Why Do We Love ‘Choose-Your-Own-Adventure’ Stories?

From the I Ching to an Upcoming Netflix Romcom, Interactive Fiction Dares Us to Decide What Happens Next

The new Netflix original horror movie Choose or Die turns on an interactive computer game called “CURS>R,” which resembles a classic ’80s adventure program in which a user inputs text to move the story forward. Naturally, there’s a twist—the protagonist discovers that every choice in the game, no matter how small, will determine whether she and the people around her stay alive.

While the movie itself isn’t interactive (something that could have helped rehabilitate the plot), the release reflects Netflix’s growing interest in choose-your-own-adventure-style programming. Since the debut of Black Mirror: …

Joan Didion Helped Me Tell My Own Story

Her Language and Landscapes Carved Out a Literary Space for My San Bernardino Childhood

When I arrived at Stanford, I was immediately confronted with the clues of my inferiority.

The other students had straight white teeth, more than one week’s worth of clothing, and “pocket …

Where I Go: The Poet Sits in the Dentist’s Chair | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Where I Go: The Poet Sits in the Dentist’s Chair

This Is What Happens When 'Two Mutually Oral Professions' Meet

I have many flaws. I delight in judging my neighbors. I step over the shower drain jammed with a whirlpool of my hair. I read the comments section. I leave …

In Zimbabwe, Literature Is Protest | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

In Zimbabwe, Literature Is Protest

A New Generation of Authors Are Giving Voice to the Post-Mugabe Reality

In November 2017, when a military coup removed Robert Mugabe as Zimbabwe’s head of state after 37 years of rule, euphoria gripped the whole country. Many saw it as an …

Hamlet Is a Suicide Text—It’s Time to Teach It Like One | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Hamlet Is a Suicide Text—It’s Time to Teach It Like One

A Scholar of Shakespeare Sees Perils and Possibilities in the Bard's Plays, and His Own Experience

I once tried to commit suicide. Twenty years later, it’s still hard to talk about. I didn’t want to die. Self-esteem issues, depression, alcoholism. I was signaling, in an unhealthy …

There’s a Special Place in Dante’s Purgatory for Wafflers and Neutral Souls | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

There’s a Special Place in Dante’s Inferno for Wafflers and Neutral Souls

From MLK and JFK to Gavin Newsom, Dante’s Misquoters Still Get to the Heart of the Poet's Disdain for Moral Cowardice

Dante’s Divine Comedy, an epic poem recounting the Florentine’s journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, remains the go-to guide to the afterlife, the world’s most famous travelogue for the great …