire text of the hardback edition.

      The main character of Winchester's Nightmare is the historical figure
      Sarah Winchester, nee Pardee, 1837-1922. Sarah is remembered for
      building onto her San Jose house constantly for more than thirty years.
      The official, and rather simplistic, explanation for this eccentric
      enterprise is that she was following the instructions of a spiritualist,
      seeking redemption for the many killings effected by the Winchester rifle,
      made by her husband's company. Sarah was made rich by the mass production
      of weapons, gave her name to the Winchester hard drive, and built an
      ever-sprawling house that serves as a metaphorical target for today's
      American city. In this work which treats themes of technology and American
      urban life, the interactor acts and explores through her.

      Winchester's Nightmare is about Sarah's psyche, and does not portray her
      house directly. While the Winchester Mansion seems rich in narrative
      possibilities, Winchester's Nightmare takes place instead in the composite
      metropolis of Sarah's dream, United City. This city is peopled with other
      characters and a plot (driven by Sarah's search for redemption) organizes
      the narrative. The setting, however, is the dominant element.

      United City is like Rockvil in Steven Meretzky's A Mind Forever Voyaging.
      It is an American city, one which the main character sees as home, and it
      is transformed through time. It is also like the landscape of Robert
      Pinsky's Mindwheel, in that it is a "mental map" of a character's psyche.
      Exploration of the world reveals aspects of the protagonist and her
      particular obsessions. The interaction with and completion of the text is
      motivated by series of challenges, as in text adventures. The puzzles
      presented are constructed for thematic appropriateness, and present to
      motivate exploration and reflection. The interactor will hopefully be able
      to engage with the work as literature, rather staying in a jigsaw-puzzle
      mode of thinking during all of the interaction.

      I welcome your comments - and, as much as one can welcome such things, bug

      -Nick Montfort nickm@... http://www.media.mit.edu/~nickm
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