I was excited to review this weblog – I have never reviewed an interactive novel before and it seemed like an innovative and ideal use of the basic weblogging format. At least I wouldn’t have to read about someone’s pet cat for one review, at any rate.
Unfortunately though, Génécrypt is a great idea waiting to happen. My optimism was slowly crumbled away by a series of disappointments. The first was how the site appeared. Now I figured that with a novel, the reader is coming to read the novel, not look at pictures of pet cats or find out what the author’s favourite weblogs are, so a certain lack of traditional template features would be acceptable under the circumstances. However, this is the first Movable Type weblog I have encountered which uses the Standard Template with no adaptations at all (and the standard template is VERY dull). I find it hard to comprehend why someone would go to all the trouble of installing MT (a feat which is beyond the ken of a lot of people, me included) only to make little or no creative use of the features available. The most infuriating of these oversights was that the comments didn’t actually work (or at least they didn’t for me- I kept getting “An error occurred: Invalid entry ID ‘XX’” when I opened the pop- up window.) Kind of defeats the purpose of an interactive novel if you cannot actually interact with it. Evidently the comments did work at one point because I found a total of five throughout the entries, though what these comments were and how they affected the plot of the story will have to be left to the imagination, as they have been lost somewhere in MT cyberspace hell.
Ok so the template could do with some work. How about the story itself? Well it is pretty good I guess, or at least what’s there. Unfortunately at present this isn’t much. The archives go back to the end of January and although there is an entry for most days in February, there is only one in March. Technically we don’t have to review a site with less than three months worth of archives, so it only just qualifies. And what happened in March and April? Author get fed up and decided he couldn’t be bothered anymore? Again, makes me wonder if a review is needed really, but hey- ho. On a technical note, don’t make the mistake I made and assume the order of entries are the same as most other blogs (i.e. newest first). They are the other way round- just a heads- up for those who are as unobservant as me and wonder why the story seems to make no sense!
Anyway, once I started reading the story from the beginning, I found I quite enjoyed it, especially the ideas behind it. It only took me about half an hour to get through but I was keen to read what was there. It is a sci-fi story set in the future with some really inventive (and occasionally funny) ideas. There are occasional typos, grammatical errors and no real paragraph structure, but I liked the plot. Once again, the only downfall though is that the story finishes before it has really begun- scene setting and a little introductory action scene finish in March and the reader is left none the wiser as to what happens or where it is going. I for one, wouldn’t mind finding out.
I have given this blog 2.5 out of 5 purely because it is a great idea for a weblog and I enjoyed the storyline itself. Given some work (i.e. continued work on the story and fixing the comments for a start), there is some great potential here. Unfortunately at the moment it is sadly unfulfilled.