Masters thesis: Influence of the World Wide Web on literature
School of Literary and Communication Studies
Geelong Victoria Australia
Supervisor: Dr Lyn McCredden, Research and Graduate Studies Convenor
November 25, 1997
RETURNABLITY to PhD
The World Wide Web provides facilities for building multiple views of hypertext applications which are linked with other modes within applications. This multiple views affect on narration opens up literature to many interpretations of the same text. With alternative routes there is a never ending array of possibilities. In print this multiple alternative or branching narrative was first used in Julio Cortazar's novel, Hopscotch which was published in 1966. John Irving's The World According to Garp published in 1976 also has stories within stories. At the beginning of the 1980's there were the choose your own adventure series which were widely available in children's books with their binary decision points encoded within portions of the text. For example, 'if you want the good person to wear a black hat go to page 40 or for the bad person to go to San Francisco with a flower in her hair pick page 69'. The reader takes partial control of the direction of the story. Meaning becomes transcribed by the reader dependant upon which view, or now with the Internet, with what multimedia application is being used. An Internet example of a work in progress, The Cyberspace Sonnets with hundreds of choices so far can be experienced at http://www.teleport. com/~cdeemer/cyberson.html. A much more vast and confusing linking work, Queneau's sonnets, can be found at http://www.labri.u-bordeaux.fr/~goudal/htbin/Miliards/poemes-direct.cgi . Here is where we come across the exponential problem of too many links with just too many endings available to ever attempt to use every one. Mathematically narratives can break down with too many links. To have a choice in a two page story there would be three pages, the opening page and the two possible continuations. To have a five page story there would be thirty-one pages of choices. But a dozen pages could lead to over four thousand pages of choices, with a forty page novella needing a trillion pages of material. Queneau's sonnets are the results of selecting randomly from ten possibilities for each line in each sonnet. Again, it is the reader who is the ultimate creator.
A more simpler approach to hypertext poetry is at http://www.c3f.com/hyprgrd2.html which announces, 'Most fucked-up person alive tells all'. In this case we are told to
Select a word or phrase from the mess below to serve as an entry point into the novel. If you don't like where that takes you, come back here and select another. If you don't like where that goes, then turn on some TVs and Stereos and do some more drugs and sex and violence and community service, then return here and try again. Keep trying for the next few years. Eventually this combination will work, despite what you think now.
Clicking onto first birthmemory we are treated to the following narrative.
I was born in a Sony 797, one day, and my first birthmemory was the sight of the pilot, co-pilot, and crew, out the window, parachuting by...
Most of the links on this site are short poetic narratives.
Another easy to follow story line is Matthew Miller's Trip Across the USA . The site has arrows that one may click to move forward or to return to the site's original introductory page. Putting the whole story together and printing it out gives a rather dull and predictable story, but by random selection of links the reader has a more interesting and unpredictable tale to read. Miller's Trip Across the USA is at http://raven.ubalt.edu/staff/moulthrop/hypertexts/aboutTRIP.html .
Two other choose your own adventures on the Internet are Shu Kuwamoto's Choose your own adventure and Allen Firstenberg's Addventure. Many Choose your own fiction stories on the Internet have a tendency to become incoherent. Links can lead to irrelevant information or story lines or continually lead back to an earlier section. Most readers are not ready for Tree Fiction as they want to known the consequences of every decision and will follow each lead. If one wants to follow the author's construction then they almost always need to read it in a linear book format.
Being known is the key to Internet success, especially if someone wanted to support themselves off of their own writing. The Internet will prove to be a great source of introduction to new writings, whether from a new writer or an already established writer. For example, a novelist could put their first chapter or an introduction to their novel on the Internet and if the reader wanted to purchase the novel then they would pay for the remainder of it and either download it to their own computer or have it mailed to them.
Several on-line novels are from:
Even though it is the easiest way to present a novel to the potential millions of readers who view the Internet most cyberwriters have a notation on their web page saying they would welcome expressions of interest from traditional publishers. (Cohen)
What web publishing lacks is the respect and realness that Web publishing does not (as yet) provide. Aside of the changeable nature of the World Wide Web where one day there may be a sophisticated site and tomorrow there will be nothing at that URL, demonstrates the fluidity of the Internet. Long pieces of work on the World Wide Web are difficult to read with current technology. There is also an issue in regards to copyright and payment to the author for their work. Unless one is charged for the time they view or for the amount which they download from a site the rewards of internet publishing will not be monetary.
There is a new group of innovative writers who are litweberature literate writing hypertextual novels and stories on CD-ROM as well as on the Internet. Several of these writers who are published by Eastgate are Michael Joyce (the best known of this genre) Judy Malloy and Stuart Moulthrop . Eastgate publishes and advertise their many authors who write Hypertext Fiction. It is only since the early 1990's that it has become a goal for some writers to remove all thoughts of progression and linearity, giving the ultimate freedom of textual chronically to the reader.
To get a sense of what their hypertextual writing do read what the critics say about the various novels that Eastgate publishes. The critics use phrases like
PhD Complete Conversational Analysis of Chat Room Talk PHD thesis by Dr. Terrell Neuage University of South Australia National Library of Australia. Appendixes
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
THESIShome ~ Abstract.html/pdf ~ Acknowledgements ~ Glossary.html/pdf ~ Introduction.html/pdf ~ methodology.html/pdf ~ literature review.html/pdf ~ Case Study 1.html/pdf~ 2.html/pdf~ 3.html/pdf~ 4.html/pdf~ 5.html/pdf~ 6.html/pdf~ 7.html/pdf~ discussion.html/pdf ~ conclusion.html~ postscipt.html/pdf~ O*D*A*M.html/pdf~ Bibliography.html/pdf~ 911~ thesis-complete.htm/~ Terrell Neuage Home
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.DATA ~ Case Study
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