What is Spaces Left Blank?

A newsletter sent out at least once a month, with short essays/reflections on various forms of interactive fiction, prose-driven games (often RPGs, but not only), hypertexts, digital textuality, unusual techno-textual artifacts, and other works of electronic literature.

Why subscribe?

To receive new essays in your inbox and to have access to the archive. Because you think multi-linear, electronic texts are fascinating, because you love wordy video games, and/or you are interested in the interplays between language and technology. Also because you are a wonderful person who wants to support me.

Who are you?

My name is Axel Hassen Taiari. I am from Paris, France—well, the general area. I have published short fiction—mostly sci-fi, fantasy, and noir. My debut novel, a cosmic horror/ghetto/anti-colonial story called Ruination, will be released by King Shot Press in 2021. Think anti-racist Lovecraft set to a dope French-Arab hip-hop soundtrack curated by hacktivists.

I have an MA in Literature-Culture-Media (specialized in English Lit). My thesis, titled The Heroes We Never Are, deals with computer role-playing games, player interpellation, and the subjugation of the Other. As much as I love CRPGs, my thesis argues that most games belonging to the genre are incredibly manipulative, and that they often reproduce hegemonic forms of violence and oppression.

I am currently applying for PHD positions, and will hopefully land a position in literary, game, media, or visual studies. Fingers crossed.

Anything else?

You can find me on Twitter here. My website can be found by typing my name in a search engine. My favorite rappers are Aesop Rock and MF DOOM. Most of my work—writing prose and code, especially—is done in Linux and by using open source software. Current tools include Atom (with tons of packages), Pandoc to export to .doc/PDF/LaTeX/etc, and Zotero for references. You can read more about the importance of sustainable authorship and plain text workflows here.

Anything beyond that would be poor opsec.

I hope you are well.