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Books written in the second person?
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Author:  Munky [ Sun Jun 21, 2009 6:41 am ]
Post subject:  Books written in the second person?

I'm wondering is there anything good out there in which the body of the text, or at least a significant portion thereof, is written in the second person? I'm referring, or course, to actual rigidly-structured prose, and not the Choose Your Own Adventure type. The only notable example that I can think of off the top of my head is Complicity by Iain Banks, in which all of the murder scenes (perpetrated by an as-yet unknown killer, who is not the protagonist; the latter's actions are in the first person) are narrated as such. An example:

"You go to the bed, put down the umbrella and start looking in the drawers and cupboards built into the wall units surrounding the head of the bed. You keep glancing to the bathroom door. The drawers slide smoothly in and out without a sound; one of the perks of picking on the well-off rather than the chipboard classes.
You find a gun. Smith & Wesson .38. Loaded. Box of fifty rounds. You permit yourself an almost inaudible sigh and grin to yourself."

It's sort of strange at first but I warmed to it after a while. Banks' prose is generally rather good though, so perhaps no surprise there. I'm wondering does anybody know of texts which have been similarly narrated, and which actually work?

Author:  nacho [ Sun Jun 21, 2009 5:01 pm ]
Post subject:  You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

I have this book on my shelf. Never read it, so I'm not sure if it's any good. Wikipedia lists a few others, and a quick Google search says some Sherlock Holmes are written in second person.

Beyond ZORK, I can't think of anything else.

Author:  Munky [ Sat Jun 27, 2009 11:20 am ]
Post subject: 

I heard of If on a Winter's Night a Traveller before, but it's always seemed way too self-referential. I'd be willing to give it a go if somebody could tell me that it is actually any good, and not just gimmicky. Ditto the Wiki list, really. I guess I gotta do some proper research at some point... I can't seem to reproduce your Google search and I don't remember any second-person Holmes (I have read most of them, I think); care to point or indeed shove me in the right direction?

That Wiki also reminded me of the existence of intereactive fiction, and makes me want to start playing again.

Author:  nacho [ Sat Jun 27, 2009 12:01 pm ]
Post subject: 

I forget exactly what I search for, but it was here: ... 1#p1083877

Homestar Runner has some of them games!

Author:  Munky [ Sat Jun 27, 2009 1:40 pm ]
Post subject: 

Hm, okay, not too sure about the veracity of that source since I can't find any similar intel elsewhere. At some point I'll just skim the stories and see, but the bookshelf is all the way over there... Thanks anyway, Nach.

He, I remember being extremely frustrated by Thy Dungeonman. I want to get ye flask, god damn it!

Author:  KBKarma [ Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:44 pm ]
Post subject: 

Halting State, by Charles Stross. Since it's a sort of homage to gaming, it's written in the second person like adventure games.

Also, hi everybody, it seems I've come back.

Author:  Caligo [ Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:54 pm ]
Post subject: 

Clive Barker (semi) recently added Mr. B. Gone to the short list of second person tales. Throughout, the book itself is an entity addressing the reader, though much of the actual story is related as a first-person retelling of the events leading to the book's sentience. Not what I'd call great literature, but it was fun to read and pass along to a friend.

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