Press Start to Play is an anthology of video-game-related science fiction, edited by John Joseph Adams and Daniel "Robopocalypse" Wilson, with stories by some of Boing Boing's favorite SF writers: Ernie Ready Player One Cline, Charlie Jane Anders, Rhianna Pratchett, Catherynne Deathless" Valente, Hugh "Wool" Howey, Austin "Crooked" Grossman, and…me! (the anthology reprints my story Anda's Game, which was adapted into last year's bestselling graphic novel In Real Life).
In honor of the paperback release, Wired has published Austin Grossman's moving short story "The Fresh Prince of Gamma World," a moving, apocalyptic tale in the form of a text adventure:
In Gamma World, everything ended on June 22, 1979, at 11:24 p.m., when you were eleven. All over Gamma World you can find stopped clocks, broken watches, and charred newspapers showing the date. In Gamma World they call this year Year Five. In the real world, of course, everything continued normally. You don't know how or why it happened that there are two timelines, and that you wander back and forth between them. It's become a fact of life. It's like the world is a piece of software with a bug in it, a bug no one can fix.
Nobody truly knows what happened at that crucial point in Gamma World, but obviously there was a nuclear war, or something worse. You don't know if we got our missiles off or not, but you've never heard of anyone coming over from Russia to check on us. There's a city about a sixty miles to the southeast that sounds like it could be Providence but you've never been. There's no TV or radio or Internet. Your working assumption is that the whole planet is like it is around here: primitive tribes, unnatural jungle, mutated people and animals, and rubble.
[s]tay in Gamma World, stay forever and fuck the rest of it.
[g]o home and forget there was ever another world.
Press Start to Play [Daniel H Wilson and John Joseph Adams/Vintage]
Fresh Prince of Gamma World [Austin Grossman/Wired]