Finding the line

Filed under: Networked Media — erincollins at 1:06 pm on Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Is it possible that interactive narratives lose the point of narrative? If its purpose it to tell a guide a story, and the viewer/reader chooses it’s ending, who is narrating?

Jane Douglas wrote Books without Pages, Novels without Endings and explored the realm of hypertext as a medium, and explains that it is only the beginning.

“If the book is a highly refined example of a primitive technology, hypertext is a primitive example of a highly reā€¹ned technology, a tech- nology still at the icebox stage. ”

This extract from her book also speaks of the beauty in leaving literature as just that. She speaks of the fact that the potential of some stories told, begin and end within the pages that they were first written. Hollywood tirelessly twists the words of literature greats, Jane Austin among others mentioned, in order to tell their version, when really, it’s better on paper.

Whether it’s because it gives us an opportunity to create our own version of the world, or simply because they word it so well, the movies never come close to being as satisfying as the pages they were based upon, (though, Harry Potter came close).

Though, Douglas does bring up an excellent point, that reading is directed creation (J P Sartre), and that the most beautiful thing about it is perhaps that it is a different experience for everyone. Each character has a different face, mannerisms voice to each reader, though the words are the same.

So how far will hypertext go in its development? Will it expand as much as the novel has? Or is it a different form of technology, simply existing in order to aid the novel and book form? And an even more intriguing idea brought up by Douglas, will books eventually die?

There is no specific need for books anymore, most people have a replacement tablet or computer and their production is detrimental to the planet. The book, may well be on its way out, book shops are dropping like flies around us. Personally, I don’t want to live in a world without books. I would find it very sad if, 20 years from now, we’re all sitting around the fire at Mt Buller reading eMags and eBooks. For me, the paper is a major part of the story.

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  1. It Is Not a Problem of No Narrative, But Different Sorts | Networked Media

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