Friday, April 4, 2014

April A to Z - D is for Demien Katz and Vupop

Hello all!  Well, we have a post about the 2014 Vupop conference which is all about gamebooks and interactive fiction.  It will be taking place in Villanova University (Pennsylvania, USA) on the 9th June, and if you fancy submitting a paper to it, the deadline is the 2nd May, giving you just under a month to write something.  The organiser of this great event is Demien Katz, keeper of the encyclopedic  What he doesn't know about gamebooks simply isn't worth knowing, and know he is going to gather gamebook and interactive fiction experts around him at Vupop to create a massive gamebook brain capable of writing the most magnificent gamebook ever (some of that might be metaphor).  Here is the interview...

How has the last 12 months been for you and gamebooks?

It's been a good year for gamebooks. While much of my time has been spent elsewhere, I've nonetheless managed to help plan the forthcoming VuPop Interactive Fiction conference, write my first full-length gamebook (to be released at VuPop), and continue to edit some really excellent adventures for Fighting Fantazine.
Where did the idea for VuPop come from?

VuPop started last year. Villanova University has a history of running free conferences out of its library, and when we discovered a forgotten collection of 19th century dime novels in our basement, we used that as the seed to start a series of conferences promoting under-studied areas of popular culture. Last year's dime novel event was a huge success, attracting a lot of big names in the field and featuring some really fascinating presentations. This year, we decided to switch gears to interactive fiction due to my knowledge of the subject.
Can you give us a preview of the kind of things going on at VuPop?

The heart of the conference will be presentations on a variety of subjects -- I expect a heavy emphasis on gamebooks since that's the area where I have the most contacts, but we hope to cover other related areas as well. We already have a talk on visual novels lined up which I'm really looking forward to, as I don't know a lot about this subject myself and look forward to learning more. We'll also have several gamebook creators talking about the nature of interactivity, gender roles in interactive fiction, and tools of the trade. I'll probably give a bit of a history lesson if the schedule leaves room for it.
Outside of the lectures, we're still doing some planning to pin down all the details, but it's likely that there will be an open panel discussion with all of the speakers, and we may also have a pizza-and-games party after the close of the conference to allow some social time between interested guests.
There will also be a physical exhibit on-site with some interesting IF items to look at; I may have donated most of my collection to University of Santa Barbara, but I still have a few tricks up my sleeves.
Will there be videos of VuPop for people to watch?

We're planning to stream the event live and also provide archived video. This will be dependent on speakers' willingness to sign release forms to allow their talks to be shared, but so far most of the speakers have already agreed. Expect at least some content if not the whole event online.
Will there be future VuPops?  Maybe international VuPops?

We're definitely thinking about possible subjects for future VuPops, but whether the series continue will depend on budgetary issues. The "Vu" in "VuPop" stands for Villanova University, so we probably wouldn't hold a VuPop conference off-site. However, we're a very collaborative team and would be open to teaming up with other institutions on future events if circumstances permitted.
How can people go to VuPop, or be part of it in some way?

VuPop is totally free to attend -- we'll even feed you lunch. All you have to do is register online, and then find your way to Villanova (which is in a pleasant suburban environment near Philadelphia). If you would like to speak at the conference, we still have room. Feel free to register and/or submit a talk proposal at If you wish to participate but cannot attend, there's always the online stream I mentioned... and if you have something to say to the crowd, we might be able to arrange a showing of a pre-recorded video or add a Skype feed to the panel discussion. Whatever happens, bring your creativity and prepare to have fun. We've built a reputation for doing a lot on a small budget, and I think we're going to pull off another exciting event this time around.


  1. The April A to Z is going great so far! These first few posts have been fascinating.

    Man, I wish I lived remotely near Philadelphia - or had a ton of money to spend on airfare - so that I could make my way to VuPop...

  2. Hello there Stuart, sorry for contacting you from here, but i haven't got other means of contact, just to tell the conversion is done, if you want you could check there, and tell me if you liked it, and want to change anything.