August 17, 2011
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Fresh Code

Another tasty topic at Eastgate right now is the challenge of bringing wonderful titles to new environments. Here, for example, is Judy Malloy’s wonderful its name was Penelope, first published in 1993 and now being reimplemented for the iPad.

Fresh Code

Fresh implementations raise a host of spicy questions, ranging from typography to critical theory, from garbage collection to museum curation. Moving from click to touch is an important transition, one that invites reflection and planning although we should be wary of analysis paralysis and nostalgia for imaginary pasts.

The keepers of the $47,870 directory seem to be getting around to listing a few more Eastgate titles, though they seem strangely concerned with noting that these works were originally served on floppy disk. Funny, too, how those pro librarians have overlooked that “Eastgate” and “Eastgate Systems, Inc.” are the same company.

I’m sure they’ll add our iPad editions by 2018.

Seriously: the way to preserve electronic literature is to read it, to write about it, and from time to time to refresh the code. The road to stagnation often lies in fussing with open-sorcery and formats when you ought to be making great stuff with the best tools you can find. Malloy sketched the original Penelope in BASIC, which is what she knew, and I rewrote it in 1993 for a the original Macintosh edition. This is all-new code, it’s much nicer, and it was far easier to write.