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Nov 16

2018

Stronghold: A Hero’s Fate — Defend your people from invading monsters!

Posted by: Rachel E. Towers | Comments (0)

We’re proud to announce that Stronghold: A Hero’s Fate, the latest in our popular “Choice of Games” line of multiple-choice interactive-fiction games, is now available for Steam, Android, and on iOS in the Choice of Games Omnibus app. It’s 33% off until November 23rd!

Defend your stronghold from invading monsters and lead your people to glory! Rule your territory, punish your enemies, and build your legacy in an epic fantasy tale that spans decades.

Stronghold: A Hero’s Fate is a 250,000-word interactive fantasy novel by Amy Griswold and Jo Graham, where your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Monsters have plagued your valley for as long as you can remember. But if anyone can destroy them, it’s you: you’ve already killed a powerful undead lich, and your sovereign was so impressed that he gave you a town in return. As the ruler of this new settlement, you’ll fend off invading goblin armies, flesh-eating bats, and feuding warriors in your quest to build a thriving community.

Now that you have your own stronghold, will you raise an army to repel the monsters once and for all? Or will you hold power for a lifetime without ever attacking another soul? Harness your strength, cunning, and even magic to defend your citadel and help your people prosper.

Invest in trade, mining, or farming—but choose your favorites wisely. Show mercy and forgiveness to your enemies, or be bold and aggressive as you expand your realm. Will the burden of governance make you serious and solemn, or will you retain your sense of humor and win fans near and far? Which groups will you please, when you can’t ever please everyone? And when the end draws near, will you be respected, forgotten, or reviled?

Will you triumph as a great leader, or see your stronghold fall?

• Play as male, female, or non-binary, gay or straight.
• Enjoy an epic fantasy of adventure, friendship, and city-building.
• Lead your people as a bold warrior, clever diplomat, or fledgling sorcerer.
• Defeat a goblin army or make peace with your people’s oldest enemies.
• Rule on blood feuds between your townspeople, or just judge the best pickles at the harvest fair.
• Court a spouse (or two), or found a new family with a sworn sibling.
• Select an heir to continue your legacy.

We hope you enjoy playing Stronghold: A Hero’s Fate. We encourage you to tell your friends about it, and recommend the game on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other sites. Don’t forget: our initial download rate determines our ranking on the App Store. The more times you download in the first week, the better our games will rank.

Nov 13

2018

Author Interview: Amy Griswold and Jo Graham, “Stronghold: A Hero’s Fate”

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

Monsters have plagued your valley for as long as you can remember. But if anyone can destroy them, it’s you: you’ve already killed a powerful undead lich, and your sovereign was so impressed that he gave you a town in return. As the ruler of this new settlement, you’ll fend off invading goblin armies, flesh-eating bats, and feuding warriors in your quest to build a thriving community in Stronghold: A Hero’s Fate, a new 250,000 word interactive fantasy from Amy Griswold and Jo Graham. I sat down with them to talk about their latest game, and what it is that keeps us returning to fantasy settings. Stronghold: A Hero’s Fate releases this Thursday, November 15th. 

Stronghold: A Hero’s Fate is quite a departure from the world of The Eagle’s Heir, which is one of my all-time favorite Choice of Games titles. Tell me about the setting and what kind of world you intended to build here.

We were aiming for a Roman twilight feel to the setting–you’re building a town in the ruins of an older civilization that you don’t entirely understand. It’s a smaller canvas than Paris and the politics of Europe in The Eagle’s Heir; your world centers around your townsfolk, your friends and neighbors, and your relationships with the neighboring horse-folk and the city across the mountain pass.

What was interesting was the chance to explore the realities of life in a small town–you know everyone, but you don’t necessarily like everyone. Your friends and family are there when you need help, but they’re also up in your business, even when you’d prefer privacy. If you make an enemy, you’ll be dealing with them and their grudge against you for decades. Tradition is a strength and a source of comfort, but also a source of resistance to new ideas.

And, at the same time, it was satisfying to portray a “traditional” society that’s inclusive of different genders and sexual orientations and ways of building a family. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect for everyone in it–this is a society, not a utopia–but its tension between tradition and innovation centers around the value of book-learning and experimentation versus the value of oral tradition and tried and true methods, not around issues of gender and sexuality.

What about writing in a fairly traditional fantasy setting was appealing to you?

We both grew up playing D&D, and in some ways it’s still the roleplaying game of our hearts. The stairs leading down into a crumbling ruin filled with treasure and monsters! The circle of firelight around the campfire, and freezing at the sound of rustling branches in the darkness! Swords and sorcery and heroically rescuing villagers from marauding evils! It’s all pretty deeply ingrained in our DNA.

It was great to get the chance to bring some of that flavor into a game that explores the question of what happens once the monster is slain–how does a hero become a leader? When you’re living with those villagers for decades, how do you respond to their different priorities, and their grievances, and their grief when things go wrong?

What do you think players will enjoy most about the game?

The challenge of managing the different personalities in town is a fun one, along with making choices about what to build and what resources to invest in to reach your goals for your town. There’s lots of adventure as you fend off threats to your town, whether you handle them with military might or clever diplomacy. There’s the chance for romance, with six different romance options (eight, if you count potential threesomes), or the chance to become someone’s sworn sibling if romance isn’t your cup of tea. And you can’t ever afford to lose sight of the looming goblin threat, culminating in an epic final confrontation that can play out in many different ways.

Do you have a favorite character you enjoyed writing most? Fram stands out to me as someone I always wanted to spend more time with.

Amy enjoyed writing Kingfisher, who’s a quieter and more reflective character than some of the pushier and louder personalities in town, but has their own wry sense of humor. Fram was fun to write, too, especially his rivalry with Mallosian, which can turn into grudging friendship or curdle into genuine hatred. Jo particularly liked writing Cronos and Ari, and she also enjoyed Kerkelm and Heligburn, the goblin king.

Any challenges that stood out to you about this game in particular?

It was important to us that the player character’s actions affect how other people in town relate to each other, which required a lot of variation in later chapters based on which NPCs have resolved their differences with each other, and which ones have become bitter enemies.

And the game is wide, with so many paths through it and so many options that while a single playthrough is about 40,000 words, the total is nearly 250,000! There are also some tracks through the game that the player character may not go down at all–it’s possible to remain completely ignorant about the mysterious magic of your ancestors, or to remain skeptical that the dryads even exist–and so we really made an effort to hint that those possibilities existed and might be fun avenues to explore in a future playthrough.

What are you working on next?

We’re working on the outline for another fantasy game with the working title The Play’s the Thing, with more of a Renaissance feel. You’re a playwright in a city under a terrible curse.  Can you defeat the curse while making a name for yourself as a playwright? It should be an exciting romantic adventure, and also a look at the challenge of making art in difficult times.

Nov 12

2018

New Hosted Game! Missing Wings by Carlos H. Romero Jr.

Posted by: Rachel E. Towers | Comments (0)

Hosted Games has a new game for you to play!

Help restore the missing wings of an archangel in an open-world adventure full of puzzles, games, monsters, loot, gear, resources, and strategy. It’s 25% off until November 19th!

Missing Wings is a 140,000 word interactive novel by Carlos H. Romero Jr., where your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

• Play as male, female, non-binary, or angel.
• Challenge a skeleton to a game of chess, but beware the wrath of Mistress Death!
• Find your way through a nigh-unpathable maze.
• Earn the right to master each of the ten elements of power.

Carlos H. Romero Jr. developed this game using ChoiceScript, a simple programming language for writing multiple-choice interactive novels like these. Writing games with ChoiceScript is easy and fun, even for authors with no programming experience. Write your own game and Hosted Games will publish it for you, giving you a share of the revenue your game produces.

Nov 12

2018

New Hosted Game! The Slayer of Evil by Ivailo Daskalov

Posted by: Rachel E. Towers | Comments (0)

Hosted Games has a new game for you to play!

Unleash the power and magic of the Divine Feminine and become the bane of evil entities. Discover a world of sword and magic and take its protection from a shadowy force as your own destiny. Prevail over dangers and discover friends among those who call themselves demons. Awaken their Forgotten Goddess and wield her power as your own. Challenge the establishment of the false light. Claim the Prelate’s tiara… or serve its wicked reign. It’s 50% off until November 19th!

The Slayer of Evil is a 50,000 word interactive novel by Ivailo Daskalov, where your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

• Plays as a renegade Slayer of Evil lady.
• Explore an alien land ruled by sword, magic and curse.
• Face and shadow beings, vampires, succubi and angels.
• Help a group of demonic females restore the balance in their world.
• Awaken and wield the power of the Forgotten Goddess.
• Allow an ancient love to blossom again.
• Slay the Prelate of False light and take her place… or fail and serve her.

Ivailo Daskalov developed this game using ChoiceScript, a simple programming language for writing multiple-choice interactive novels like these. Writing games with ChoiceScript is easy and fun, even for authors with no programming experience. Write your own game and Hosted Games will publish it for you, giving you a share of the revenue your game produces.

Nov 08

2018

New Hosted Game! Love at Elevation by Steve Wingate

Posted by: Rachel E. Towers | Comments (0)

Hosted Games has a new game for you to play!

Romance is as easy as one, two…three lovers! Find love and ascend to new heights in your new home of Boulder, Colorado. It’s 33% off until November 15th!

Love at Elevation is a 325,000-word interactive romance novel by Steve Wingate. It’s entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

You’ve just escaped a toxic relationship and moved to Boulder: hippie mecca (and home of the University of Colorado) a mere forty minutes north of Denver, at the edge of the majestic Rocky Mountains’ Front Range. And while you want to take in everything your new town has to offer: the outdoors, hip cafes, politics, and New Age healing: looking for love is foremost in your mind.

Will you fall for the local activist? The trail-running athlete? Or the hippie healer? Or why not all three? Your ex, meanwhile, keeps wedging their way back into your life, even from a thousand miles away. Can you juggle all these lovers, or will you have to break a few hearts?

• Play as male, female, or non-binary; gay, straight, bi, skoliosexual, or pansexual.
• Find one lover, two, three, or get back with your ex.
• Navigate workplace drama and the difficulties of being the new person in a strange place.
• Discover yourself as you negotiate the ins and outs of Boulder’s social scene.
• Choose exclusivity or open relationships with your new partners.

Some find love in cold climate, but you’ll find Love at Elevation.

Steve Wingate developed this game using ChoiceScript, a simple programming language for writing multiple-choice interactive novels like these. Writing games with ChoiceScript is easy and fun, even for authors with no programming experience. Write your own game and Hosted Games will publish it for you, giving you a share of the revenue your game produces.

Nov 01

2018

Gilded Rails — Speed dating for the railroad robber baron!

Posted by: Rachel E. Towers | Comments (1)

We’re proud to announce that Gilded Rails, the latest in our popular “Choice of Games” line of multiple-choice interactive-fiction games, is now available for Steam, Android, and on iOS in the Choice of Games Omnibus app. It’s 33% off until October 8th!

It’s speed dating for the railway-tycoon monopolist robber baron! To obliterate your competition, you must marry a suitable partner before time runs out.

Gilded Rails is a 340,000-word interactive dating-management novel by Anaea Lay, where your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Some kids get a model train set from their parents—your daddy gave you his railroad line. Find a spouse and you’ll win control of the family business, but fail to marry and you could lose it all! Can you lead the company to greatness and get hitched before time runs out?

Blaze through an epic tale of business expansion, family life, and love in a time when everyone wants more and many wind up with less. How will you choose to run your business? Will you honor contracts and commitments, or betray your enemies and your principles? Are you a natural-born leader, or will your workers laugh at you behind your back? Blow the whistle on corruption in your industry, or unleash your hidden tycoon and rule the railroads!

Just make sure you find a marriage partner along the way, or Daddy might push you out of the company!

• Play as male, female, or non-binary, pursuing men, women, or both.
• Triumph over strikes, sabotage, and social scandal.
• Sharpen your business acumen and connections.
• Choose from eleven romance options! Court everyone from your childhood best friend to the villainous head of a rival company.
• Become the poster child for modern reform, or the bootheel that needs reforming.
• Discover your father’s checkered past.
• Embrace your inner robber baron—or Robin Hood.
• Choose between romance and business partnership.
• Pet your kitty.

We hope you enjoy playing Gilded Rails. We encourage you to tell your friends about it, and recommend the game on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other sites. Don’t forget: our initial download rate determines our ranking on the App Store. The more times you download in the first week, the better our games will rank.

Oct 29

2018

Author Interview: Anaea Lay, “Gilded Rails”

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

It’s speed dating for the railway-tycoon monopolist robber baron! To obliterate your competition, you must marry a suitable partner before time runs out. Gilded Rails is a 340,000-word interactive dating-management novel by Anaea Lay. I sat down with Anaea to talk about the world of robber barons and the challenges of coding 11 romance options. Gilded Rails releases this Thursday, November 1st. 

Tell me about the world and time period Gilded Rails is set in. What the heck is a robber baron?

The game is set in a slightly alt-history 1874 U.S. That puts us firmly in the middle of the post-war Reconstruction period and at the very, very beginning of what became known as the Gilded Age.  Which is all a very dry way of saying that this is the period when absolutely everything became wacky and unhinged in ways that feel unsettlingly familiar.  Most of the arguments, disagreements, and structural problems we started grappling with then are the same ones we’re having fights about now.  Which, in one way, is a little reassuring because it makes things feel much less immediately dire, but on the other hand, is exhausting to think about.

Robber barons were the Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk’s of their time, and they were just getting started.  Like with major tech companies now, you’d get these charismatic figures running huge companies that had either invented or completely absorbed an entire sector of the economy, and then run rampant with it.  Some took philanthropy seriously and made huge contributions to public institutions, founding museums and universities and the like.  It was pretty exciting because you had people who were worth more than several countries combined and who were eager to spend it on cool stuff, so cool stuff was happening just because.  At the same time, hand rubbing and cackling while sipping champagne and twirling a mustache is actually a part of the historical record.  Rich people being smug jerks about being rich isn’t new.  Robber baron was a slightly disparaging term coined largely to call out the latter behavior, but applied to the whole group—at the same time they were becoming mind bogglingly rich, even with rapidly rising wages most people were winding up poor and poorer.

This game has an insane number of romances. Exactly how many? Who are they all?

Eleven.  There are eleven people you can pursue a relationship with.

I feel like this is the moment where I have to confess that before starting this game, I’d never played a dating sim, so I didn’t really have any idea what was reasonable or normal.  Spoiler: eleven isn’t normal.  For good reason.  But sometimes bad ideas are fun, and this one definitely turned out to be interesting. Here are the people you can pursue.  Incidentally, this is also most of the cast of the game.

Eleanor/Eric Benson: Assistant Office Manager for the McKressin Line, an opportunity for an office romance or to secure the loyalty of a highly competent professional ally.; Isabell/Isaac Rochester Head of the Rochester-Atlanta Line, one of the biggest in the industry, and known as “The Dragon” due to a penchant for scorched earth tactics. Pursuit for any purpose highly contraindicated.; Rosalie/Rufus Cartwright Your childhood best friend and your father’s favorite of all the potential candidates, known for an interest in gardening and canapés. Carol/Carl Evans Social Page reporter for the Post, always has the pulse of the gossip scene and could help make or break your social reputation.; Beverly/Brandon Freeman Founder and leader of The Agricultural Society, and shockingly shy for an activist taking on the giants of industry in order to protect small farmers, the kind of ally who might be good for your moral character but could damage your business prospects.; Primrose/Preston Lessing Business page reporter for the Post, savvy to the twists and turns of industry and backroom dealings, but willing to champion the ethical businessperson, or crush the incompetent.; Temperance/Thomas O’Malley A pro-railroad industry fanatic and the head of a railroad similar to yours, there are many interesting business opportunities available if you’re willing to collude with the competition.; Victoria Elaine Prescott-Finley / Victor Edward Prescott III Fantastically wealthy, elegantly disposed, and resident of a a replica castle located in the countryside outside the city, and social connection like this one will ensure you never have to worry about anything ever again.; Jason/Janice Stanikopolos A Marxist reformer who fled England after a labor dispute with a mill owner, and also old enough to be your grandparent, unwaveringly loyal, possibly homicidal.; Fannie/Floyd Thompson Former sheriff of a frontier town with a penchant for dime novels about frontier sheriffs, currently working as an investigator for the government, sniffing out corruption and unfair dealings.; Diane/David Worthington Heir apparent to the crown of the social scene, die-hard opera fan, insufferable snob, as likely to help you secure your social status as to render you a pariah.

What did you find most challenging about writing Gilded Rails?

Everything? By nature, I’m a pantser, and while I’m a big history buff, I don’t usually write historical settings.  On purpose.  Mostly because I’m a history buff, and I know how much I don’t know.  My normal writing process is to sit down and spew forth words at high speed until I hit the end, then throw out half of them and do it again until I have something that hangs together all the way.  This is utterly, completely, horrifically incompatible with how to produce a quality game.  Which I knew going in, but meant that on top of everything else I had to do, I had to learn a whole new way to write and approach the process.

For example, if I’m spending a day on a normal project, getting four thousand words of fairly solid draft done is pretty easy.  When I started this project, getting 250 words down was excruciatingly challenging.  You can’t get momentum going the same way when you’re constantly stopping to have forking choices, and I’d have to stop to consider setting and mechanical elements that aren’t normally factors.  I spent the better part of three years working on this, and by the end I could get about 2,000 words done in a full day of work, but that’s still pretty demoralizing in comparison to my normal production rate.

Don’t get me wrong, I got an unfathomable amount of personal growth and skill development out of the process.  I just didn’t mean to be signing up for personal growth or that level of skill development, and it was pretty painful.  But I have a much richer understanding of why my normal process works for me, and a really good idea of what to do with the next game to make everything work better.  And not take three years.

I love the title of this game because it’s so evocative. How soon did you come up with it and what does it mean for you?

I think I have to thank this game’s origin as fanfic for a board game for the tile. “Blah Blah Rails,” is a pretty common format for train game titles, so an interactive fiction game about trains and Gilded Age social issues had a natural title right there.  I particularly like the title, though, because gold is such a soft metal that gilding functional rails would be an atrociously bad idea.  The exact kind of atrociously bad idea that would fit right in to the era, as a stunt of conspicuous wealth display.

This is your first time doing interactive fiction, but you’re a prolific writer. Tell me about some of your other projects.

Most recently I have a story in Diabolical Plots called “For the Last Time, it’s Not a Ray Gun.”  It’s a romantic comedy I describe either as my love letter to Seattle, or my Dear John letter to Seattle, depending on my mood.  For a story that’s the polar opposite of that one, you could also check out “A Long Fuse to a Slow Detonation” which was published in Waylines, with an audio version at The Overcast.  It’s a viciously unhappy story about how great love is.

Oct 25

2018

New Hosted Game! Nuclear Powered Toaster by Matt Simpson

Posted by: Rachel E. Towers | Comments (0)

Hosted Games has a new game for you to play!

It’s always a bit stressful on graduation day. The uncertainty of the future, the excitement of endless possibilities, and of course getting blown out of the sky by a weapon that should no longer exist. Welcome to Earth in the 24th century. It’s 33% off until November 1st!

Nuclear Powered Toaster is a 160,000 word interactive sci-fi novel by Matt Simpson, where your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Humanity is a pale shadow of its former glory after two nuclear wars and living under the constant threat of orbital attack. You…won’t really be able to change any of that, but if you play your cards right, you might just live to see another sunrise, and possibly even unravel a sinister plan!

• Play as smuggler Alexi Beaumont, or superpowered government agent Fiorella Branford for two distinct experiences.
• Meet new and interesting people on Duck Mountain, and try not to be incinerated by them!
• Team up with a henchman, an actor, or the solar system’s oddest janitor.
• Uncover a global conspiracy and bring down a mysterious terrorist…if you can.
• Resolve situations with wits, force, or just harness the erratic power of pure insanity.
• Endeavor to keep on good terms with your comrades, or risk turning an ally into an enemy!

Comedy, action, and a pinch of absurdity await those who board the Nuclear Powered Toaster!

Matt Simpson developed this game using ChoiceScript, a simple programming language for writing multiple-choice interactive novels like these. Writing games with ChoiceScript is easy and fun, even for authors with no programming experience. Write your own game and Hosted Games will publish it for you, giving you a share of the revenue your game produces.

Oct 05

2018

The Martian Job — Rob a casino? No problem. How about on Mars?

Posted by: Rachel E. Towers | Comments (0)

We’re proud to announce that The Martian Job, the latest in our popular “Choice of Games” line of multiple-choice interactive-fiction games, is now available for Steam, Android, and on iOS in the Choice of Games Omnibus app. It’s 40% off until October 12th!

Rob the first Martian casino and find out who really rules the planet! Crack a safe, break some hearts, start a revolution, or get rich beyond the stars!

The Martian Job is a 155,000-word interactive novel by M. Darusha Wehm. It’s entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Welcome to Mars, where one last safecracking job could nab you enough platinum to last a lifetime. But how will you pull off your heist? Do you hack into the vault, blast your way in, or finesse the locks? Can you trust your misfit team of grifters and con artists? Can they trust you?

Succeed in your mission and win power, love, and money—or fail and spend the rest of your life tending bar on another planet. Pay enough attention, and you’ll learn about the corrupt Martian government as you go—along with the rebels who oppose it and the corporation trying to take it over. Will you choose to save the planet’s troubled colonists, or use the information for your own gain? You’ll also encounter opportunities to avenge an old comrade, thwart the machinations of a power-hungry tycoon, or start a revolution. Decide where your loyalty lies: with your team, with Mars, or only with yourself.

Can you shape the destiny of humanity’s first interplanetary colony—and walk away with a trunk full of platinum?

• Play as non-binary, female, or male, as ace/aro or as monogamous or poly, and find romance with people of all genders.
• Raid the first casino on Mars.
• Master real casino games like blackjack and roulette.
• Lead a crack team of expert thieves, or sell out anyone for a shard of platinum.
• Infiltrate the center of Martian power to control, destroy, or join forces with the planet’s rulers.
• Start a revolution to topple the government, or defeat the rebels from within.
• Dominate the corporate world with an elite interplanetary industrialist, force him out of business, or execute a hostile takeover.
• Control the future of humanity on another planet!

We hope you enjoy playing The Martian Job. We encourage you to tell your friends about it, and recommend the game on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other sites. Don’t forget: our initial download rate determines our ranking on the App Store. The more times you download in the first week, the better our games will rank.

Oct 01

2018

Author Interview: M. Darusha Wehm, “The Martian Job”

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

Welcome to Mars, where one last safecracking job could nab you enough platinum to last a lifetime. But how will you pull off your heist? Do you hack into the vault, blast your way in, or finesse the locks? Can you trust your misfit team of grifters and con artists? Can they trust you? The Martian Job is a 160,000 word interactive novel by M. Darusha Wehm. We sat down to talk about the Red Planet and its literary influence. The Martian Job releases this Thursday, October 4th. 

Tell me a little bit about the kind of Mars colony this game is set in.

I took a lot of inspiration from the company towns of mining operations—where the corporation runs everything from the tavern to the bookstore. I wanted it to be a little friendlier than historical company towns really are, though. I tried to create a colony that was clearly in the early days, but not a horrible place to live and work.

The Martian Job is an incredibly fun heist game, but I can’t read anything about Mars without thinking of its literary history: the Barsoom series, War of the Worlds, The Martian Chronicles. How does it feel to enter into a particular literary canon, and what literary influences were you working from in this, if any?

There is something about Mars as the quintessential next planet for humans to make our home that is so compelling for science fiction. Mars shows up in so many stories, because I think it’s really captured the imagination of anyone who wants to think about the possibilities of humans being a multi-planet species.

The game is full of little Easter Eggs referring to other stories about Mars—from Burroughs to the Golden Age up through to contemporary work. Some are obvious but others are a bit more challenging to spot. It was super fun figuring out how to work them all in!

Choice of Games actually hasn’t released as much “hard sci-fi” as one might expect, though I felt The Martian Job also straddled action and urban in terms of genre. And you write quite a bit of speculative fiction as well. Talk a little about genre.

Genre can mean so many different things—is it setting, or plot, or tone? Is it all of those in varying degrees? Most stories have aspects of multiple genres—even realist fiction can have romance, adventure, and mystery elements all in the same family drama. I really wanted to bring that fusion of both tone and plot to The Martian Job. There are political sci fi plot paths to follow as well as the classic heist/adventure story. There are redemption arcs, descents into embracing moral ambiguity, power plays, and finding community.

What were the challenges you found in plotting for interactive fiction?

I really enjoyed following the different possible paths the protagonist could take. For me, the hardest part was not being able to have a single personality to work with, and make sure that the plots made sense and were believable whichever kind of character the player chooses to create.

How does The Martian Job measure up to your plain prose fiction and poetry?

I think fans of my other books will find a lot of familiarity here, although some of the choices you can make are not what most of my typical protagonists would do. The Martian Job is definitely at the fun, easy-read end of my spectrum.

What are you working on next?

I have a new science fiction novel coming out in December. It’s called The Voyage of the White Cloud, and it’s a novel-in-stories set aboard a generation starship that tells the tales of everyday people living in the middle years of a thousand year journey.

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