Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Man Who Killed Time (review)

"The Man Who Killed Time" is a web-based fiction by Claudia Doppioslash entered in the 2015 interactive fiction competition.  I picked this from the list because the blurb intrigued me, and because I hadn't seen it mentioned in any other blogs.

I called it "web-based fiction" rather than "interactive-fiction" because there were really only two branch points in the entire story.  Because of the lack of interactivity, I think this story (about a time travelling detective) would have been more appropriately entered in a short story competition.  Many players will judge it harshly for being off-category in this competition.

I read through the whole story, which took about twenty minutes.  Then I read again, to all the possible endings (there were only two).  More after the spoiler break.

The story is about a woman who approaches a detective with a pair of photos, one of which could only have come into her possession through some mystery of time travel.  The detective is a time traveler, so he should be well equipped to study the mystery.  However, at the story's end the mystery has not (as far as I could understand) yet been solved.

One branch point, near the beginning, ends the narrative prematurely.  The detective never hears the woman's case.  No story.

A second branch point, near the end, seems to have no consequence.  The story ends the same either way.

As short stories go, I may not be the best person to judge.  I am an impatient and easily distracted reader, which is why I prefer interactive fiction.  Other stories in this competition force me to reflect on what I just read and make decisions before turning the page.  This one...the concept is intriguing and it started well.

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