September Meeting Post Mortem

The People’s Republic of Interactive Fiction met on Monday, September 27th, with a quorum of eight. (Apparently it’s fever season, as a couple of people stayed home sick.)

The most exciting news first, even if it’s only exploratorily exciting: the IF Theory Book project has been roused from a long hibernation. This is a collection of IF essays and articles that Emily Short began compiling back in 2001. It was never completed, due to publishing problems and general lack of time, and it’s been on a shelf for most of the years since then. Now, as Emily posted today, the PR-IF’s own Kevin Jackson-Mead has agreed to take over the effort. He has begun contacting the original contributors, in order to decide whether it’s worth moving forward again, with what revisions, and in what form.

In local IF-writing news, Jason McIntosh is finishing up his IFComp entry, and Kevin Jackson-Mead plans to pick up and complete his IntroComp entry Waker. Watch for progress and post-mortem blogging on The Gameshelf.

Aaron Reed’s new book, Creating Interactive Fiction with Inform 7, is out! A copy appeared at the meeting to prove it. (At least three copies, probably.) We discussed the book and how it works as a tutorial, as a programming example, and (perhaps) as a book for students. (Brendan Desilets declared that he would happily use it in a school course.) We also compared it to resources like Writing with Inform and Ron Newcomb’s Inform 7 for Programmers.

Also on the subject of manuals, Andrew Plotkin noted that he’s working on a new Unofficial Documentation Index of the Inform 7 manual. This is based Sean Barrett’s old doc index, but updated to the current I7 release. It’s not finished yet, but what exists is usable.

Andrew Plotkin gave a quick overview of the IF activity at PAX Prime in Seattle. (Summary: pig prints.)

In upcoming events, we have the Tufts Interactive Fiction Month. PR-IF folks are hosting several of its events. Nick Montfort is also giving a talk (Oct 16) at the Boston Book Festival, on the future of the novel — or whatever forms of literature the future hold. And for Halloween, we expect to run another IF play session: The Lurking Horror, followed by a tour of the appropriate areas of GUETech — I mean, MIT campus. Details to come.

Farther off, there’s the Cambridge Science Festival and PAX East 2011. We plan to run IF events at both. And finally, Nick suggested the idea of adding IF works to the Electronic Literature Directory. (Suspect and Winchester’s Nightmare are already listed.)