No // Sleep, 2022
Yes // No // Sleep, 2022
Zines: Written by Iris Xie
Medium: Interactive fiction game zines
Dimensions: 4 x 5.5 in on half-letter size paper, printed in color and stapled on a corner.
I created two interactive fiction zines: No // Sleep, and yes // no // sleep. Interactive fiction zine games are speculative fiction/design stories of the genre of Choose Your Own Adventure Books, or interactive fiction zines. They are a type of narrative game genre with multiple outcomes, actions, and storylines that take place through choice options. They sometimes also take on the form of a visual novel, which is interactive fiction with illustrations as a component. A zine is normally informational or narrative-driven, but rarely has choice components, and a ‘zine game’ is a specific term where it is a game that can be played using a zine for instructions. This work is an interactive fiction zine game, which combines multiple genres and owes a lot to the DIY analog queer, trans, and feminist indie game community, as well as DIY anarchist zines.
In No // Sleep, the player wakes up in a void and is greeted by the last remaining sleep specialist, Dr. Binky. Dr. Binky asks the player whether they want to enter the world without sleep or with sleep. It explores themes of consent, doctor-patient relationships, as well as attitudes towards rest, disability, and hyper-productivity. In yes // no // sleep, Lovestastol, the sleep banishment pill, is now mandated to be taken by everyone in the population, and the player explores the last day before compulsory sleep banishment. The themes and storylines of these zines were developed from the speculative design of my lyric games. I continued to explore these worldbuilding considerations of a world without sleep, but in a different medium, and to design a different interactive analog experience for the visitors. It is consistent with the methodology where I am reflecting upon my practice as someone who is embedded in queer feminist communities and using speculative fiction and worldbuilding as a way to resist the culture around glamorizing overwork and a lack of sleep, which is a result of capitalistic work practices and ideology.
Alt Text (Written by Iris Xie)
There are two 5.5 × 8.5 inches zines, one that says “No Sleep” on a multi-color red and yellow splash background, which also says “Iris Xie, interactive fiction zine, one player” on the bottom of the cover. The second zine is black and white, with large text on the cover that says “Yes // No // Sleep,” which also says “Iris Xie, interactive fiction zine, one player” on the bottom of the cover.