Week 6- Reading Response- Hypertext

This weeks reading Hypertext 3.0 ‘Reconfiguring Narrative’ by George Landow discusses the way in which we view modern stories and narrative media.  Landow puts forward web fiction and how Sanford adds colour and images to add motion to the narrative, however the HTML link functions solely to provide sequence. The cinematic effects the Sanford uses, appear not as a full motion video, but as a ‘film script’. Landow assures that he is not using Landow’s project “not to criticise it’s lack of hypertextuality but to remind us that the digital word and image, even on the World Wide web, does not inevitably produce hyper textual narrative”.
Landow then goes on using Michael Joyce’s afternoon as an example to say that there can be a “desire to create multiple stories out of a relatively small amount of alphanumeric text”.

This reading made me think of the Goosebumps series that I read in middle school. Goosebumps are children’s horror fiction novels where the reader has the ability to choose the outcome of the story depending on which ‘option’ they chose. Do they open the door and walk into the hallway, or do they get the knife from the kitchen? Depending on which option they chose, they follow through to an outcome which then gives them more options to choose, thus leading to different endings of the story.

Technically Goosebumps are not Hypertext fiction as it is not a form of  electronic literature, there are links that the reader can choose to move from one node of text to the next, however one can read a Goosebumps book from cover to cover without needing to follow the electronic links to go to the next narrative. Goosebumps are quasi-hypertext realities as there is more freedom for the reader to move and choose which links they follow. I remember as a child, If I made a mistake and found I chose the wrong option, I would go back to the first page and try and figure out the right option so that I would I ‘win’.

An example of an actual Hypertext fiction that comes to mind, the only one that I actually know of is Robert Coover’s ‘The babysitter’, where he presents the reader with multiple possibilities with multiple endings. Allowing the reader to somewhat choose the direction in which the story goes.

Click this link to read an interesting article titled ‘Why the book’s future never happened’ which discusses how no work of hypertext fiction has been published since 2001 and the futuristic style of reading never took off.


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