Book Report: The Lost City of Zork by Robin W. Bailey (1991)

This book brings back the memories. Memories of text-based games I started, but couldn’t actually get through. Or far into, for that matter. We bought a number of titles from Infocom for the Commodore 64 (Zork, Zork II, Zork III, Deadline, and Suspended), but I only completed Deadline because I got the hint book and it showed me the important pivot point required to get to the solution.

This book precedes the games and attempts to recreate the odd flavor of Zork. It doesn’t do so well. One can approach the book as a rather lightweight, lighthearted fantasy book and enjoy it a bit, though. Plus, it gives backstory for the Zork world, so if you’re an aficionado, you probably ought to read it.

Anyway, the plot: a farm boy banished from his village goes to Bophree to seek his fortune, only to find a tyrant newly in power. He’s impressed into the navy, survives a shipwreck, and returns with a sidekick and a sorceror to Bophree to find all the other magicians are missing. They’ve got to find the conjurors and overthrow the dictator.

The book starts out okay, with some nice backstory, but about halfway through its event-driven plot starts to run things, and then things happen, deus machinate, and coincidences occur to solve the problems. Then it ends.

Eh. It ain’t Tolkien, but it won’t take you a month to read.

Books mentioned in this review: