The IF world, like most artistic fields, is seasonal, and as in music and (to an extent) film, August is a slower month, full of what David Rakoff called “the opposite of hanging out.” If fall and spring are full of new content, awards and the occasional conference or two, late summer is that in-between season, one that looks languid on the surface but conceals a lot of hard work. Dozens of authors, as you read this, are preparing competition entries for the September deadline, or solidifying commercial pitches, or — for those really ahead of schedule — getting their work playtested.
If you’re like me, you’re taking a lot of breaks from being hard at work for such edifying pursuits as playing Minesweeper ripoffs and looking at online auctions for swing coats. But if you’re not like me, you’re using that time to read Issue 64 of SPAG — one I’m especially proud of!
For Issue 64, we’re taking an especially broad view of interactive fiction and its connections, both obvious and not, to other fields. This issue features the dubious, beyond-spotty history of interactive film, the evolution of storytelling in hidden-object games, and the applications of parser games to artificial intelligence research. Of course, we’ve got plenty of more traditional coverage as well, including a Specifics entry on Caelyn Sandel’s episodic piece Bloom and an interview with Brendan Patrick Hennessy, whose Birdland flew away with an entire gaggle of XYZZY Awards, as well as other, less forcedly metaphorical praise.
After you’re done reading, perhaps you’d like to contribute to our next issue? Issue 65, like this one, has no formal theme (as we’ve seen, these things tend to come together organically), but as always, welcome are:
- SPAG Specifics on stories of your choice. These are less traditional reviews and more in-depth critical pieces on how a particular piece does what it does.
- Interviews and/or reviews of figures in the IF world and/or adjacent to it, defined broadly.
- Live coverage, if you live in an area with a significant live interactive fiction presence. This can range from exhibitions to conference coverage to performances to whatever the world dreams up. (Free pitch idea: if you’re a reader in the Toronto area attending the 2016 Wordplay Festival in early November who is not me, I’d like to hear from you.)
- Essays of any kind. The more unexpected, the better.
- Basically anything you can think of related to interactive fiction will be considered!
As always, I welcome pitches by and about women, people of color, LGBT and otherwise underrepresented writers. Also: there is payment commensurate with standard online writing rates.
Send pitches to firstname.lastname@example.org. There’s no deadline, but I’d love to hear from you! In keeping with our rough quarterly schedule, Issue 65 will likely arrive around late fall or winter. (What this means for you: anything related to 2016’s competition entries is probably best suited to #66.)
Thanks for reading as ever! We hope you enjoy this issue, and send us the makings of another great one.