Max Gladstone was a XYZZY nominee for Best Setting and Best NPCs this year, and he’s also a Hugo nominee (for the second time) for the John W. Campbell award for Best New Writer. Which is kind of awesome, and I’m pretty sure it’s a first.
I was trying to think of other authors who are significantly active/successful in both static and interactive fiction, and the only two I can think of are Douglas Adams and Jim Aiken. I feel like I must be missing a bunch of names.
There was of course Legend’s series of literary graphical adventures – Gateway, Xanth, Callahan’s, Death Gate, Shannara, Wheel of Time. You’d have to investigate how much any of those big-name authors were involved in the game development, though.
I’m kind of surprised there aren’t a lot more F/SF authors doing IF right now to be honest, but I guess it depends on how you define it. I feel like the AAA narrative game to static fiction crossover scene might be a lot more active.
Jimmy Maher’s ongoing history of IF in his blog has touched this subject, for anyone interested. And if you’re not, it’s still a great read. Mostly he speaks in the context of Infocom and “Electronic Novels” both sharing a dream of bringing literature to IF, and in one memorably disastrous result, in Infocom, apparently finding a nameless SF writer huddled up under his desk, whipped into submission by ZIL and the complexities of actually writing interactive, dynamic fiction.
The Eragon game? Certainly simple, and if I didn’t know, I’d have never guessed it was penned by an actual author.
The only game I’ve played so far where it was CLEAR to me that the writer was a professional and an amazingly good one at that was AMNESIA. Mind, I’ve yet to play Mindwheel, HHGG, and a few others. And we have no shortage of very good writers in our midst who happen not to be novelists (and some who do have published works, and we just keep thinking of them as IF authors rather than static ficion authors). But of the ones I’ve played, and limiting ourselves to our popular perception of “novelists” (published books, recognisable names, hopefully translated paperbacks/hardcovers/essays in other languages) AMNESIA definitely stood out, until the simulationism kicked in.
I guess I should mention Austin Grossman, who has script-writing credits on several AAA games (Deus Ex, a couple of Thief and Tomb Raider titles, Dishonored) and has also published two novels. (The second is about a videogame designer. I haven’t read it – too close to home.)
I agree there must be a lot more people who have that kind of crossover. They generally don’t get marquee credits on the game box, so it’s hard to list cases.
Jon Ingold’s published several stories. Jim Munroe’s also published some novels (with big publishing houses). though like Cadre he’s more doing movies now; his bio begins “I’m Jim Munroe, a novelist who stopped publishing with HarperCollins to showcase and propagate indie culture alternatives to Rupert Murdoch-style consolidation.”
As someone who aspires to have a publishing career, I used to find it very hard to justify to myself spending time writing IF when I could be working on static fiction that might get published and get me paid. I’m sure that’s why I took about a 10 year break from writing any IF at all. I’m starting to figure out ways of getting back into it these days, which I’m glad about.