Landow, Hypertext, the Mess of it All

Alois has some riffs on the idea of hypertext that are speculative and helpful. Necklace I’m less convinced of personally since things only have a before and after on a necklace. Gabrielle discusses hypertext and narrative and the question of plot. In narratology plot very specifically means the order in which a story is told. So you have a story, what happened, and plot, how it is told. Some stories have plots where they’re told in order, some don’t. In hypertext, order is one of the key things that comes to matter as order always changes. Jennifer does an interesting speculative turn where if hypertext keep changing, then are they, in some small way, alive, or at least, like something living? I think the answer’s probably no, but there is an interesting relation between the complexity that some sorts of hypertext (particularly the fiction discussed by Landow), network graphs, and the living world that is worth thinking about. Most of that last sentence will only make sense after the next two lots of readings… So keep it in mind. Complex networks share common self organising structures/patterns, in both the natural world, and in hypertexts. Which is kinda spooky, kinda sci-fi, and kinda exciting. Anh thinks the idea of hypertext fiction is exciting, only to then decide the novel is the way to go. Except what if we just think of hypertextual fiction as not a novel, but still a work of literature? Then you get both. In relation to ‘authorial voice’ to date most hypertext fiction very much has an authorial voice, certainly as much as a novel. On the other hand there is plenty of experimental fiction, electronic and plain paper, that deliberately messes with any notion of authorial voice. So hypertext does not equal no author, though it can, but print has played that same game for a long time.