Plato’s Allegory of the Cave has nothing on Erik Loyer’s Chroma. This was particular piece of digital fiction was full of existentialist propaganda smothered in a shitload of strange conspiracy theories dedicated to a realm known as “Mnemonos”. This six chapter (there are supposed to be seven, but the seventh part has yet to be posted) piece of electronic storytelling is captivating as well as disturbing. Existing as a crossover of ideas similar to those that are featured in Jorge Luis Borges’s Library of Babel and the cinematic classic, Shark Boy and Lava Girl readers are welcomed into the realm of Mnemonos alongside the story’s narrator, Dr. Ian Anders and his chosen three: Orion17, Duck at the Door, and Farmer Perry. Mnemonos is the realm that Dr. Anders believes to once have been the natural habitat of human beings, but have been banished from with the erasure of the existence of this plane from all of mankind’s memory. His chosen three disciples have a strong affinity for marrow, which is a substance that makes up Mnemonos and allows for those with the ability to wield marrow, to create anything that they can imagine.
Each chapter of the story is narrated from the points of view from the three chosen ones and their leader, Dr. Anders. Though not given much background on the protagonists, the reader is able to get a feel for each of the character’s personality traits and some of their ideals and morals. Of all three characters, Duck had the most captivating backstory, and the heaviest voice. She talks about “having to play the game of life” by following the set of rules established by her parents and how her recent travels to the realm of Mnemonos alongside her companions will once again lead her to the need to “cheat” in order to get over the established rules set by her enlightened peers. The strangest chapter of this work is definitely Duck’s first entry, where the question, “Is this what you wanted?” is typed out well over 39 times (yes, I counted). The tone of this work is very abrupt and anxiety inducing. As each chapter ends, you’re left constantly wondering what is exactly taking place and for what reason is this situation occurring.
Overall, this work was better than some of my early experiences with electronic literature. The plot and the characters were all interesting and well developed. The graphics at times were a little lacking, but when reading the allowed text versions of the story, it was very realistic and easy to navigate as well as understand. If you have the opportunity, I would suggest giving Chroma a quick look through.