Retro Reading: The Game Novellas Homepage - thousands of words worth

Originally at and now at

Last updated 28th Feb 2010 (uploaded Geocities site to San Fran Systems corporate website)

Last updated 1st May 2004 (Added email address, bulletin board, pleased at the number of links from TheUnderdogs)

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Nobody is signing my guestbook, so Discuss the Game Novellas on this Bulletin Board

The complete collection of

Level 9 Novellas by Peter McBride:

All proofread by Gunther Schmidl

Also available from GMD

Knight Orc: The Sign of the Orc

Silicon Dreams: Eden Song

Time & Magik: Time & Magik

Jewels of Darkness: The Darkness Rises

Gnome Ranger: The Gnettlefield Journal (NEW!!) (thanks to Peter McBride for mailing me the journal)

Gnome Ranger II: Ingrid's Back: The Second Gnettlefield Journal (thanks again to Peter for this)

Level 9 Copy Protection

The purpose of this novella archive is for novellas to read, not to bypass the copy protection. If you want to play Level 9 games without having to enter words from the manual, run them with the Level 9 Interpreter, available from the Interactive Fiction Archive.

Added for reference, but no novellas available: 2010-09-24: Stephen Marley Novellas

Other Novellas

Search for Sharla | Amberstar | Lionheart | Dragonflight | Verminator | Wrath of Magra | Killing Cloud | Frontier: Elite II | Mercenary | Exile | Driller | Wreckers | Weird Dreams | Shadow of the Unicorn | Elite: Dark Wheel | Elite: Imprint | The Pawn: A Tale of Kerovnia | LOM 1: Lords of Midnight | LOM 2: Doomdark's Revenge | LOM 3: The Citadel | Search for Sharla by Lance Mason - This is for the unfinished, over-budget Thalamus game Search for Sharla, which I remember reading about fondly. Novella converted to HTML with permission, please visit the Search for Sharla webpage when it's back up!

Amberstar Novel - by Jurie Horneman, scanned in a while ago by some guys (rest of manual trimmed from this version)

Lionheart Novel by Jurie Horneman - This is a deep link as the only link to this is from the News page. Check out Alex's Thalion site!

Dragonflight novel by Richard Karsmakers After a year or two, finally here, thanks to The Thalion Webshrine proprietor, is the ultra-ultra-rare Dragonflight novel, with the added permission of the author.

Verminator by Richard Hewison - Another extremely rare novella, again send to me by the original author. Verminator was a game written by Tao Group co-founder Chris Hinsley. Richard Hewison wanted no piracy, so this is encapsulated in PDF. I recommend GhostScript for viewing PDFs as you can tilt the screen and Acrobat is horrible. The addition of this novella brings this archive nearly to a close.

Wrath of Magra - An extremely rare and old game, I was very lucky to have Stuart Galloway, the author, contact me offering to send me a copy of the novella. I scanned in the novella (but not the creature glossary in the back, as it wasn't really a novella), and then the artist gave me permission (through Stuart) to put the pictures up there. The pictures are great! Anyway, here it is, probably the 2nd rarest novella to Interlude on Targ.

Killing Cloud - This game was released in 1991, and came with a comicbook and a novella. You can get the comicbook and novella in a PDF from, but the version here is OCR'ed, a much smaller file, and readable without Adobe Acrobat

Frontier: Elite II gazetteer/novella, containing fictional descriptions of some solar systems, and 8 stories by various authors

Exile novella (improved by Dalai and Rich of the Columbus Force/Exile Project)

Mercenary: Interlude on Targ (from the Mercenary Compendium)

Driller novella

Tir Na Nog: Extracts from the Book of Tears (game novella)

Wreckers by Rupert Goodwins - thanks to Rupert Goodwins

Weird Dreams by Rupert Goodwins - thanks to Rupert Goodwins

James Follett wrote the Starglider 1&2 novellas, and the Tracker novella, however, these are soon to be re-published, so I cannot reproduce them here

Shadow of the Unicorn from Mikro-Gen by Dale and Shelley McLoughlin thanks to David Batty - click here for the story behind Shadow of the Unicorn and click here to see what Dale & Shelley are up to now

Acornsoft's Elite: "The Dark Wheel" by Robert Holdstock from LOTF (Life on the Frontier) where you can find other Elite fiction (look under 'The Library')

Elite: Imprint by Andy Redman

The Pawn: A Tale of Kerovnia by Georgina Sinclair.

1: Lords of Midnight: Midnight Chronicles novella

2: Doomdark's Revenge: The Icemark Chronicles novella

3: The Citadel novella

The Rise and Fall of Shimmerism - This is a novel based on the world of Mercenary - You can read it online at iUniverse, but I recommend you buy it if you like it


Any videogame is enhanced by its packaging and contents. Infocom games (80s text adventures) are enhanced by the items that come with them, and the background story.

But Level 9 games went one step further, including entire novellas (a short novel) both to add atmosphere and act as copy protection. Other games did this, I have tried to collect as many possible here. Peter McBride wrote the Level 9 novellas, and did an excellent job - these novellas create a wonderful pre-atmosphere for the games.

He has given me permission to reproduce his novellas here, so for the first time here they are on-line, in hypertext format.

Thanks to Gunther Schmidl for proofreading the 'Textbridge'-scanned novellas.

About the Author - Peter McBride

Peter McBride (click here for his homepage) is a professional writer who has kindly given permission to reproduce his novellas here.


People who played and enjoyed Knight Orc like might to check out Shades, a classic MUD (Multi-User Dungeon) which started in 1987 (before Knight Orc was released) - you should be able to see the similiarities between it and Knight Orc.

The Shades game was based on BT's MUD2, an early MUD, although you have to pay a subscription to play MUD2.

Shades homepage
Play Shades via Telnet (use VT100 and port 23)

About mirroring: I keep a copy of every novella I come across because literature is precious, but of course I only put them here with permission


For those who are curious, click here to see the front and back of the legendary Lenslok (red variety).

Missing in Action

Mercifully not much. Basically, "The President Is Missing" novella would be nice to have on here.

Thankyou for Visiting!!

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