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Portal: A Dataspace Retrieval

August 19th, 2005 Leave a comment Go to comments

Portal: A Dataspace Retrieval

Prior to today, “Reading an entire novel via web browser” wasn’t on my mental list of things I’ve done online. Portal is an “interactive novel” originally released in 1986 on the venerable 5 1/4″ floppy. It’s the story of an astronaut (cryonaut if you want to get into specifics) who returns to earth to find the entire planet deserted. A computer AI named Homer tells the entire story of how the human race left the planet, and how this sole human (the returned astronaut) is much more important than he himself is aware.

In a sense, Portal is a story about a story. Homer tells the story by piecing together all the remaining data on the planet, literally trillions of gigabytes that have accumulated on servers tasked with caring for humanity.

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