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John Vincler
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Down Time is a collection of twenty-one interrelated short stories by Rob Swigart, created using Macromedia Director. The work consists of text accompanied by original music (composed by Allen Strange) and verbal narration. The work allows the reader to weave together several portraits set within the subculture of Silicon Valley. The stories—including the title story—take their names from computer jargon.

From the publisher’s description: “Down Time consists of twenty-one stories of the computer age, connected by shared characters, events and objects. A police officer, a terminal patient, a computer technician, and a high-school guidance counselor are just a few of the characters we follow as they try (and fail) to understand themselves, their lovers, and the strangers they meet. Interactive elements allow readers to create their own paths through different stories, revealing new correspondences and connections.”

A story titled “Down Time” by Rob Swigart also appeared in print in the Autumn 1987 issue of the New England Review and Bread Loaf Quarterly (Volume 10, Number 1), as part of a published “Symposium on The Writer and the Computer,” edited by William Dickey, which also includes, “Computer Narrative,” an essay by Swigart about the computer as a medium for literary art. The issue is accessible via JSTOR using the following stable URL:

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