Down, a Novel

Back in 1994 I completed a novel and tried to get it published. I might have saved myself the bother, because no-one was interested in it. It was a weird, surreal tale that started off as a fantasy novel and switched to the then-popular form of magic realism, as the characters found themselves in our world. Living in inner-city Sydney, in fact, which meant I could include all sorts of observations of the people I was living with at the time.

After failing to get it into paper form I turned to the new medium of the internet. The first site I ever created was done using Microsoft Word 5 in a Mac II, carefully saving the pages as text, adding graphics made in Photoshop 2, working in 8 Meg of RAM. The limitations were terrible compared to the machines I have worked on since, but I was proud of the results.

The site, hosted by the now dead Realnet, linked to downloadable copies of the book, in text file form but also as Hypercard stacks. Hypercard is a multimedia system for the Mac which includes highly advanced scripting capabilities, which I used to write scripts which automatically imported, formatted and laid out the text. It was like Director before there was Director. This was also my first effort at programming a "modern" computer, since I hadn't done anything since the BBC model B days of my schooling.

Enough waffling. You can now read the thing in the original Mac Plus Hypercard experience in the emulator embedded below! Click the emulator to start it, then once the desktop appears, double click the "disk" icon, then the Down MacPlus folder, the Down / Mac+ icon. Remember that to use menus in this old system you have to click and hold for the menu to appear. Thanks to the Internet Archive for this experience.

If you want to download it and have an ancient Mac I recommend the Powerbook version of the Hypercard stack, as the colour version has problems with modern monitors. Otherwise the text file offers maximum cross-platform reliability.

Text file

Hypercard stack for Mac Plus

Hypercard stack for Powerbook

Hypercard stack with colour