> interactive fiction & e-lit

One Computer Literature "e-List"

(Of What Some Call "Electronic Literature")

This is one particular sampling of some interesting works that can be read briefly, in many different forms. I put it together for a reading in Kendra Kopelke's 8 May 2002 class at the University of Baltimore. The constraints on my selection were that things had to run on my iBook's installation of OS X (Hypercard stuff worked for me, but I had trouble with Storyspace, and of course all Windows-only e-lit was out) and the work had to make an impression pretty quickly, since I chose to read from a large smorgasboard of e-lit. (Yes, I know "computer literature" sounds like the manual that came with your modem. But doesn't "electronic literature" sound so sixties? Like something you read as you listen to electronic music?) Here's what I came up with:

The Speaking Clock

John Cayley, 1995

screen from the Speaking Clock

Blue Company

Rob Wittig, 2001/2002

To be published via daily emails beginning May 13, 2002: subscribe for $15 at

some text and an sketch from Blue Company


Robert Pinsky, 1984

Programmed by Steve Hales and William Mataga; Published by Synapse Software

screen from the Apple //e Mindwheel

about so many things

Nanette Wylde, 1998

image from about so many things

The Unknown

William Gillespie, Scott Rettberg, Dirk Stratton, et al., 1997-Present

Online and free:

part of a page from the Unknown

The Ballad of Sand and Harry Soot

Stephanie Strickland, 2000

Online and free:

title image of a sand drawing from The Ballad of Sand and Harry Soot


Joseph Weizenbaum, 1964-1966

Online and free at many locations, in many implementations.

a bit of a session with Eliza


Adam Cadre, 1999

Available for free download:

a bit of introductory text from Varicella


Stuart Moulthrop, 1992

title screen from Dreamtime

... and I recommended students check out the works at Poems That Go, since work by their fellow UB fellow students is featured there. I guess I could have read something. But don't people read their fellow students' work on their own? At least once in a while?

nm 2002-05