The End of Books--Or Books Without End?: Reading Interactive by Jane Yellowlees Douglas

By Jane Yellowlees Douglas

Of all advancements surrounding hypermedia, none has been as hotly or often debated because the conjunction of fiction and electronic expertise. J. Yellowlees Douglas considers the consequences of this union. She appears on the new mild that interactive narratives might shed on theories of analyzing and interpretation and the probabilities for hypertext novels, all over the world Web-based brief tales, and cinematic, interactive narratives on CD-ROM. She confronts questions which are on the heart of the present debate: Does an interactive tale call for an excessive amount of from readers? Does the concept that of readerly selection smash the integrity of an author's imaginative and prescient? Does interactivity flip analyzing fiction from "play" into "work"--too a lot paintings? Will hypertext fiction overtake the unconventional as a kind of paintings or leisure? And what may destiny interactive books glance like?The publication examines feedback on interactive fiction from either proponents and skeptics and examines similarities and alterations among print and hypertext fiction. It appears heavily at significantly acclaimed interactive works, together with Stuart Moulthrop's Victory backyard and Michael Joyce's Afternoon: a narrative that remove darkness from how those hypertext narratives "work." whereas she sees this as a still-evolving know-how and medium, the writer identifies attainable advancements for the way forward for storytelling from remarkable examples of Web-based fiction and CD-ROM narratives, percentages that would allow narratives to either painting the area with higher realism an to go beyond the limits of novels and flicks, personality and plot alike.Written to be obtainable to quite a lot of readers, this vigorous and accessibly-written quantity will entice these attracted to know-how and cyberculture, in addition to to readers conversant in literary feedback and glossy fiction.J. Yellowlees Douglas is the Director of the William and beauty Dial heart for Written and Oral communique, college of Florida. She is the writer of various articles and essays as regards to hypertext and interactive literature.

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When data of any sort are placed in storage, they are ‹led alphabetically or numerically, and information is found (when it is) by tracing it down from subclass to subclass. . The human mind does not work in that way. It operates by association. 22 Readers using Bush’s Memex would collect snippets of information from a huge variety of sources, link them together with “trails,” and even insert comments or notes of their own. 23 Ironically, the most striking aspect of the Memex—its potential to radically reorganize the valuing and handling of information as a commodity—was treated by Bush as simply part of a system that made storing and retrieving information more ef‹cient.

It is an encounter and a performance not terribly distant from the kind shared by ancient rhapsodes, who sifted through memorized, formulaic versions of cherished stories, and the live audiences whose demands partially shaped the versions they heard. So where, exactly, does this leave the reader: behaving something like an actor improvising within an assigned role in a John Cassavetes ‹lm—or like a reader enjoying a mild frisson of pleasure at being able to choose an ending in one of those “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories?

Readers are now seen as breathing life into texts, reifying, or concretizing their possibilities—even receiving the text by creating it, in an effort nearly tantamount to that exerted by the author. As Barthes argues in “The Death of the Author,” [A] text is made of multiple writings, drawn from many cultures and entering into mutual relations of dialogue, parody, contestation, but there is one place where this multiplicity is focused and that place is the reader, not . . the author. . [T]o give writing its future .

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