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June 21, 1992
Add: March 2000
Robert Coover's "The Death of the Book"
in the NYT book Review (6/21/92). All
about creative writing workshop
experiments with hypertextual fiction.
The "Death of the Novel" line he takes
is a bit overblown, but it's a fairly
"Print may be read as
hypertext, but hypertext
may not be read as print."
(Which is awfully reminscent of
the "embrace and extend" ploy...)
I've always just assumed that fiction
where the actual underlying structure is
hypertextual is just a kind of dumb Like the brief craze for
idea, something that will always be at "Interactive Fiction",
best a marginal art form. where you make choices at
the end of each passage.
The problem of "closure" that
Coover sites has always seemed First and foremost being Charles
like an insoluble problem to me Platt's "Norman vs. America", a
in a non-linear work of fiction. story told in something like
Maybe this isn't true, though. underground comic book format,
published in the Quark series of
For instance, you can write a anthologies.
work with multiple possible paths
through the material, all of Come to think of it, at the end
which have a certain sense of of it, he even had an over-view
closure of their own. A tree map of all the possible paths
pattern, a single root problem or through the material (something
conflict, resolved in different that some hypertext systems have
ways... (A critic of Zelazny's incorporated as a feature to help
conclusion to the Amber series prevent getting lost).
might pick the point where the
man went wrong, and try to
finish it in a different way.
Great, unfinished novels like
"The Last Tycoon" present such a
challenge that they may inspire
multiple writers to attempt
different endings. )
A loop pattern (like the figure 8
that began the doomfile) has a DESPERATE
definite sense of closure about
There's the random deck of cards
approach. Say one of Adliss's
"triptychs", only set up to be
read in any order. The same
narrative told from a half dozen
different view points, with none
of them given primacy?
Well, maybe it has possiblities.
I don't exactly see the point of it all
however. Don't see *why* you'd do it.
What's the problem with the linear
If it's not broke...
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