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Pathfinders

Bill Bly's We Descend

Bill Bly is the author of the hypertext novel, We Descend (Eastgate, 1997) and the online chapbook Wyrmes Mete (2002). His print poems and stories have appears in 5 AM, Amelia, American Poetry Anthology, Antigonish Review, Encore, Explorations ’95, MacGuffin, Runes, Yahoo! Internet Life, and Zone 3, along with articles and reviews in Books & ReligionDidaskaliaThe Drama ReviewTekka, and Trinity News. He has taught writing at New York University, Fordham University, and Wagner College, where he ran the Writing Program, and has won the Stanley Drama Award, competitive residencies at Shenandoah Valley Playwrights Retreat, Ploughshares International Fiction Seminar, and Vermont Studio Center, as well as fellowships from the Shubert Foundation and the Empire State Institute for the Performing Arts.

Bly's We Descend, Volume One was produced with the Storyspace authoring system and published on floppy disk in 1997 by Eastgate, edited by Diane Greco, author of Cyborg: Engineering the Body Electric and historian of scienceVolume Two, containing new material not found in Volume One, was published by the author on the web in 2011.

The work has been indexed at ELMCIP's Knowledge Base and exhibited at the Electronic Literature Organization's first conference and media art show, State of the Arts, in 2002. It has been the subject of critical essays by Susana Pajares Tosca (1998), Mark Bernstein (2002), Anne Mangen (2006), and Astrid Ensslin (2007). Bly has frequently written about his work, most recently for Authoring Software, a blog published by Judy Malloy, reprinted here in this book. Bly's papers, including ephemera from the early days of electronic literature, in addition to extensive development notes for both volumes of We Descend, Volume One, are archived at The Bill Bly Collection at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, located at the University of Maryland College Park.
Versions of We Descend

Volume 1, 1997, on floppy disk (and CD, after 2000), with Storyspace 1.0, sold and distributed by Eastgate Systems, Inc., $24.95 (for Mac OS 9 and earlier)
Volume 1, 1998, on floppy disk, with Storyspace 1.0,  sold and distributed by Eastgate Systems, Inc., $24.95 (for Windows 95 up to Windows XP)
Volume 1, 1998, "WeDescend_30node," with Storyspace 1.0 (produced for readings and performances)
Volume 1, 1998, "Excerpt," HTML version, in the Gallery at Word Circuits (based on "WeDescend_30node")
Volume 1, 2006, on CD, with Storyspace 2.0, sold and distributed by Eastgate Systems, Inc., $24.95 (for Mac OS X 10.2 and later)

Volume 2 "Demo," November 2011, with Tinderbox
Volume 2 "Complete," August 2014, at wedescend.com

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  1. Bill Bly with Computers in ELL