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About the StoryA hole-based economy and a venison-based diet. You and your dog. And a turnip.
79th Place - 26th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2020)
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Number of Reviews: 8
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I doubt many English-language IF players know the name Yuri Mamleev, or a book of very strange short fiction collected in English under the title The Sky Above Hell and Other Stories. It is one of the few places I've seen fiction with a similar blur of realism and the grotesque, even in some places a similar tone. When these grotesque stories are executed correctly, they may not be "great" literature--but I tend to find them interesting, enjoyable, and above all memorable. For the length of this particular work, it is certainly worthwhile.
This is not a great work of IF. It is very light on the interactivity. As a piece of fiction, it is also not great. But IS certainly readable, and certainly more interesting than a lot of what can be found published in dozens of literary journals. It is a little sad this piece went unpublished as a regular story, but it is to the benefit of the IF community. Even with an IF Competition field of 100+ games, I imagine I'll remember this strange little story more than many longer and more interactive works of IF.
Anyone who likes the weird/strange/grotesque covered by a thin and warped veneer of realism should make a point of playing through this work.
It's the terse story of an ominous turnip discovery: you play as someone with a job digging holes in a field, and the story is delivered in a fitting tone. The story advances one link at a time, but you can take detours to examine different things along the way.
Those detours make The Turnip stand out. Something is not quite right even before the turnip appears, and the narrator's world-weary tone conceals oddities that would only be present in a world much different from our own. When you click to examine something closer, you might get the bland description of something dismissed as commonplace, or it could be the wild perspective of someone seeing the world as a swirling, colorful omelet.
I enjoyed this storyís skill and restraint. It didnít get bogged down with excess description, and it didnít trip over itself trying to deliver an in-depth examination of a world that is Not Like Our Own. A measured amount alienating details did a nice job of keeping me off balance while methodically trudging along an assigned path.
It was clean execution though, and I appreciated the author's "About" page at the end.
See All 8 Member Reviews
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