Showing posts from December, 2019

"Queers in Love at the End of the World" (2013) by Anna Anthropy

I wanted to start by saying that I'm late to the party, playing this well-known super-short IF game six years after its release. But then I considered how long it took me to pick up the Epic of Gilgamesh and I realised that six years is nothing. Less than it takes for a human body to decompose. So, without apologies or genuflections before the Idol of Recency, here I am, writing about Anna Anthropy's Queers in Love at the End of the World.

The central conceit of the piece is that you have exactly ten seconds to play it. Ten real-time seconds: there's a prominent timer counting down, and once it has reached zero the screen changes to the message "Everything is wiped away." (There's also a handy Restart link.) In the very brief meantime, you set out on a link-based exploration of a queer romance in those final moments before oblivion. Hold your loved one, kiss her, whisper something in her ear: there's quite a bit of content to explore, although exploring i…

Sexual jealousy and the fragile male ego in 1532

Suppose that you pick up a book published in 1532. You're probably not expecting its values to align very much with our own. Indeed, having seen that it's a fantasy epic full of riveting tales of knights and adventures, you might expect that you can have some fun with it, but on one condition: that you're willing to overlook its undoubtedly old-fashioned morals, morals that will surely include a healthy dose of sexism. Right? And very soon, just a few pages in, the book seems to make your worst fears come true. For here we have a lady hidden in the bushes, and one of the several knights who is in love with her walks into the glade -- without seeing her -- and starts to lament the fact that some other knight will by now surely have taken her virginity. And virginity, my friends, is the most precious of all a woman's treasures:

"The virgin has her image in the rose
Sheltered in garden on its native stock,
Which there in solitude and safe repose,
Blooms unapproached …