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IF Comp ’16 – Adam Whybray & Edgar Allan Poe’s Evermore!

October 2, 2016

Okay, wait a minute, I have a joke for this. Evermore is that, that thing that lets you keep all your notes across different devices, except it’s for ravens.

Maybe I don’t have a joke for this.

[spoilers begin here]

The unendurable oppression of the lungsthe stifling fumes from the damp earththe clinging to the death garmentsthe rigid embrace of the narrow housethblackness of the absolute Nightthe silence like a sea that overwhelms... You are in the unseen but palpable presence of the Conqueror Worm!

The overweening baroqueness of the prose that reminds me why I don’t read Poe! (“The palpable presence of the Conqueror Worm” is pretty good, though. If Poe hadn’t written that sentence Ryan Veeder would have gotten around to it eventually.)

What was I doing again? Am I a character in a world making choices? Okay, after a tiny bit of clicking, yes I am.

Going to take the lamp because you always >GET LAMP. >GET LAMP is never not the correct choice.

It is empty any oil it had contained has evaporated by now. You put it back on the shelf.

What.

Any notions you held of picturesque polyandriums are extinguished from your mind like a funereal candle fatally snuffed by an ashen andessicated finger.

Had to look up “polyandriums;” apparently it means “an ancient Greek burying ground, especially for men fallen in battle,” and nothing to do with a multiple-husband orgy like you might have been hoping. Why an ancient Greek burying ground might be picturesque is, like so many other things, beyond the scope of this humble reviewer.

Internally, you discourse garrulously upon thevarious grotesque scenes that preluded this present moment, which now pass across your minds eye as pictures in a phantasmogoria.

This is the worst offender in a solid paragraph full of adjective-heavy Poe-style sentences. I get it, you’re going for a Poe thing, and it works, it’s working. It’s just, wow is it thick & hard to parse. Maybe throw in a paragraph break?

Depart from the crowd to explore a snickelway

A snickelway? What’s a snickelway?

(googles)

Oh, approximately forty kilograms. Carry on.

If [sic] is of good fortune that you are so dearly acquainted with the geography of the place, else it would be a matter of traversing a twisting maze with passageall alike, as though caught within some infernal game. However, your superb mnemonic faculties allow you to track the beelzebubic figure with the ease of a seasoneflâneur, your tubercular system proving the sole incumbence to your progress.

The amount of fun Adam Whybray had writing this is almost palpable. Is a flâneur a person who makes flan? Maybe, for the sake of my sanity, I should just assume that yes.

If you have a pocket full of teeth you may attempt to sell them.
Otherwise, continue stalking the fiend.

The things I am actually doing are intriguing and fun, in a Fallen London kind of way. I think I would enjoy doing them more if the sentences describing them were just slightly easier to parse.

(Chris is also, for reasons I cannot fathom, impeding my ability to parse anything by verbally liveblogging his attempt at making tom ka gai. I feel like I can’t complain about this because I get to eat tom ka gai that I did not have to make, but it is very distracting. Currently he’s moving everything in the fridge looking for some cilantro which stubbornly refuses to exist or be inside the fridge.)

The magic of a lovely form in woman ~ the necromancy of female gracefulness ~ has always been a power which you have found impossible to resist, but here sitthe very beau ideal of your wildest and most enthusiastic visions.

“The necromancy of female gracefulness” is a fantastic-sounding phrase, but I’m not sure what it’s getting at. What is being metaphorically brought back from the dead if a woman is graceful? (To be fair, my most graceful feminine moments consist of dropping fancy food into my cleavage, like truffles or caviar, instead of the usual Cheetos and corn, so I’m hardly an expert on the subject.)

Anyway I’m in the theatre and there is a lady and she is ver bootifoo and I am in love with her. This is what is happening in this game currently.

…the only option I am given is to gaze at her for half an hour, so I guess that’s what we’re doing!

Now she is staring back at me! She loves me too!

…then the twist ending is that up close she turns out to be eighty-two years old and therefore, definitionally, neither beautiful nor deserving of love.

And you die in a pique of manly shame.

You are dead.

As a woman who just turned, what the shit am I, thirty-six? thirty-six, already feeling the effects of my inevitable slide into the irrelevance and sexual repulsion that accompanies aging in females, I gotta say that ending made my ass twitch just a little bit.

No doubt Evermore has a ton more endings but there are a lot of other games I want to play!

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6 comments

  1. Thanks for the review!

    Writing ‘Evermore’ I was trying to walk an often wobbly line of preserving the Poe-ness of the stories I was adapting while simultaneously undercutting their racism and sexism. Whether I succeeded with this is obviously left to the reader herself!

    In this instance my hope was that the PC literally dying from his self-perceived shame of having been attracted to an older woman would highlight that the issue is with his own limited and pompous and generally jerky-privileged attitude. I don’t know if you’ve read Michael Faber’s ‘The Crimson Petal and the White’ (?) but – to my mind at least – the PC is not dissimilar to the character of William Rackham.

    Thank you for playing and I look forward to seeing your reviews of other games. I just played through ‘The Mouse’ and would definitely say it’s worth your time 🙂

    Cheers,
    Sprock


    • Hey Sprock! I think the thing that made me feel the way Jenni felt was that I didn’t really get to know the PC very well, and so the fact that he’s a pompous ass stuck in his own privilege isn’t clear to me. I was very happy to read your motivation, though. (:

      I loved the atmosphere of your game! Well done.


  2. As a woman who just turned, what the shit am I, thirty-six? thirty-six, already feeling the effects of my inevitable slide into the irrelevance and sexual repulsion that accompanies aging in females, I gotta say that ending made my ass twitch just a little bit.

    Um. Yes. As a woman less than 6 months from her 40th birthday, I am right there with you. Oy.


  3. “Evermore is that, that thing that lets you keep all your notes across different devices, except it’s for ravens.”

    A writing-desk?


    • * slow clap *


  4. It has surely been observed that “The Conquerer Worm” originated as Poe’s nickname for his dick.



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