I tried out the new Frankenstein app/novel by Dave Morris for inkle and was confounded at first. It resembles games so far as you constantly have to make choices: after reading a section you must choose between a number of headlines, a choice which directs your path through the story.
What troubled me was that I am a meticulous reader of the old school who believes that you have only really read a book after consuming more or less every single letter (including tedious prefaces and, God help us, credits). To see whole sections just fade away was, in a way, scary. But also interesting, since to choose something is also always to reject something else, and here that becomes more than obvious. What I soon came to understand, as have the teenage readers in this article from the Irish Times, is that your choices depend on, and possibly also say something about what kind of person you are. You, as a bystander, could be appalled by the whole man-creating business and select a header such as “A new race? Surely you don’t intend…” Or perhaps you are the curious type who inquires: “What are these wires connected to?” Later on, as the monster, you can choose to be a brute or to go the more sophisticated way.
It’s a shame though, that whatever choices you make you finally end up at the same place. What I would like to see next is a book where different choices take you down entirely different routes, to a number of different endings. That would truly exemplify how one’s life is made up of choices, options, and mere chance.
Wish list – Stories I’d love to have inkled:
- Auster’s The New York Trilogy
- Conrad’s Heart of Darkness
- Kafka’s The Trial
- Nabokov’s Lolita, and
- Shakespeare’s Hamlet. To begin with.