Skip to Main Content
Publication Cover
Journal Continuum
Journal of Media & Cultural Studies
Latest 旺财体育s
CrossRef citations to date
Translator disclaimer


Contemporary risk society has caused many creative practitioners to question the role, effect, and potential of their practice. In seeking to find a means by which creative writing can do something in the real world, this article examines the use of directive speech acts 鈥 such as commands, requests, and invitations 鈥 in print and digital branching narratives and choose-your-own-adventure texts. I focus on The Throne of Zeus, Depression Quest, and Queers in Love at the End of the World, investigating both standard directives and what I classify as 鈥榣atent鈥 directives: commands 鈥榟idden鈥 within the text, taking forms such as styled hyperlinks and typographical notes and citations. Deploying Aarseth鈥檚 definitions of ergodic literature, DelConte鈥檚 concept of partially-coincident narration, and Juul鈥檚 ludological theory of the half-real, I find that the directives featured in these texts step beyond their fictional context, operating as true speech acts within our stretched-out present and collapsed temporal horizon, thereby strengthening the texts鈥 overall illocutionary goal. These texts speak to and of the precarity of our present time, embodying 鈥 and allowing a reader to embody 鈥 lived experiences of extended nows, and allowing us to take control in acting towards a present-to-be.

Disclosure statement

No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.

Additional information

Notes on contributors

Shastra Deo

Shastra Deo is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at The University of Queensland. Her practice-led research focuses on nuclear semiotics, the poetics of warning, and linguistic pragmatics in video games. She holds a Bachelor of Creative Arts in Writing and English Literature, First Class Honours and a University Medal in Creative Writing, and a Master of Arts in Writing, Editing and Publishing. Shastra鈥檚 poetry collection, The Agonist (UQP 2017), won the 2016 Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize and the 2018 Australian Literature Society Gold Medal.

Log in via your institution

Log in to Taylor & Francis Online

Purchase * Save for later

旺财体育 Purchase 24 hours to view or download: USD 44.00 Add to cart

Issue Purchase 30 days to view or download: USD 342.00 Add to cart

* Local tax will be added as applicable