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The Daughter

by GioBorrows


Web Site

(based on 13 ratings)
8 reviews

About the Story

In the far future everybody is queer, immortal, childless and looks like hot 30 years old. The first daughter born in thousands of years is found killed under mysterious circumstances. As her native community grieves and is forced to grasp the concept of death for the first time in millennia, a logic-worker from out of town is asked to investigate.

Game Details


69th place - 27th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2021)


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Number of Reviews: 8
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Most Helpful Member Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
An incomplete futuristic investigation game, October 24, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes

One trend in IFComp is that an unfinished game will place near the bottom of the comp, regardless of any other positive features it might have. There are some exceptions, but they are rare.

This game cuts off right after a big investigation. The idea is that humanity has moved on from reproduction, and everyone is now immortal, there are dozens of different pronoun options (the most meaningful choices in the game are centered around terms of address and pronouns), and everyone is smart and cool. The first biologically born person in millenia has been found murdered.

There are multiple typos (although literally as I was playing the game for 20 minutes near midnight on a Saturday, the author updated the game, which was a fun coincidence), such as 'TALKED WITH' instead of 'TALK WITH'. I also found the jumping between perspectives a little confusing as well.

Due to the confusing language and the errors and the unfinished aspect, I didn't find the game polished, descriptive, emotionally engaging, or something I'd like to revisit for now.

I do think the general idea is a good one. A game like this would probably do better in Introcomp, which was definitely underpopulated this year.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
I never had a clue what was going on, October 5, 2021
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: About 15 minutes

I feel like if you don't read the blurb on the IFComp website, then you will never have a clue what is going on in this story. Even if you do read it, your head will likely still spin.

I'm not sure if the author's first language is something other than English, or if they were trying to be exotic/futuristic with the way some words were spelled, or if there were just several dozen typos. Whatever the case, it made it really hard to stay in the rhythm of the story.

The choices given to you are minimal, and towards the end of this short piece, there is a segment of text that goes so long in between choices that I had to scroll the screen of my tablet several times to find the next hyperlink, all the while having no clue what was being talked about.

Finally, the game ends unceremoniously and without any indication that it is the end. The text just ends without another hyperlink. Either it ended or it was a glitch.

I hate giving one-star reviews, but I just couldn't find anything to like about this piece.

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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
Promise unrealized, November 21, 2021
by Mike Russo (Los Angeles)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2021

(This is a lightly-edited version of a review posted to the IntFict forums during the 2021 IFComp. My son Henry was born right before the Comp, meaning I was fairly sleep-deprived and loopy while I played and reviewed many of the games, so in addition to a highlight and lowlight, the review includes an explanation of how new fatherhood has led me to betray the hard work the author put into their piece)

In just about any work of art there’s a gap between ambition and implementation. Occasionally this I because a modest premise is realized with far more care and attention to detail than it need, but more often it’s because an author’s reach exceeds their grasp. There’s certainly nothing wrong with being overambitious and stretching one’s limits, but there’s also little more frustrating than seeing an exciting idea weighed down by failures of execution.

Starting out this way obviously focuses on the critique side of things – and from the numerous typos, confusing scene- and character-shifts, frequently-odd worldbuilding, and abrupt ending, there’s definitely lots there – but I don’t want to underemphasize how good the premise is. The structure of a murder-mystery provides a great framework for exploring an alien society, as a variety of suspects can show off the different kinds of people who live in the world, and a detective’s probing questions can elucidate its hidden depths and tradeoffs, so that’s a great starting point. And the particular crime and alien society we’re talking about here – the death of the one young person in a far-future earth whose immortal residents have removed themselves from the cycle of reproduction – seem like they’d be really interesting to dig into.

The game gives occasional hints of paying off this setup, but due to the issues mentioned above, my time with it was really unsatisfying – especially the sudden-ending thing, since the game cut off just as I was starting to get my bearings. I’ve seen other reviewers speculate that some of the wonkiness here might be intentional. The typos and grammar errors could potentially bespeak a Riddley Walker-style attempt to present a far-future evolution of English, for example, and ending the investigation before it gets going could indicate a pomo refusal to endorse detective-fiction tropes.

But if that’s what it’s doing, the game doesn’t even wink at the player to help bring them into the gag, so I’m left just hoping that this is an IntroComp style teaser, and we’ll eventually see a version of The daughter that gets closer, if not all the way, towards its ambitious promise.

Highlight : After finishing the game, I reread the blurb, and some of the info stated there helped me better understand and appreciate what was going on.

Lowlight : Part of the setup is that the post-scarcity residents of the new earth have mostly decided to reshape their bodies so they’re perennially “hot 30 year olds.” Being told about a “middle aged man looking a good 10 years older than anybody else” – i.e. 40, my age – and his unkempt appearance and “short and messy graying hairs” made me feel even older and more decrepit than usual.

How I failed the author : I was playing on my phone and kept getting interrupted, and maybe because my cookie settings were messed up, every time that wound up resetting the game, so I wound up playing the opening like three or four times.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Much lost in translation (I think), November 30, 2021
by Andrew Schultz (Chicago)
Related reviews: IFcomp 2021

I got a bit confused by this one, and from other reviews, it seems like I'm not the only person. A very promising premise fizzles out quickly. While staying young's been done in Brave New World, and I remember a short story by Martin Amis where homosexuality became the norm and reproduction was an arduous process, The Daughter combines these concepts and throws immortality on top. Not only that, everyone's been immortal for a while, and there's no age when people grow old and die, to be replaced by others. This brings up a lot of different, interesting issues. For instance, nobody remembers how to bring a child up.

So how do people react to stuff that's totally new to them, but we take it for granted? This applies to both the issues of murder and the childbirth. I suppose someone had to see a child some time, but it was 2500 years ago, and immortality without infinite memory means you forget a lot. And won't the world get overcrowded if nobody dies?

But The Daughter never really explores these issues. The main incident also seemed a bit foggy and didn't have the emotional impact it should have, too. Why did it happen? I have my guesses, but it's unresolved. There are parts which could be very funny indeed even if they don't fit the tone established e.g. "There seems to be a weird obsession on true crime stories in pre-immortal society." This sort of thing seems to reinforce that, even though English is not the writer's first language ("hot 30 year olds" seems unintentional, though,) they have an eye for the important, but maybe they just got a bit glib here or rushed it. But when the story describes everyone as looking like "hot 30 year olds," I expect the translation may be off-base.

And The ending seemed abrupt. I read back to see why it should be. I didn't get the significance of the hotel--was the main character accepting his own mortality?

I checked off with other reviews on this, because it felt like it should have been more than it was. Joey Acrimonious's review in particular articulated some concerns I had. It feels like the author had a relatively strong vision and the ability to get it across, but they didn't. I'd be interested to hear more from the author, because despite my criticisms, this doesn't feel close to a total throwaway. Just be prepared to be let down by a sudden end.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
"There is nothing that can be said...to console us in our loss.", November 13, 2021

This was a short, choice based story set in the future. The description tells us that a girl has died and our player character is Angra, the investigator. I thought the tone of the story was kind of odd. A lot of the writing is what you might think of as traditional sci-fi: futuristic technology in an advanced society, effective world-building, presented with slightly disaffected, clinical descriptions. A server is called a "food-giver." Other occupations include "logic-workers" and "wet-workers." Then there are moments that are worded in ways that feel different from the rest, such as, "The doctor by now is ugly crying," and the reminder that everyone is "...a hot 30 years old looking person..." We get to think about how living in a violence-free world of immortals would affect us, such as when one character asks if a murder suspect should face any penalties. In response, the investigator answers, "Punishment seems pointless." We are told in the description to think of the story as the first episode of a larger narrative. Perhaps we will get to see more of this world one day.

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