Book and Volume is set in the planned city of nTopia, its gridded structure inviting relatively open exploration from players while also functioning as a textual motif. Just as the urban design is highly regimented, so, too, is the work of the player character, a system administrator obliged to perform a series of rote and menial tasks.
Author description: An interactive fiction written in Inform and running on the Z-Machine, Book and Volume simulates an eventful day in a near-present factory town. The interactor is not offered adventure, monsters to defeat, or treasures to find, but a chance to perform the routine tasks of an information technology worker. As Brian Kerr wrote, "It's about a sysadmin in the weird, charming cyber-Gotham of nTopia who spends the last working day of his/her/its life rebooting servers and reacting to frantic pages from an unseen supervisor. ('Net extremely hoseled. Engine team being hideously masticated by this outage. Demo rapidly approaching. Get to the cages. Reboot the servers. Hasten. Do not rest. Please. All five of them.') What's the game really about? Knut, a resident of nTopia, pegs it: 'Reality. Illusion. Theme is reality versus illusion. Must discern reality. And illusion.'"
Instructions: To start Book and Volume, drag bookvol.z5 onto Spatterlight.app (Mac) or gargoyle.exe (Windows; the file is inside Gargoyle_Folder). Book and Volume contains a short, non-interactive introduction to interactive fiction, which can be seen by typing "I" after startup.
Previous publication:Book and Volume was published in The Iowa Review Web July 2006.
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.