Q. As someone who grew up playing Infocom’s Zork and Deadline, I’m curious to know more about this novella — what attracted you to the company as a source of literary inspiration?
A. I loved those games. I loved the spirit of the culture that created them. There’s a lot of talk right now about the potential technology holds for literature. There’s always been, really, but there’s remarkably few instances where the experiments have captured or compelled readers. There was this sweet spot between 1976 and maybe 1985 or so, when both the Infocom games and the Choose Your Own Adventure books were consuming people. Some essential element existed between the technology’s limitations and the reader/player’s imagination. That constrained interactivity. Then, extinction. It had this perfect storm of circumstances— technology with graphic infancy, post-60s/pre-Yuppie dreamers and smart-asses, talented writers with voice. I wanted to write a little about that time in transition, to imagine fiction arouvond the sort of guys behind it all. The novella seemed like a perfect form for a fleeting time the equivalent of blockbuster formal experimentation.