Journal: News & Comment

Sunday, February 04, 2001
# 8:47:00 PM:

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Bad fiction -- the easy way

Writers are always writing. That doesn't mean that we're always writing well, however.

Years ago, I used to write stories with other people, using online bulletin board systems (BBSs). Typically, the BBSs (a.k.a. boards) were microcomputers (Apple IIs or Commodore 64s) in someone's bedroom or closet, connected to a modem that let one person at a time dial in, read and write messages and e-mail, and so on. The boards had fanciful names -- in the case of our story-writing ones, The Crunchy Frog and The Twilight Zone.

The advantage of having only one person at a time dial in was that no two people could contribute to the story at the same time. That avoided confusion and chaos.

Since then, some of us have made other attempts to write chain stories on the Internet, but they never quite work the same way, because in order to avoid the confusion and chaos, the people who set them up have to impose an arbitrary order in which people write. Maybe someday soon we'll be able to set up something where anyone in the contributor list can write at any time, but no one else can write simultaneously, thus closely emulating the old BBS method.

Here is our latest attempt at an Internet chain story -- so far it's some sort of sci-fi thing. There is also an archive of a few of our ancient tales, some dating back to 1987.

Enjoy. Most of it is pretty cheesy.


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