Adam Cadre

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Adam Cadre (born February 5, 1974, in Silver Spring, Maryland[1]) is an American writer active in a number of forms—novels, screenplays, webcomics, essays—but best known for his work in interactive fiction.[2]


Cadre's 1998 piece Photopia pioneered a new direction in interactive fiction, removing the puzzle and resource-management elements that had previously been dominant; it has been cited as "hugely influential to IF development"[3] and "important to video games as a whole, to the advancement of our understanding of the interactive medium."[4] His next IF work, 1999's Varicella, won several XYZZY Awards and became the subject of academic study.[5] His game 9:05 is commonly seen as a solid entry point for people wanting to engage with interactive fiction.[6]

Chief among his non-interactive work is a novel, Ready, Okay! (2000).

Lyttle Lytton Contest[edit]

The Lyttle Lytton Contest, run by Adam Cadre, is a diminutive derivative of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, and was first awarded in the year 2001. Both are tongue-in-cheek contests that take place annually and in which entrants are invited "to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels." The Lyttle Lytton Contest varies from the Bulwer-Lytton in favoring shorter first sentences, initially limited to 25 words or fewer. For the 2008 competition, the maximum combined word count of an entrant's submission was increased to 30 words, and an individual entry could consist of multiple sentences. For 2011, the limit was raised to 33 words, and for 2012, a limit of 200 characters was established instead.

Top winners
  • 2019 – "“Are you okay?” asks my sister Tlaloc.  “You’re as green as the parrots that inhabit this part of the continent.”" (Lachlan Redfern)
  • 2018 – "As I felt the vampire sexily drinking the blood from my neck, the warmth between my legs grew both in wetness and in fear for my life." (Cole Borsch)
  • 2017 – "1.  YOU, the Anagramancer, stare down the invading MANTICORE: Will you ROMANCE IT (turn to 123), give it CREMATION (turn to 213), or summon EROTIC MAN (turn to 312)?" (Stephen Wort)
  • 2016 – "It all started when my topaz eyes looked up into his soft emerald ones." (Will McGill)
  • 2015 – "I drew my customized Kimber 1911 .45, with the Pachmayr grips and skeletonized trigger, and leveled it coolly at the African-Americans." (Brad Hanon)
  • 2014 – "'Together, we will beat them all,' she whispered, caressing the circlet-girt fontanelles of her #royalbaby." (Alex Thorpe)
  • 2013 – "The men greeted each other, wearing various smiles on their faces." (Noah MacAulay)
  • 2012 – "Agent Jeffrey's trained eyes rolled carefully around the room, taking in the sights and sounds." (Davian Aw)
  • 2011 – "The red hot sun rose in the cold blue sky." (Judy Dean)
  • 2010 – ""I shouldn't be saying this, but I think I'll love you always, baby, always," Adam cried into the email. " (Shexmus Amed)
  • 2009 – "The mighty frigate Indestructible rounded the Horn of Africa and lurched east'ard." (Pete Wirtala)
  • 2008 – "Because they had not repented, the angel stabbed the unrepentant couple thirteen times, with its sword." (Graham Swanson)
  • 2007 – "It clawed its way out of Katie, bit through the cord and started clearing." (Gunther Schmidl)
  • 2006 – "This is the cipher key for all that follows: |||||| || |!" (P. Scott Hamilton)
  • 2005 – "John, surfing, said to his mother, surfing beside him, 'How do you like surfing?' " (Eric Davis)
  • 2004 – "This is the story of your mom's life." (Rachel Lambert)
  • 2003 – "For centuries, man had watched the clouds; now, they were watching him." (Stephen Sachs)
  • 2002 – "The pain wouldn't stop, and Vern still had three cats left." (Andrew Davis)
  • 2001 – "Turning, I mentally digested all of what you, the reader, are about to find out heartbreakingly." (Top Changwatchai)
Other winners

In addition to the main contest, others are offered from year to year. The winners of those are:

  • Freeform contest, 2007 – "Scaling Everest was, by far, the most amazing and transformative experience of my life. Unfortunately, this is a thesis on context-free grammars." (Jonathan Blum)
  • Screenplay contest, 2007 -


EXT. FIELD DAY COW is standing in the field. NARRATOR: The cow is sad. (Pretending to be a mournful cow.) Mooooooo.

— Sean Kernes
  • Paragraph contest, 2006 – "The evil Intergalactic Emperor surveyed the destruction he wrought. 'Booyah!' he cried with glee. 'I'm in ur base! I'm killing all ur mans!' " (James Wall)
  • Political speech contest, 2004 – "While my opponents fellate the Satan of special interests, I go down on Reform's compassionate angel." (anonymous)
  • Paul Clifford contest, 2003 – "It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents – except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness. Steeling himself for battle, Fyandor, the oldest and bravest of the lamps, proclaimed, 'Nay, foul wind, this will not be the night of our extinguishment!' " (anonymous)
  • Last line contest, 2002 – " 'Lawd a'mighty,' howled Caleb, to the consternation of those few who still remained in the helpless, drifting lifeboat, 'some of y'all are lookin' mighty tasty!' " (Mark Silcox)



  1. ^ Adam Cadre. "101". Archived from the original on 2006-05-08. Retrieved 2016-08-23.
  2. ^ "The .Z5 Obstructions: Leveraging Constraints in Interactive Fiction". Archived from the original on 2012-06-23.
  3. ^ Emily Short. "Photopia – Details".
  4. ^ Jordan Magnuson. "Photopia: Not a Mediocre Short Story".
  5. ^ Nick Montfort and Stuart Moulthrop. "Face It, Tiger, You Just Hit the Jackpot: Reading and Playing Cadre's Varicella" (PDF).
  6. ^ Bibby, Jay (June 11, 2008). "9:05". Jay Is Games. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
  7. ^ a b "XYZZY Awards: 1997 Winners". Archived from the original on 2010-02-28. Retrieved 2010-09-19.
  8. ^ a b c d "XYZZY Awards: 1999 Winners". Archived from the original on 2000-03-03. Retrieved 2010-09-19.
  9. ^ "XYZZY Awards: 1998 Winners". February 6, 1999. Archived from the original on February 2, 2007. Retrieved 2010-09-19.
  10. ^ "XYZZY Awards: Winning Games of 2003". Archived from the original on 2007-02-04. Retrieved 2010-09-19.
  11. ^ a b c "XYZZY Awards: Winning Games of 2002". Archived from the original on 2007-02-04. Retrieved 2010-09-19.
  12. ^ "XYZZY Awards: Winning Games of 2000". Archived from the original on 2008-10-03. Retrieved 2010-09-19.

External links[edit]