Douglas, J. Yellowlees. The End of Books — Or Books Without End?: Reading Interactive Narratives. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000.
I thought that this reading gave a really good introduction to the idea of hypertext, as although this is an idea we have already been exposed too, I felt I didn’t have such a clear understanding of its relationship to narrative up until now. An example is primarily made of the interactive text Titanic: Adventure Out Of Time, through which the notion of choice on behalf of the reader and the implications this has in terms of traditional narrative texts and the possible readings and experiences drawn from the text. It is interesting to have different endings to a narrative as a result of the choices made by the reader, and I feel like this is something that is really exciting. The reading mentions the idea that hypertext in narrative in a way obliterates the existence of the ‘author,’ but I feel like the core story is still there and hence so is the author’s presence, and that perhaps by choosing to open their story up to multiple possible story lines proves their merit more as a writer more willing to embrace new media forms and prove that they can write in a less traditional manner. I don’t think that this is an easy task, and that the control which is given to the reader is something that author understands and writes towards, hence I don’t think their importance is lost.
With that said, I do believe that despite the author’s intentions, no reader would go away from the text with the same exact experience as that of another reader. This, I think, is what I find most exciting. The ability to pick options and direct your own way through a narrative is something that is so immersive and dependant on the active consumer, giving power to the reader to interpret and hence alter the sequential course of the narrative. This interactivity ensures that the reader feels some control over the story – despite all its parts being somewhat pre-determined – and is therefore something that will mean that each reader’s journey is entirely different to that of another. It becomes more personal; these are your choices altering the narrative’s progression, and I think that’s great.