A Sketch

She drew in her sketchbook and waited for the noodle shop across the street to open. She watched the workers outside. A man walked over and began talking with them. She could not hear, but could see from his expression that he was explaining something. The other men nodded and laughed. He turned his head… Continue reading A Sketch

Under the Crescent Sun

“Sorry about the tea. I know it’s weak.” Marnie hustled among the dozen or so people, handing out plastic cups. “I’ve relied on my SmartKettle so long now that I’ve forgotten how to make it properly.” A few nodded and smiled. “I thought we could go around the room and introduce ourselves and just say… Continue reading Under the Crescent Sun

Jimmy the Fire Truck

The accident had devastated Mike and Jeanine Miller, and after the surgeries they were told that Jimmy would require ongoing life-support technology in order to survive. They discussed the cost and agonized over the decision of whether to pull the plug, but then their doctor pulled them aside and said there was a radical, untested… Continue reading Jimmy the Fire Truck

Famous Castaways

History.com has 6 stories of individuals marooned at Sea “Selkirk may have believed that a passing ship would pick him up in a matter of weeks, but he would eventually spend more than four years and four months alone on the island. He passed the time by notching the days and months on a tree,… Continue reading Famous Castaways

A Tin Can

I was reduced to crawling through the dirt. My legs and back were done. On the upside, being near the ground meant I could better see any movement among the leaves and trash. Movement meant something living, and that meant food.

I inched along toward a wooded area and my hope grew as I neared a rotting log. I struggled to flip it and saw dozens of larvae and some larger bugs scurrying around. I gleefully reached in and got a fistfull of rotting wood and grubs and picked out the larvae one by one with my lips, as though kissing them. I didn’t chew – just let them slide down my throat.

A Darker Horse

The speaker crackles and a voice says, “Hello Finn. Apologies for the circumstances. You understand how privacy is paramount. Your past assignments have shown you have the skill to erase digital histories and now I need you to erase some… for me. This job will require more… delicacy. I’m prepared to triple your rate.”

Finn smiles. “I’m all yours.”

Discussing Sci-Fi Storytelling & World Building with Writer Jon Spaihts

A rewarding interview with one of the writers of the ‘Alien’ prequel, ‘Prometheus’, Jon Spaihts:

His bit about the central predicament defining the protagonist is obvious, yet insightful.

And he goes on about making narratives compeling:
“There are three motives of story that matter: having something that you hope for, having something that you fear, or having a burning question that you need answered. Any one of them is sufficient. If you can have more than one of them running at one time, or all three—you can be afraid of one thing and fearful of another and desperate to understand some mystery that’s been dangled in front of you, then you are maximally engaged, all three motors running.”


A ChoiceScript game I wrote in November 2010 has been ported to an app!

To get a taste of what it’s about, play Zebulon online, or get the iPhone or Andriod app

iTunes customers have given it 4.5 stars!

“Brings back good memories!… Back before computers and video games were common place, these books were such a fun way to spend time. Decent writing and lots of fun choices to make, about to read it again and see how it ends this time.”

“Fun adventure… Good story, a number of different choices with consequences, and a chance to name your own starship – goldfish not included. Thanks for creating a fun app!”

“Really good… I really enjoyed this adventure! It’s absolutely one of the best choice games I’ve ever played! Really well written, good job all the way around.”

More information at http://www.choiceofgames.com/2011/12/announcing-zebulon/

Or see the original entry from Nov. 2010:


(latest revision: 2010/12/20)

This was entered into the 9th Casual Gameplay Design Competition where it lost the 3rd-place slot by something like 1/100 of a point.

The engine is the ChoiceScript engine, which is essentially a set of JavaScript libraries and is intended for the creation of interactive naratives, somewaht similar to the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure stories from the 1980s.

There are no graphics, but there is no typing either, as there was in Zork and those other classic Infocom games. Instead, every few paragraphs the reader is presented with a multiple choice about how the plot should unfold. It’s a fascinating and unique genre.

The prior examples of ChoiceScript games I had seen were quite dramatic, so I wanted to do something more whimsical. With the 1980s on the brain I decided that “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” would be an appropriate starting point and I tried to channel the spirit of Douglas Adams as I wrote the game.

I’m in discussion with the guys who wrote ChoiceScript about porting the game to a mobile app, but that is still in the works.

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