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Life in the Garden

Life in the Garden
Life in the Garden
Life in the Garden
Life in the Garden

Life in the Garden is a paper interactive story. It consists of a small box that contains a tiny book cover and a deck of 52 pages. To interact with Life in the Garden, shuffle the pages, draw 5 or so, and put them between the covers. Then read the resulting story. Magically, a coherent narrative is created every time.

I wrote Life in the Garden when I was in graduate school, as an experiment in interactive storytelling. A few years later, I collaborated with designer Nancy Nowacek, who designed the physical format and page design and really brought the project to life. RSUB (Razorfish Subnetwork) published the book in 1999.

As a modular writing project, Life in the Garden was an amazing exercise. Each of the pages has to function like a little narrative Lego brick, able to fit with the pages that might come before or after. There are a number of tricks I use in both the form and the content of the book that results in the “magic trick” of creating a story that hangs together. I discuss some of these design strategies in a short essay I wrote for the book Second Person.

For many years, the book was out of print and rare copies were sometimes selling for hundreds of dollars online. However, a few years ago I was contacted by someone who was cleaning out a warehouse owned by the now-defunct publisher. There were several hundred copies of Life in the Garden! So I sell these books directly on Amazon.com. You can order them here while they last.

Overview

Interactive paper book with designer Nancy Nowacek, published by RSUB in 1999.

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Shuffle the pages and get a new story every time. Life in the Garden is a paper interactive narrative that explores permutations of the Garden of Eden myth.