Archive for the ‘compendium’ Category

A Fall from Height

Friday, December 2nd, 2011


This is part of an experimental storytelling series. To avoid potential spoilers and because context is important, if you are new to this project, please begin with the Introduction located here. -SpaceBass

With today's episode, we take our first step into the more speculative portion of this project, where its intended audience comes into play. I had little expectation that the casual reader would make this particular leap.

Good storytelling encourages us to look past words and to explore the deeper meaning and symbology behind the construction of a fiction. Fiction can be mere entertainment but it can also be a shared lie that is told to convey a greater message, delivered by a necessarily abstracted reflection of reality.

Short stories are difficult to write, in that the constraint of length allows little room for inclusion of intricate secrets. However, it was my hope that one who read through this particular story twice would notice that virtually every word seems intentionally chosen for multiple purposes, and that the additional perspective lent from the first read significantly altered the perception of their meaning during the next. Of course, this needed to be subtle enough that one was not required to see it unless there were a desire to look – the story should still stand on its own.

There are several themes throughout the text; one is reflection. The "Service" and the "Machine" are two sides of a coin. The man and woman are another. Even in their world everyone dies but they make different choices in how to approach their destiny.

If we read through the story a third time, now focusing on her, we may see how certain of her actions could be interpreted in more than one fashion but for the most part her role appears relatively shallow compared to his.

This disparity in overt depth of his story versus hers may then cause the reader to question the purpose behind her fate. Why spend so much time building an alternate narrative for him but not for his complementary counterpart? Was it only laziness or did the author really intend to lead inquisitive ones to this barren cliff, yet leave no further options but to fall from it?

Please post your comments in the discussion thread linked from the trout icon below.

Download Text
233KB PDF, 13 pages, approximately 5,000 words

If you enjoy this series, please consider making a donation to Unfiction to help support the continuation of our site and services.

Big thanks go out to my friends Krystyn, Andrea, Jon, Cary, and Dina, whose assistance was invaluable in constructing this series. Thanks also to the guys at the Machine of Death for the inspiration.

Natural Causes, Redux

Thursday, December 1st, 2011


This is part of an experimental storytelling series. To avoid potential spoilers and because context is important, if you are new to this project, please begin with the Introduction located here. -SpaceBass

Since unexpected twists are rarely so, perhaps this one will come as no surprise. The second title in our series is only slightly less traditional, Natural Causes, Redux. Now that you have read the text posted earlier today, please read it again bearing in mind the reveal included in the ending chapter. Does his story – his actions, emotions, and perceived motivations – now evoke the same feelings and understanding as before?

I should note that technically this idea violated one of the contest rules barring simultaneous story entries. Please post your comments in the discussion thread linked from the trout icon below.

Download Text
233KB PDF, 13 pages, approximately 5,000 words

If you enjoy this series, please consider making a donation to Unfiction to help support the continuation of our site and services.

Big thanks go out to my friends Krystyn, Andrea, Jon, Cary, and Dina, whose assistance was invaluable in constructing this series. Thanks also to the guys at the Machine of Death for the inspiration.

Natural Causes

Thursday, December 1st, 2011


This is part of an experimental storytelling series. To avoid potential spoilers and because context is important, if you are new to this project, please begin with the Introduction located here. -SpaceBass

The first title in our series is a traditional short story, Natural Causes; I hope you enjoy it. Please post your comments in the discussion thread linked from the trout icon below.

Download Text
233KB PDF, 13 pages, approximately 5,000 words

If you enjoy this series, please consider making a donation to Unfiction to help support the continuation of our site and services.

Big thanks go out to my friends Krystyn, Andrea, Jon, Cary, and Dina, whose assistance was invaluable in constructing this series. Thanks also to the guys at the Machine of Death for the inspiration.

The Countdown Clock

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011


This is the introduction to a series of posts regarding an experimental project I began earlier this year. Updates will be released over the next few weeks. -SpaceBass

Perhaps you have heard of the Machine of Death, an anthology of short stories edited by Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo, and David Malki !, those stories gleaned mainly through a public submission process and contest. Each story is based on the same shared concept, that there is a Machine that can predict the exact nature of a person's death. This past Spring, a second iteration of the contest was launched in order to compile a second volume of stories.

Several aspects of the contest and guidelines inspired me to write and submit my own, albeit by taking a slightly unusual tack. I prepared eight stories and began a ninth, which I will need your help to complete.

It would have been nice – although unexpected – to have been accepted to the volume but alas, I did not win. However, that fact allows me to present my project to you sooner rather than later. While the contest rules provided me with a set of constraints within which to work, my intended audience from the start was the Unfiction community.

One of the submission rules required an arbitrary formation of the title of a story: it had to be a death prediction. Tomorrow I will begin posting a download link to my story submissions (in PDF format) and over the next few weeks, I will provide updates with each title. For the time being, I will ask that you not redistribute the downloaded text and instead link others to this page if you wish to share the experience, as context is important. I may release the text later under a Creative Commons license, after this experiment has run its course.

I hope that this series will spark some interesting talk on the forums and I am excited to be able to discuss it with you as it progresses. Links to the current discussion (if any) will be provided with each update in the series (look for the trout icon, as below). It should be noted that while I consider this project to be more than a few short stories, it is not an Alternate Reality Game. However, its construction and themes should resonate with our community.

One of the contest guidelines instructed authors to assume that their readers would already be familiar with the underlying concept. Since you may not be, I encourage you to read up on it, via the contest's about page, the submission guidelines, and perhaps a couple of their posts about story direction and submission considerations. None of this is required reading but it may help to begin establishing the context of this project as a whole.

If you enjoy this series, please consider making a donation to Unfiction to help support the continuation of our site and services.

Big thanks go out to my friends Krystyn, Andrea, Jon, Cary, and Dina, whose assistance was invaluable in constructing this series. Thanks also to the guys at the Machine of Death for the inspiration.

The Puppetmaster-Player Communication Dynamic in Alternate Reality Gaming and Chaotic Fiction

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

Related Article: Undefining ARG

In a previous article, I discussed Chaotic Fiction as a concept and as a context for a better understanding of Alternate Reality Gaming. This was intended more as an overview and did not address in detail the gaming dynamic, the process, or the chaotic play of Alternate Reality Gaming. How does it work? What engages an audience? Which elements are necessary to facilitate the growth of the audience, and which elements can be discarded? Why does there have to be a "curtain?"

Many discussions focus on only one of two aspects of the experience as being the primary drivers within the medium: (1) Dividing the audience into discrete groups and (2) defining types of "real-world" game interaction mechanisms. Because the process of Chaotic Play is so different from that of more traditional gaming and entertainment pursuits, I believe that the metaconversational space shared during the creation of a chaotic enterprise should be the focus of the perspective from which we describe the system.

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