August 16th, 2005


rob swigart is king of the portal

I was going to be productive today, but I got sidetracked reading Portal: A Dataspace Retrieval, the 1986 marginally interactive novel for the Amiga 1000 that has been unearthed and reproduced for free online. The writing ranges from decent to substandard, the science is head-slappingly whonky, and the plot reeks of Scientology, but I just couldn't put the damn thing down. It's a story about a man who returns to Earth from a long space voyage to discover that humanity has vanished without a trace, its civilizations and technological wonders left completely intact. The only clue to its departure is a bewildered and confused storytelling AI, lost and alone without the guidance of its human masters, and its highly restricted connection to the rapidly decaying Internet.

Possibly the most interesting thing about The Portal is that it is told in the neo-1986 equivalent of a sequence of Google searches.