As promised back before the competition, the idea sparked by one of the
inevitable pre-comp 'Why can't we enter long games in the competition?'
threads has actually come to fruition. Thanks to the HTML prowess of Mark
Musante, and the host-supplying Ivan Cockrum, the IF Book Club now has a
web site, at:
The web site goes into more detail, and I'm attaching the FAQ to this
message, but the basic gist is this: Every month or so, we'll pick a game
to be featured, and announce it. Then everyone has a month to play the
game, if they haven't already. Then, we discuss it. That's pretty much
The game we're starting with is 'Losing Your Grip'. It's available on gmd
or from Stephen's site at
You should use the lastest incarnation of TADS to play it--a bug was fixed
in the interpreter around version 2.4 that is known to cause problems in
the game. Interpreters for TADS games can be found at:
Windows95+ users can safely use the file htads_playkit_251.exe or
Stephen's own interpreter, WinTADS-132.zip
So if 'Losing Your Grip' is one of those games you always meant to get
around to playing but never did, now's your chance! Play it during the
month of January, and we'll start discussing it here (on
rec.games.int-fiction) in February. Also in the works are ifMUD
discussions about it, and a discussion on rec.arts.int-fiction about the
writing of it. These events will be announced as they are planned ;-)
In case you still have questions, I'm attaching the FAQ below. You can
also visit the web site for the same FAQ and for more information, or
e-mail me (lps...@rice.edu), or post here.
[Oh, one last thing--some of you may remember that last time you checked,
I was planning on naming this thing the "IF of the Month Club". I went
with "Book Club" instead because I didn't necessarily want to be stuck to
a monthly schedule, because it was simpler, and, mostly, because everyone
was remembering it as 'the IF Book Club'. Who am I to argue with the
The Interactive Fiction Book Club FAQ:
What is the IF Book Club?
The IF Book Club is an informal orgainization designed to promote works of
IF that may not have received the attention they deserve in the past, or
that deserve a new look today. Every month or so, we will select a new
game, announce it on this site, and set a timeframe for playing and
What is the purpose of the IF Book Club?
The IF Book Club was conceived as a way to garner more discussion for
larger works of IF. One of the strengths of the Annual IF Competition is
that tremendous amounts of discussion is generated in the voting
aftermath, and authors get a lot of feedback on their work. Our hope is
that by using a somewhat similar structure to that event (having a
particular designated time to play the games, and subsequent designated
time to discuss them), the same volume of discussion can be had for works
that otherwise might be neglected.
How do I join?
There is no formal way to join the Club--any and everyone is invited to
play the month's selection and discuss it afterwards. Announcements will
be made on the newsgroup and here as deadlines pass, discussion starts,
and new games are selected. You can join in (and drop out) at any time.
But I really want to participate!
If you're that gung-ho about volunteering, you can visit our volunteering
page, where you can sign up to be a firestarter.
What's a firestarter?
A firestarter is someone who agrees beforehand to post a somewhat longer
article to the newsgroup about a particular aspect of that month's
selected game. Each month, a new group of firestarters will be gathered,
and each given a topic as needed/desired. Each game will be different,
but typical topics might include puzzles, replayability, believability, or
Is that a review?
A firestarter post is not intended to be a full review by any means, but
merely a way to start focussed discussion about the game. If you pulled
all the firestarter posts together, you might have the basis for a
I've been inspired by the discussion about this game, and want to write a
Great! Please do! There are a few places you could publish your
reviews--simply posting them to the newsgroup is one option, but so is
submitting it to a on-line 'zine like SPAG or XYZZYNews. Remember
that these 'zines often have certain simple guidelines you should follow
when submitting reviews or articles to them--visit their sites for more
information. In particular, SPAG asks that you refrain from mentioning
any spoilers in your review.
So I can use spoilers when discussing the games for the Club?
Yes! In fact, spoilers are *encouraged* during the discussion. One of
the advantages of this format is that by the time the game is being
discussed, there will be a significant number of people who have all just
finished playing the game. IF Book Club discussion is for these people.
The discussion will be archived, so those who have not played it will be
able to revisit the discussion later if they so desire. As a courtesy to
those who read the newsgroup who may not have been able to play the game,
please be sure to put '[IFBC]' in the subject of your post, and this
should warn readers of spoilers in your post.
What about spoilers for other games?
Spoilers for other games are also encouraged--there is a lot of potential
grist for discussion in comparing and contrasting different works of IF.
However, since the casual reader may not expect these spoilers, please
preface your post (or that section of your post) with an appropriate
warning, and a few blank lines before continuing.
I'm playing the game, but I'm stuck. Help!
Often, there will be walkthroughs or hints available for games by the time
they end up as an IF Book Club selection. However, if this is not the
case or should you simply want to avoid the walkthrough, everyone playing
the selection is encouraged to post hint requests to the newsgroup. In
addition to providing you with the specific hint you may need, it has the
added bonus of generating more traffic and interest about the game on the
I don't want to play this month's selection. Is there something else?
In the future, we are considering having more than one selection at a
time, but we need to see how it works with just one before branching out
in that direction. In the meantime, there are certainly other works of IF
out there, both new releases and old which deserve play and consideration.
The IF Book Club doesn't aim to take over the newsgroup, merely to
What about new releases?
There is a natural cycle of release/play/discussion that every game
struggles to find when it is released. The IF Book Club is not currently
aiming to solve the problem of new releases falling through the
cracks--other, different efforts are needed to resolve this problem. One
such attempt is the IF Review Conspiracy, hosted right here on textfire
(and might I add, here, a hearty thanks to Ivan Cockrum for providing this
host as a kind of IF clearinghouse for the community!)
Is there anything else you're not telling us?
Well, since you asked...
The IF Book Club has a more subtle goal. We want to change the way the
newsgroup thinks. We want to instill a habit of playing a game, then
discussing it as a community. If we succeed, we should make ourselves
obsolete, because every game released will be discussed simply as a matter
of course. The IF Book Club would like nothing more than to fade into
obscurity as crufty unnecessary formalism surrounding a vibrant, organic
discussion-based community. We'll see if that happens ;-)
It looks great! Appealing layout and the picture is perfect. Nice job,
"'Losing Your Grip' involved neither losing nor a grip. Discuss."
-- Linda Richmond, Coffee Talk.
Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.
>It looks great! Appealing layout and the picture is perfect. Nice job,
I second that but...(uh oh but!) I'm curious as to where the picture
came from. Very attractive. But I'll be darned if that book doesn't
look like an old West Reporter (legal cases) from the last century.
The color of the cover and the red and black stripes on the binding
would identify it as such. I see those a lot in my work, sitting on
llibrary shelves, and it was a little disconcerting to see one in an
Web Site: <http://home.epix.net/~maywrite>
"The map is not the territory." -- Alfred Korzybski
>On Thu, 06 Jan 2000 15:57:45 GMT, J.D. Berry <jdb...@my-deja.com>
>I second that but...(uh oh but!) I'm curious as to where the picture
>came from. Very attractive. But I'll be darned if that book doesn't
That graphics looks an awful lot like the graphic on the suite101 IF