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Elfland Catacombs is one of the earliest examples of hypertext fiction . It was published by Winterhearth company in 1981, several years before Michael Joyce's Afternoon, a story (which is generally thought to be "the first hypertext fiction"). Author Alan Lance Andersen created Elfland Catacombs as a children's fantasy adventure, using the Commodore BASIC computer language. The plot involved the reader visiting an aunt in the border country of Scotland and becoming lost after crossing into Elfland with the help of an elf named Jennings. Numerous plot paths led to different endings — some happy and others not quite so pleasant. Unlike the many computer game style adventures of the period, this was a true electronic storybook with hypertextual links. Paul Jordan Hollander later converted it from the obsolete Commodore Basic into HTML files. Whatever its literary or technological merits may have been, "Elfland Catacombs" had little or no influence on the development of hypertext fiction. It was distributed on 5" floppy disk in Central Iowa; indeed, it appears to have been almost entirely forgotten outside of Iowa. It is not mentioned in Bolter and Joyce's seminal Hypertext 87 essay on "Hypertext and Creative Writing", nor in Ted Nelson's _Literary Machines_, George P. Landow's _Hypertext: The Convergence of Contemporary Literary Criticism and Technology_, nor in J. Yellowlees' Douglas 1991 doctoral dissertaion on hypertext fiction . It has never been cited in the Proceedings of the ACM Hypertext Conference. In contrast, Joyce's Afternoon, a story has been the subject of numerous reviews, essays, studies, and dissertations.
- Andersen, Alan Lance (1981). "Elfland Catacombs", Ames, Iowa: Winterhearth. http://www.interdrama.com/EC/
- Hollander's HTML version can be seen at http://www.interdrama.com/EC/