[IFComp 2015] Much Love, BJP

Much Love, BJP: Examining Gender and War through Interactive Fiction is a very short Twine piece by Megan Stevens.

Much Love, BJP by Megan Stevens

A brief look at the life of a fictional war correspondent. “Much Love: BJP” was showcased to a limited audience at the Hope College Celebration for Undergraduate Research.

Review after the cut.

Much Love, BJP gives snapshots of a journalist’s career and personal life. Though the character, Bany Polzin, is fictional, she was inspired by the real-life Marie Colvin. Colvin’s life story is moving and admirable, and Much Love is likewise thought-provoking. The writing, a journalistic style itself, is direct and evocative. Photographs from real news articles add atmosphere.

As with some other Twine pieces I’ve seen, though, I don’t think Much Love, BJP is a strong representative for interactive fiction. Although the reader has some choices about the order in which to read the pieces of the story, this doesn’t have any effect on the ending or what leads to it. Moreover, the pieces do seem to have been written with the intention of the reader encountering them in order. I wasn’t just given the impression that my decisions weren’t important – I actually felt like I’d made a slightly wrong decision by reading the pieces out of order.

I also find myself wondering about that subtitle: “Examining Gender and War Through Interactive Fiction.” The story touches on a few issues around gender, most notably women’s rights and rape as a war crime but also Polzin being criticized for her decisions around career and her family. However, I wouldn’t say any of these topics are deeply examined. A longer, more meaningfully interactive exploration of these issues could have been very powerful.

Finally and unfortunately, there are a few typos, which I am less forgiving of in such a short piece.

Final verdict: Much Love, BJP is short enough, and about an interesting enough topic, to make it worth the few minutes it will take to read it. It is not especially interactive, however.

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