surviving the titanic

so, i started writing this post 10 whole days ago. then i realised that i’d read the readings for the wrong week and left it to come back to on a later date. and then time completely got away from me and so here i am, ten days later, finishing off and posting this (hopefully) awesome post about the reading. and of course, now i actually have to read the reading again to make sure i remember it. but that’s not too bad.

so, this reading, “the end of books or books without end?” was pretty hypertext heavy. and it was the first reading i’ve read so far that made me intersested in the concept of hypertext. why? because of that one question that was asked: what if you had a book that changed every time you read it?

Now, to me, that sounds crazy. as you all know, i am a traditional book lover. and i will read my books over and over again. but to me it does get a bit repetitive and i often find myself wishing that the book could change somehow.

not to fear! hypertext is here! what do we mean by that? that author’s can create stories with an almost unlimited number of possibilities. and the best part is.. we are creating the story. the story of the book will be based on our choices so it is unique to each one of us. this kinda reminded me of those old goosebumps books we used to read as kids. you know, the choose your own path books? they pretty much all ended in the reader’s gruesome death. my personal favourite was “escape from the carnival of horrors”.

but then, aren’t we destroying the timelessness or changelessness of the book? or are we just making it better? how do you know when you’ve reached the end. how does the author know how to write an end, or where the reader will take themselves? i guess this is where hypertext comes in. as Douglas mentions in the reading, “hypertext it fluid. print is fixed”. where a simple book can sometimes just last a matter of hours (unless you’re reading a song of ice and fire. that thing is huge!), an interactive book or hypertext novel can last for over a week! now doesn’t that sound exciting? and as a bonus you get a brand new story every time you read it. but even for me, every time i reread a book, i tend to find something i missed the first time round. now maybe i’m just not paying enough attention when i read my books, but still, no matter how many times i reread harry potter (now keep in mind this is generally about 3 times a year for each book) i still pick up something i didn’t remember from the previous read. and i have a pretty good memory. so for me books are always exciting.

now, speaking of harry potter, another thing douglas mentioned was the interactive titanic adventure. lets be honest, it sounded pretty cool. surviving the titanic, changing history. where can i find this. but this concept made me think of something else, not quite exact but similar. and that was pottermore.

now if you haven’t heard of pottermore, i really urge you to check it out (click here for the link). pottermore was created by J.K. Rowling to give her fans a more in depth harry potter experience. in addition to an awesome online read along version of each book (in which every screen has hidden clickable goodness), readers can find out what house they would fit into by completing a quiz, earn points for their house which is combined with points from all the others online, they can purchase all their own wizarding goodies from diagon alley, make potions and even compete in duels against other readers online. so not exactly hypertext but getting there. the difference here is the story stays the same, you just get to experience the world of the story in a way that you couldn’t really just from reading the book.

i guess i’m not so against hypertext after all. as long as it doesn’t replace the book altogether. i’ll leave you with one more quote from Douglas.

“the book is a highly refined example of primitive technology while hypertext is a primitive example of highly refined technology”.


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

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