© 2013 ellathompson


Kay… so… yep. This reading confused me. Immensely.

It sort of felt like a hypertext piece in itself – perhaps because of the way it was written, or because of the jumping page numbers, or because page 228 occurred twice, or because of… reasons.


So, I will attempt to piece together what I did take away from it.

  • Every digital narrative doesn’t always take the form of hypertext
  • Michael Joyce wrote afternoon – he attempted to create multiple stories that were non-linear (paragraphs that can follow more than one paragraph, and produce different effects).
  • McHarg’s The Late-Nite Maneuvers of the Ultramundane combines into different narratives – many of them about sex and violence. Each variation introduces “a different weapon, a different betrayal”.
  • The author has two choices: compound their power of storytelling, or share it with readers.
  • In some “fictional webs”, readers build/discover one main narrative.
  • It is best to organise hypertext fiction in terms of range, spectra, axes etc. rather than in terms of diametric oppositions – since these polarities exaggerate difference and suppress our abilities to identify complexity.
  • Power of the author vs. power of the reader in hypertext fiction
  • Hypertext challenges concepts of narrative linearity
  • Aristotle defined plot as “a whole… which has beginning, middle, and end”.
  • Hypertext calls in to question – fixed sentence, definite beginning + ending.
  • In hypertext narrative, the reader can choose their route – following character, image, action etc.
  • Readers can become “reader-authors” – interfere with story, introduce elements, open new paths, interact with characters / author.
  • There are systems that permit readers to add text and links.
  • Authors generally prefer authorial power, or reader disorientation, or both.
  • There are many kinds of hyperfiction.
  • Some writers think that hypertext fiction should necessarily change our experience of the middle, but not of beginnings.
  • Modes of closure in hyperfiction – partial closure (followed by continuation), or reader “fatigue”.
  • Coover believes that “endings will and must occur”.


Two key questions from this:

  • Is it possible for hypertext to provide satisfying closure if it continues indefinitely?
  • What on earth is a lexia?




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