The traversal method of Pry quickly becomes intuitive. Zooming in and out on a touch screen is already natural enough for a traverser, so zooming out to see the subconscious and zooming in to see what the main character sees is easy to understand and easy to figure out if the traverser misses the instructions. This work is significantly easier to traverse than more complicated or nested pieces of E-lit, and is presumably more palatable to a traverser who has not spent much time with E-lit, while still having controls that will intrigue traversers familiar with more complicated E-lit. The basic structure, zoom out to see subconscious, zoom in to see sight, and the base level being the conscious thoughts, the text that is the thrust of the story, could be a structure that other electronic works could use. The traversal method seems so versatile and something that could be applied in many different stories to create many different effects that build the main character that it could create its own genre if enough authors mimicked this traversal style. The separation of thoughts, sight, and the subconscious are used in Pry to illustrate the experience of PTSD. I could see this traversal method translating to other mental health disorders in interesting ways, such as making the sight and thoughts more difficult to access over time and the subconscious become overpowering or taking control from the traverser and switching between perspectives rapidly.

The three perspectives combine to create a constant montage, that the traverser controls. During my first traversal through the first four chapters, I tried to switch perspectives as thoroughly and regularly as possible, cycling through conscious, subconscious, conscious, sight, repeatedly in the same order. The conscious is between the subconscious and sight and by opening the subconscious or looking at what the character sees you progress the conscious text, so it is presumably impossible to see both the sight and subconscious that corresponds to one conscious thought, unless the visuals and subconscious last longer than a single conscious thought. It was difficult to traverse this way though, and I found myself switching between just the conscious thought and sight during the demolition chapter and switching mostly between the conscious thought and the subconscious during the first chapter, as the main characters sight is of his perspective in bed. The traversal method and the many montage combinations that can be created with it mean this work is best understood by being traversed multiple times.


Overall, I really enjoyed Pry. It was cinematic, atmospheric, and really drew me into the character and his story. From the beginning, I liked how it seemed to be divided into clear sections of narrative–reality, lucid thoughts, and intrusive thoughts–but that quickly became blurred with the imagined Jessie appearing and looming over his bed, and continued bleeding into each other as the story progressed…until even you, the reader, is uncertain as to what exactly is James’ memories or imagination and what is actually happening (or has happened). The mechanics of opening James’ eyes, or ‘pinching’ them further shut and retreating into memories and intrusive thoughts, was both visually compelling as well as helped to build James as a character.

I also liked the metaphor of his current career. As a construction worker, he is literally trying to build something of his life, but all he is able to do is tear it (buildings, his life) all down in explosions both literally and metaphoric. The braille motif was very interesting as well. I liked the mechanics behind it, running your finger over the images of the dots to see what it means to James, as well as the symbolic nature of the motif. I took it as foreshadowing concerning his vision: as James’ mental health deteriorates, he is unable to ‘see’ what is actually happening in his life and what is his own intrusive thoughts and flashbacks…and so he’s becoming literally unable to see as well, relying on braille and memories to find his way through the world.

Finally, I thought that the overall story was really intriguing. I thought the author did a great job of crafting a realistic world and characters, immersing the reader into James’ state of mind and being. The cinematography helped to portray James’ mental state as well, from the clear, steady camerawork of the prologue, to later scenes with off coloring or tilted cameras as James’ view of the world around him grows more skewed and distorted. I can’t wait to keep reading and find out what happens next.