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Paradiddle Rox

is an interactive fiction, a cybertext project written by Clive Fencott and programmed by Robin Fencott.

The latest version, Paradiddle Rox 49, is an Android app that can be downloaded here. The images on the left are screen shots of the app.

A video of Robin and Clive performing Paradiddle Rox 49 live at The Other Room can be viewed here.

Paradiddle Rox is a work in process; and probably always will be. Paradiddle Rox 49 followed on from 36; 64, 81 and so on will follow.

At the heart of the project are the various notions, theories and understandings associated with the word square: mathematical concept, visual concept, urban space, figure of speech and so on, and the tensions between these.

Paradiddle Rox is also concerned with the tensions between, not so much opposites, as the strikingly dis-similar: paradox and riddle, poetry and prose, words and graphics, books and video games, aesthetics and mathematics and so on.

Paradiddle Rox 36 contained 36 pages or wordsquares as they are called. Paradiddle Rox 49 is thus composed of 49 wordsquares. All of the wordsquares in 36 are contained in 49.

The first wordsquare, No. 415, was written by Clive as an entry in a competition to write a science fiction story in exactly twenty five words. Four others followed, Nos. 83, 252, 668 and 929, all with exactly 25 words.

Since then the process has developed somewhat. Instead of being restricted to 25 words, 5*5 of course, wordsquares can contain n*n words: where n is any natural (whole) number between 0 and 961, the largest square less than or equal to 999. This acts as a powerful constraint on the writing of wordsquares. You might notice that wordsquares in the current version contain anything from 0 to 225, 15 squared, words.

When written, each wordsquare is assigned a number generated randomly between 1 and 961 (31*31) at The number assignment process has developed into a method for composing wordsquares. Any set of wordsquares will now have a de facto ordering based on these numbers.

If an existing wordsquare has already been assigned a number generated for a new wordsquare then a replacement number will be generated for the earlier wordsquare. This means that as more wordsquares are created and thus more of the available numbers are used there will inevitably be more and more shuffling around of wordsquares in order to add a new one.

Robin Fencott programmed the first web-based, interactive version, Paradiddle Rox 36, in Java using the Processing environment. The program enables squares of wordsquares to be presented. This first version was a square of 36 wordsquares. Moving the mouse across the white background causes one or more of the 36 wordsquares to be displayed. One path that can be found through Parradiddle Rox 36 is by following the numbers assigned to each wordsquare in ascending order, starting with wordsquare 32.

Paradiddle Rox 49 looks the same as 36 but incorporates the additional 17 wordsquares. A latter version of the Android app will allow users to select either Paradiddle Rox 36 or 49: or any future versions.

Each wordsquare has been typeset and justified into a square using Open Office. Obviously, wordsquares comprised of small numbers of words result in odd or clumbsy justifications which suggest or signify a square rather than directly representing one. This technological intrusion is gratefully accepted.