In 100,000 Years…

A variety of events can happen in the time span  of 100,000 years. In Pierre Chevalier’s “short story”, 100,000 YEARSthat I found on the IFComp site, meeting an unknown species from outer space is one of the few events that happens and it is one of the most important events in this unique short story. Some other events that occur are: gaining the ability  to use psychic powers and traveling to other planets in a spacecraft to find refuge. This may sound awesome and all until you find out the truth behind these events. I will not spoil much of the story itself, but I will spoil the features that made this story unique.


My starting point for this story (click for a larger image)

This story is programmed to randomly choose one of the events as a starting point, so the beginning of the story could be different each time you decide to read it again. The picture above is one of the starting points I was given. The two arrows above the statement give you the choice to go 100,000 years before the starting point or 100,000 years after. Either way you will end up with the same realization at the end and be caught in the loop, so be careful because this short story may become the longest short story you ever read.


This picture demonstrates going forward through time (click to see a larger image)


This picture demonstrates going back through time (click to see a larger image)


The reason why is because this story loops over and over until the reader decides to stop it. However, since this story has no ending, it would be hard to stop if you did not know that fact. As a reader, you would be looking for some sort of ending or conclusion, so you would keep clicking and reading until you found the ending or came to the realization that there isn’t any sort of ending and that creates the moral for this “short story”. The moral being that history tends to repeat itself eventually. In this case, history repeats itself every 600,000 years because of certain things that keep happening within the story and it is also how this HTML story was programmed. It continues to repeat until the reader chooses not to go on anymore. The reader has the ability to leave the loop of traveling through time and stop time from moving in the story. This story depends on the reader’s ability to know when to continue and when you should quit. The way 100,000 YEARS challenges that ability helps this little story stand out more.

Now, I did not spoil much, so I encourage you to read it for yourself and find out why the history repeats itself in this story. It will not take up too much of your time, so feel free to read it when you get the chance. If you happen to develop an interest in this piece of Electronic Literature, Pierre also has other interesting pieces here that are worth trying and even worth blogging about.

  4 comments for “In 100,000 Years…

  1. Bekka
    January 20, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    This was a very interesting read! I liked how it was cyclical and the same events occurred and how these events follow the basic evolution of society, explain gods, etc. This is an interesting piece about how no matter what we do, events repeat themselves. Or maybe we can attempt to stop the cycle by refusing to participate – but would that just result in stagnation of a species? I’m looking forward to going through some of Pierre’s other works now.

  2. mstange
    January 20, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    I like how short and sweet this one is. It has such a simple concept, but is utilized well with the whole cyclical thing. Also the fact that is starts on a random slide is reminiscent of the “chicken or the egg” question that goes along with cyclical things. The whole premise reminds me of some of those History Channel specials about aliens giving us basic technologies, which I would be surprised if that was where he got his inspiration from. It was interesting to see someone expand on that idea and use this medium in a way that would compliment it.

  3. kdiemer54
    January 20, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    Like Bekka and mstange, I love how this concept is simple yet powerful. While this poem is cyclical like Taroko Gorge, I like “100,000 Years” better because it does not use randomly generated text, and it tells a story. In other words, it makes sense to me, and the writing feels more “human” and natural. I wonder why the author chose 100,000 years as the point where history changes. It seems like a very specific number. What do you think?

  4. Cameron Hodge
    January 27, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    This is a good example of what we were talking about in class about when and how a piece such as this “ends.” After a certain point of repetition, I always find myself trying to find something in the system itself rather than the story at-hand. I tend to think, in a text such as this or the ones we’d look at previously, that there’s something I’m ‘missing’ after I fail to break the repetition. I have no idea if that sort of thing is intentionally used to-effect by the authors, but I have a hard time breaking away from something like this without the sense that something is being hidden from me.

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