Cyberpunk novel “Code” Experiments with New Frontiers of E-Book Format
A new e-book called Code is a groundbreaking interactive novel that resembles the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books and Infocom text-adventure games of the early 1980s, or exploratory video games like Myst, which follows a group of hackers tracking a mysterious symbol to find the cause of the slow apocalypse threatening humanity.Experimenting with the new possibilities of the e-book format, the interactive novel “Code” follows a group of hackers attempting to track down the mysterious signal that warns of a slow but pervasive apocalypse threatening humanity. Spanning disciplines and styles in the tradition of postmodern novels, Code investigates the possibility of the human mind itself being hacked by deceptive symbols.
Using hypertext to create virtual places that readers can explore, the new format — dubbed an “interactive novel” — takes advantage of the unique navigational abilities of the e-book to create an immersive experience reminiscent of the Choose Your Own Adventure books, early 1980s Infocom text-adventure games, and video games like Myst. “Written in a style that resembles text-based video games or books where you can choose actions for the characters to follow, this cryptic tale explores the separation between symbol and reality,” said a press statement released by Atavist.
“Through the eyes of characters in the hacker underground the reader sees human civilization from outside of it for the first time,” the statement continues, “in a space where laws and morals have given way to the atavistic struggle for power.” Invoking themes of the hacker as on a quest for mental clarity, the book uncovers an invisible layer to our physical world where logic and willpower determine survival. According to Atavist, the book should appeal to those who like introspective science fiction and cyberpunk literature like that from John Brunner, William Gibson, Bruce Sterling and Michael Crichton.
Readers can choose a location, concept, character or event to begin their exploration. From that point, the mystery develops through multiple narratives from different characters living both within and far beyond the bounds of the law. The book “explores the reasons why people become hackers” over the course of 346 pages of location-based description and vignettes. The first novel from writer Chris Blanc, Code was published in digital format on April 29, 2015.