Infocom BOOKS

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Marc K. Newman

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May 4, 1993, 4:03:12 PM5/4/93
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There was a series of about 5 or so Infocom books published. They were like novels based upon the Infocom stories. Does anyone know about these, and if they are still available?

Marc

Milton Tinkoff

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May 4, 1993, 9:50:36 AM5/4/93
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In article <mknewman.736545792@node_d465>, mkne...@lescsse.jsc.nasa.gov (Marc K. Newman) writes:

Marc> There was a series of about 5 or so Infocom books published. They
Marc> were like novels based upon the Infocom stories. Does anyone know
Marc> about these, and if they are still available?

I never read any of them, but I saw three copies of Planetfall in a used
bookstore this weekend. I doubt they were more than $2 each.

-milt

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Milt Tinkoff | "No sir, I don't like it."
Silicon Graphics, Inc. |
mi...@sgi.com | - Mr. Horse

Christopher Browne

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May 4, 1993, 5:15:21 PM5/4/93
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I picked up Planetfall and Stationfall. They were not based AT ALL on
the storylines of the games for which they were named, which actually
was probably a good idea. (Otherwise, those that had played the games
would get annoyed when they realized that it was the same storyline,
only without the interactivity.)

The text wasn't exactly scintillating, but the books were at least
comparatively original. If someone were to say "I thought it was
trash," we'd have a hard time coming to complete agreement. They
weren't merely cheap rip-offs of the games, at any rate. They
probably DID take some time and effort to write.

There was also Spellbreaker and Wishbringer as books, I think.

As far as availability is concerned, I suggest you look at a used book
store.

--
Christopher Browne | Genius may have its limitations, but
aa...@freenet.carleton.ca | stupidity is not thus handicapped.
Moderator, Atari SIG, and possibly the Canadian Operational Research
Society SIG (Real Soon Now).

micah shane johnson

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May 4, 1993, 5:22:36 PM5/4/93
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In article <mknewman.736545792@node_d465> mkne...@lescsse.jsc.nasa.gov (Marc K. Newman) writes:
>

I picked up Planetfall(the book) a while back in a used bookstore for
about $2.25. It's not like choose-your-own-story book or anything.
It's essentially a novelization of the events in a successful game.

I've also seen Wishbringer in book form. What others are out there.
Also, a long time ago I had a book about ZORK for young kids. I think
I got it at a book fair in my elementary school. It had illustrations
and large print. I wish I could find it. I've torn up my house more
than once trying to find it. I guess it's lost forever. Perhaps a grue
got it?


--
Micah Johnson -- msjo...@ucs.indiana.edu
*******************************************************
* "Pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in *
* space 'cuz there's bugger all down here on Earth." *

William B Dwinnell

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May 4, 1993, 5:22:21 PM5/4/93
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Marc: Yeah, I own the "Enchanter" book. In my opinion, it was typical
second-tier fantasy which is all too common these days. Not bad, just not
enough to hold my attention for very long.

Steve Stelter

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May 4, 1993, 6:45:03 PM5/4/93
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mkne...@lescsse.jsc.nasa.gov (Marc K. Newman) writes:


>Does anyone remember the 5 or so Infocom Books published? I think a few of them were Zork, Planetfall and Starcross,
>but I think there were some other ones as well.

I bought "Planetfall" and "Stationfall" (by Arthur Byron Cover, I believe)
and I recall them being awfully incoherent, pointless, and all-around
bad. Unfortunately, I can't remember too many details, since it's been
a while, and I threw both books out a few years ago, which should tell
you something about my appraisal of them. A third book, "Futurefall,"
was announced, but I don't know if it was ever made.


--Steve Stelter
sjs2...@uxa.cso.uiuc.edu

Marshall Ryan Maresca

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May 4, 1993, 6:53:08 PM5/4/93
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In article <mknewman.736548246@node_d465>, mkne...@lescsse.jsc.nasa.gov (Marc
K. Newman) says:

>Does anyone remember the 5 or so Infocom Books published? I think a few of m
>the


>were Zork, Planetfall and Starcross,
>but I think there were some other ones as well.

I got all of those books, which were Planetfall, Stationfall, Enchanter,
Wishbringer, The Zork Chronicles, and The Lost Secret of Zork. All were decent
books, especially Planetfall. Stationfall was good as well, but very wierd.
Arthur Byron Cover was going to write a third, Futurefall, but it never got
done. Thus, we shall not find out the fate of Lt. Homer B. Hunter. Sad.

Marsh

Jason D Corley

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May 4, 1993, 7:42:04 PM5/4/93
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In article <mknewman.736545792@node_d465> mkne...@lescsse.jsc.nasa.gov (Marc K. Newman) writes:
>
>There was a series of about 5 or so Infocom books published. They were like novels based upon the Infocom stories. Does anyone know about these, and if they are still available?
>
>Marc


Yes indeed, and I would be willing to sell mine (The Lost City of Zork,
Enchanter, Planetfall and Stationfall (I think)) for the right price.
Email only, please.

(PS They aren't very good. Really they aren't.)


--
(1) Ignorance of your profession is best concealed by solemnity and silence,
which pass for profound knowledge upon the generality of mankind.
-------"Advice to Officers of the British Army", 1783
Jason "cor...@gas.uug.arizona.edu" Corley is thought to be armed and stupid.

Allen Garvin

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May 4, 1993, 9:14:11 PM5/4/93
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There have been different infocom books published. There were some recent
novels (I read the Zork one, and thought it funny and a nice light read,
but it didn't have much to do with games).
Plus there were some written by Steve Meretzsky some years ago. These
were for children. I have heard there are 4. I only have the first 3.
It's been a long time since I even looked at them. I think they were those
dreadful 'choose your own ending' type books, I don't recall. But I do
recall a letter in the New Zork Times about a woman someplace that got
the books removed from the school library because they glorify violence
and demon-worship. Meretzsky treated this pretty lightly, I believe.
What was the fourth book? Was it as bad as the rest?

-Earendil, the frequently vague

Philip Stephens

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May 4, 1993, 10:36:26 PM5/4/93
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Marc K. Newman writes:

I picked up _The Zork Chronicals_ from a second hand bookshop at the
start of the year. It was awful! The author was no writer (though the
cover said he'd won the Hugo award or something like it; I don't know how),
and his choice of locations from the Great Underground Empire included in
the story were uninspired for the most part. He threw in some passing
references to the Zork trilogy, but none of them were particularily
memorable. In short, it was a lost opportunity rather than a lost
treasure!
All of this is IMHO, of course! :-)

--
| Philip Stephens, Systems Programmer. | %%%% % Labtam Australia Pty Ltd |
| Address: 43 Malcolm Road, Braeside, | % % % % "Applied Ingenuity" |
| Victoria, 3195, AUSTRALIA. | % % % % We make the fastest RISC |
| Internet: phi...@labtam.labtam.oz.au | %%%%% %%%%% X terminals in the world |

Keith Lim

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May 5, 1993, 12:35:17 AM5/5/93
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It seems to be that pretty much everyone thinks the Infocom books are
mediocre at best; downright awful at worst. I have to agree. What do you
expect with the hack writers like Arthur Byron Cover and Craig Shaw Gardner
doing them? The only one that I found tolerable was Enchanter, by Robin W.
Bailey (anyone know why all the authors have three names?)

There is really only one Infocom game that I think could be the basis for
a really good sf book. No, not Hitchhiker's Guide (that was a book before
it became a game (and a radio series before it became a book.))

A Mind Forever Voyaging.

The book could cover the years before PRISM became aware of his true
situation. Write it in the same style as the article in the "magazine"
included as part of the game documentation, switching back and forth
between Perelman's work and "Perry Simm"'s life. The library files (in
the game) give lots and lots of background to the game setting, really
good atmosphere. All of it can be used as the material for the book; it
just needs fleshing out a bit.

The book could trace the "buildup" to the situation at the start of AMFV.
The gradual rise of the Church of God's Word, the arms race, the creation
of the BSF, Perelman's ongoing disagreement with the director of the project
[sorry, can't remember her name offhand--could someone remind me?], the
political career of Senator Richard Ryder, Perelman's research and
interaction with the "newborn" PRISM, etc.

In the other viewpoint, Perry Simm's life could be described in detail too.
All the incidents in his life: the playground and his meeting with the writer
[name?--Raj, was it?], his breakup and subsequent meeting of Jill, his
accident with the aircar, the death of Raj, his work in AI, his writing
career, etc.

As I said, lots of material just from the game itself, never mind what a
good writer could come up with on his or her own. The book would end where
the game begins: Perelman tells PRISM who he really is. It would make a
wonderful complement to the game.

It is a pity it never was written, though when I look at the hack job done
on the other books, I'm in a way glad that it wasn't.


-- | Simon Fraser University | SFU does not admit to having opinions of
Keith Lim | Burnaby, B.C., V5A 1S6 | its own; any found above are mine only.

Marshall Ryan Maresca

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May 5, 1993, 9:52:32 AM5/5/93
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<All the stuff on Mind Forever Voyaging book deleted. Sorry>

I thought about this as well, but I thought of it taking place AFTER the
game. They put PRISM on that final simulation to let him "live out his life",
right? Well, say they have to bring him out again? After a long time from
his perspective. He would be upset... perhaps even forgot that he was a
computer again... I think THAT would work very well. AMFV is one of my all
time favorites, and I would have LOVED to have seen this book done.


Marsh

Mike Rosenberg

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May 5, 1993, 10:36:09 AM5/5/93
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Saying they all were decent may be going a bit too far, but that's not why I'm
posting. Wasn't there also one based on Sorcerer? I mean, obviously it would
be a sequal to Enchanter, but I seem to remember there being one.

--Weasel

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*
* Mike Rosenberg | m...@casbah.acns.nwu.edu *
* | m...@pangaea.earth.nwu.edu *
* "Weasel is not a nickname -- | wea...@merle.acns.nwu.edu *
* it's a state of mind." | wea...@nwu.edu *
* | *
*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*
*"Ordinarily he was insane, but he |"He has the instinct for being unhappy *
* had lucid moments when he was | highly developed." *
* merely stupid. | H.H. Munro *
* Heinrich Heine | *
*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*


Steve Stelter

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May 5, 1993, 4:47:10 PM5/5/93
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Marshall Ryan Maresca <MRM...@psuvm.psu.edu> writes:

I'd love to see an adventure-game sequel to AMFV. After all, after PRISM
"leaves," the USNA will probably construct another sentient computer -- maybe
not for testing the viability of political plans, but perhaps for some other
purpose. You would take the part of this second computer.

Hey -- maybe the USNA builds *two* computers, and one of them goes bad. Only
you, the "good" sentient computer, can stop it, with the battle taking place
in simulations as well as the real world.

You could even bring PRISM briefly into the picture; by plugging into PRISM's
personal simulation databanks, you could "step into" the world of Perry Simm
and get advice or something from him. Steve Meretzky, are you listening?


--Steve Stelter
sjs2...@uxa.cso.uiuc.edu
\in a variety of simluation
zones

Steve Stelter

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May 5, 1993, 4:40:10 PM5/5/93
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ch...@fraser.sfu.ca (Keith Lim) writes:

>There is really only one Infocom game that I think could be the basis for
>a really good sf book. No, not Hitchhiker's Guide (that was a book before
>it became a game (and a radio series before it became a book.))

You mean PLUNDERED HEARTS?

>A Mind Forever Voyaging.

Oh. :-)

Actually, I think an AMFV movie would be great. AMFV is one of the few
adventure games to actually have a story, and the ending (a cross between
the endings of "Home Alone" and "Tapeheads") would be a sure winner at
the box office.

--Steve Stelter
sjs2...@uxa.cso.uiuc.edu

Molley the Mage

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May 5, 1993, 7:16:12 PM5/5/93
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In article <>, ch...@fraser.sfu.ca (Keith Lim) writes:
> It seems to be that pretty much everyone thinks the Infocom books are
> mediocre at best; downright awful at worst. I have to agree. What do you
> expect with the hack writers like Arthur Byron Cover and Craig Shaw Gardner
> doing them? The only one that I found tolerable was Enchanter, by Robin W.
> Bailey (anyone know why all the authors have three names?)

Excuse me? HACK writers? Pardon me for sounding touchy, but I don't
think that George Alec Effinger (author of _The Zork Chronicles_) can
be construed as a "hack" writer. How many Hugo awards have YOU won?

Craig Shaw Gardner is also the author of quite a few very funny and
very successful humorous fantasy books, the Ebenezum and Wuntvor
series, which I found to be sparklingly original. His recent efforts
to "re-tell" the Sinbad and Ali Baba tales have been very good as
well.

As it so happened, I _liked_ the damn books. Not to start a flamewar
or anything, but give me a break. Better check out your "also by the
same author" sections before blasting away next time, 'kay?



> There is really only one Infocom game that I think could be the basis for
> a really good sf book. No, not Hitchhiker's Guide (that was a book before
> it became a game (and a radio series before it became a book.))

Do you consider Douglas Adams a hack writer too?

> A Mind Forever Voyaging.

I have to agree with you here, though. The short story included with
the game was a tremendous piece of work; there is no reason to believe
the author of that couldn't have done a complete book which would have
been equally compelling. The game itself was one of Infocom's finest,
most thought-provoking offerings ever, and among my top three
favourites.

Didn't like the copy protection much, though :-)



> It is a pity it never was written, though when I look at the hack job done
> on the other books, I'm in a way glad that it wasn't.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. The authors of the books are crying all the way to
the bank. Look me up when you become fabulously successful and are
asked to write an Infocom book of your own. I bet you could do a
stellar job on _Moonmist_ or _Leather Goddesses of Phobos II_.



> -- | Simon Fraser University | SFU does not admit to having opinions of
> Keith Lim | Burnaby, B.C., V5A 1S6 | its own; any found above are mine only.
>

--
Sean
--
M. Sean Molley, CS Department, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY
RealSpace : (502) 745-4027 | Bitnet : MOL...@WKUVX1.BITNET | Life : Sucks
--
Two little kids, aged six and eight, decide it's time to learn how to
swear. "Okay," says the eight-year-old to the six-year-old, "you say 'hell'
and I'll say 'ass.'"
All excited about their plan, they troop downstairs, where their mother
asks them what they want for breakfast. "Aw, hell," says the six-year-old,
"Gimme some Cheerios."
The mother angrily backhands the six-year-old off the stool, sending him
bawling from the room. Turning to the eight-year-old, she grates "And what
will you have?"
"I dunno," quavers the eight-year-old, "but you can bet your ass it
won't be Cheerios!"
--

Keith Lim

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May 6, 1993, 2:45:13 PM5/6/93
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Marshall Ryan Maresca <MRM...@psuvm.psu.edu> writes:
><All the stuff on Mind Forever Voyaging book deleted. Sorry>

> I thought about this as well, but I thought of it taking place AFTER the
>game.

This would be a story set in an after-the-game time, which is similar to
the other Infocom books. I didn't like them much because they took existing,
already-developed characters and settings and just wrote stories around
them. The plots themselves weren't anything great; the settings/environment
for the most part weren't crucial to the storyline; and where characters
were developed, it wasn't done well. (All IMO, of course; you may disagree
at will.) I particularly disliked the way Floyd's character was "developed"
in Planetfall and Stationfall.

AMFV seemed to be one of the few games that had the potential for a detailed
*and* relevant backstory. (Suspended is another.) Add that to a framework
already given in the manual (presumably approved by, if not actually written
by Meretsky) *as well as* all the stuff in PRISM's library, and you've got
a book that would be a coherent and consistent complement to the game. The
existing Infocom books seem too much of the fan fiction variety, and sometimes
fairly superfically related to the original games.

Your prerogative to disagree; post your own views if you do. Flames, however,
will be a waste of your time.

Keith Lim

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May 6, 1993, 3:28:42 PM5/6/93
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sjs2...@uxa.cso.uiuc.edu (Steve Stelter) writes:

>Hey -- maybe the USNA builds *two* computers, and one of them goes bad. Only
>you, the "good" sentient computer, can stop it, with the battle taking place
>in simulations as well as the real world.

Hmmm. Sounds a bit like T2 meets Lawnmower Man [the movie, not the story]

Keith Lim

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May 6, 1993, 3:01:54 PM5/6/93
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>Excuse me? HACK writers? Pardon me for sounding touchy, but I don't
>think that George Alec Effinger (author of _The Zork Chronicles_) can
>be construed as a "hack" writer. How many Hugo awards have YOU won?
>Craig Shaw Gardner is also the author of quite a few very funny and
>very successful humorous fantasy booksi

How does the saying go..."You don't have to lay an egg to know its rotten."
Zero Hugo awards to my name, zero published works, but I still know what I
like. No, the Infocom books weren't universally bad; they had good bits in
them, but my overall impression of them was that they were mediocre. They
read like a fan fiction hack job using existing characters and settings
developed by someone else. Originality came only in the storylines (which
I thought were ok, but unimspired), and where original characters were used,
character development (this I thought was bad, esp. that of Floyd.)

Leave authors' other works aside for this; I was talking about the Infocom
books. Incidentally, yes, I do consider Douglas Adams a "hack writer". I
absolute love his works; they are extremly funny, but if you really take a
good hard look at them, they aren't all that different from, say, Robert
Asperin's Myth series. Not up to the standard of, say, R.A. Lafferty. Adams
had a bit of luck, more because HHGTTG was the first *radio series* to use
that manic style/mood/atmosphere. That was what got him noticed; the books
came later.

Ok, I'm digressing, and I don't want a flamewar any more than you do. (You
said you didn't.) For me, liking a writer (or thinking a writer is funny)
isn't mutually exclusive from being a hack writer, or for that matter, doing
the occasional bad job. Douglas Adams is a hack writer. I love his writing.
Not a contradiction. Perhaps we should just leave the issue alone and agree
to disagree.

>Look me up when you become fabulously successful and are
>asked to write an Infocom book of your own. I bet you could do a
>stellar job on _Moonmist_ or _Leather Goddesses of Phobos II_.

I don't have to lay an egg...ok, ok, forget it; I don't want to bring that
up again. I wouldn't touch Moonmist or LGOP (or Seastalker or Infidel or
most anything else)--it's doubtful that I would write anything above
mediocre, so I won't try.

Two games that I *might* try to expand on (and, you know, I just might one
day) are AMFV and Suspended. Steve Stelter suggested Plundered Hearts, which
is also good, except that that genre of fiction isn't to my taste, and I
would do an absolutely terrible job of writing something like that.

AMFV--read my earlier post. Suspended--the events leading up to the situation
at the start of the game. Who built the underground complex? Designed the
robots? The decision (and subsequent soul-searching?) to use a person in
suspended animation as the emergency backup system. A little sidebar on
cloning technology? The events centering around [my] predecessor, leading
to the destruction of Fred. (Maybe a little segment on how the remains of
Fred got lost, and only Poet knew where he was, or how to recognise him.)
And so on. Again, a before-the-game story.

Colin Stobbe

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May 7, 1993, 1:06:55 AM5/7/93
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>I got all of those books, which were Planetfall, Stationfall, Enchanter,
>Wishbringer, The Zork Chronicles, and The Lost Secret of Zork. All were decent
>books, especially Planetfall. Stationfall was good as well, but very wierd.
>Arthur Byron Cover was going to write a third, Futurefall, but it never got
>done. Thus, we shall not find out the fate of Lt. Homer B. Hunter. Sad.

Hello,
I thought Wishbringer was pretty good. Would have liked Planetfall and
Stationfall a lot better had it not been for the cliffhanger endings at the
end of the books (especially since the one in Stationfall wasn't resolved
GRRR!).

--
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Colin Stobbe | This account will die on May 10, so it'd be
sor...@draco.bison.mb.ca | best to use sor...@draco.bison.mb.ca
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark Christopher Macsurak

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May 7, 1993, 4:59:29 AM5/7/93
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In article <chil.73...@sfu.ca> ch...@fraser.sfu.ca (Keith Lim) writes:
>expect with the hack writers like Arthur Byron Cover and Craig Shaw Gardner
>doing them? The only one that I found tolerable was Enchanter, by Robin W.
>Bailey (anyone know why all the authors have three names?)
>

WELL, most people have three names. A first, middle, and last. The last name
is a family name, the first name is the "baptized" name or "given" name, and
the middle name is often a maiden name or some other name from the newborn's
family tree. I don't know who started this tradition, but it seems fairly
common in occidental societies, and in others as well.

I hope that answers your silly question.

-big...@leland.stanford.edu


Jorn Barger

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May 8, 1993, 2:43:21 PM5/8/93
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I hate to play "SticklerMan", but ***please***, respect the following
division:

rec.games.int-fiction is for Infocom nostalgia and hints, etc
(it's very active and welcomes such questions)

rec.arts.int-fiction is for discussion of interactive fiction *theory*
(it's slightly less active, and gets tired of hitting "n" ;^)

Crossposting to both is almost never appropriate.

--
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_/--o--_/-- "j^o"r^n" "b^a"r^g"e^r" --o-- ^jo...@chinet.chinet.com^ --_/--o--_/
_/--_/--_/--o--_/--_/--o--_/--_/--o--_/--o--_/--_/--o--_/--_/--o--_/--_/--_/

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