Books about Interactive Fiction

I’m looking on Amazon and there’s a few books about Interactive Fiction, even a few from 2016. I wonder if anybody can recommend one or two of these? I know the Inform 7-book (from 2010) is somewhat incompatible with today’s Inform 7, but that’s actually the one I have my eyes on (having just started writing a small game in Inform 7).

Writing Interactive Fiction with Twine - 5 May 2016

The Spectrum of Adventure: A Brief History of Interactive Fiction on the Sinclair ZX Spectrum - 1 Mar 2016

The Interactive Fiction Encyclopedia Paperback – 2 Feb 2016

Teaching and Learning with Interactive Fiction: Digital Storytelling for Students and Teachers - 6 Jan 2016

Interactive Fiction: How to Engage Readers and Push the Boundaries of Storytelling - 2 May 2015

IF Theory Reader by Kevin Jackson-Mead and J. Robinson Wheeler - February 2011

Creating Interactive Fiction with Inform 7 Paperback – 18 Sep 2010

Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction - 15 Mar 2005

The Tough Guide To Fantasyland (GOLLANCZ S.F.) Hardcover – 18 Nov 2004

The Inform Beginner’s Guide, by Roger Firth and Sonja Kesserich - 2003

The Inform Designer’s Manual (fourth edition or DM4) by Graham Nelson - 2001

Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace - Janet H. Murray - 27 Aug 1998

Maybe there’s others?

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I can recommend these two. Not that there’s anything wrong with the others; I just haven’t read them yet.

If you’re concerned about Aaron Reed’s book being incompatible with the latest version of I7, he offers some advice here.

You might also be interested in the IF Theory Reader and the DM4.

If nothing else, the Craft of Adventure section of the DM4 would be of interest, although I find that I6 knowledge can help with I7 in certain circumstances.

Thank you, I have added the books you suggested as well as the Inform Beginner’s Guide.

Dates for the Beginner’s Guide and the DM4 are sourced from Wikipedia.

Here’s another one that I just recalled:

Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace - Janet H. Murray - 27 Aug 1998

I didn’t even knew books about interactive fiction existed. Thanks!

Thank you! Now added to the list above.

Writing Interactive fiction with Twine by Milissa Ford -
(More world building then IF building

The Tough Guide to Fantasy Land -


This list is looking ever more interesting.

That Spectrum book looks right up my street. Thanks for telling us about it! Hopefully I will get a copy for my impending birthday, even if I have to buy it myself :wink: If I get it I will report back on the content. There’s a more detailed listing of the games covered here.

one of the companies released all there early if mags but cant find the site.

I got a lot out of this book. You can see the table of contents on the IF Wiki page, along with a link to a free PDF version at

Available online at the Inform website. All about Inform 6; there is some great stuff by Graham Nelson on the craft of adventure.

I enjoyed this and found it thought provoking, but it isn’t really about designing IF, more about possibilities.

Check out this thread. It’s books instead of magazines, but sounds similar.

That’s the one, glad someone understood what I was trying to think off.

I got The Spectrum of Adventure and like it - there’s a short discussion of each of about 100 1980s Spectrum IF games, and a nice insight into the British 1980s IF scene.

“The Interactive Fiction Encyclopedia” is just a printout of some Ifwiki pages. Don’t bother.

“The Tough Guide to Fantasyland” is brilliant, but not about IF. It’s about high fantasy tropes (and of course that has applicability to a lot of IF, especially the Infocom classics.)

Thank you, Robin. For both the recommendations and the warning/tip.

An oldie but a goody. There’s an abridged html version without illustrations and some details at:

Modesty compels me to admit that I wrote it myself.

Emily Short’s just done a detailed review of “Interactive Digital Narrative” (in three posts, starting at … issa-ford/)

Sounds a lot like one (Ford) is pitched at newbies to both IF and writing in general, combining a lot of basic advice with very clear explanations… and the other is intense academia. I’ve just started reading “Writing Interactive Fiction With Twine”, because I’m sure it’ll teach me a lot more than the other (and be easier and more fun to read, too).