Individual Work
Uncle Roger

Uncle Roger by Judy Malloy first appeared from 1986-1988, placing it among the first generation of born digital works—predating the earliest versions of Michael Joyce’s "afternoon: a story." There are currently six digital versions of the work: Version 1 (1986-87), the serial novel for the net; Version 2 (1986-87), the interactive narrative for the net); Version 3 (1986-88), the boxed version as stand alone artists software in narrabase programmed in AppleSoft BASIC; Version 4 (1988), the boxed version as stand alone artists software in narrabase programmed in GW-BASIC; Version 5 (1995, 2014), the web version; Version 6 (2014), the DOSBox emulator Version. Malloy considers the web version to be the authorized one. It's content varies from the four previous versions due to its migration from the elite, artistic audience of The WELL to the more mainstream audience of the World Wide Web. There is also a seventh version created as a card catalog was produced in 1986-88.

Version 5 consists of a series of text nodes, connected via hyperlinks on words and icons. The node texts follow the structure of the other formats in that it offers a long narrative in three parts: “A Party in Woodside,” “The Blue Notebook,” “Terminals.” The three sections, or "files" as the author calls them, intertwine personal recollections with descriptions of a pre-Internet, pre-PC age in California. The narrator, Jenny, serves as a focal point. The title figure “Uncle Roger” is Jenny’s uncle, an eccentric semiconductor market analyst, and the Silicon Valley culture and chip industry form the narrative backdrop. The stories bring together pieces of conversation at a California party with Jenny’s memories. In classic hyperfiction fashion, the reader chooses a path through the nodes by clicking on linked words or images. For instance, the section called “Terminals” features a keyboard-like set of icons that function as a navigational tool for accessing the separate story sections.