The End of Books--or Books Without End?
Reading Interactive Narratives
J. Yellowlees Douglas
An exploration of the possibilities of hypertext fiction as art form and entertainment
The End of Books—or Books Without End? examines writing by both proponents and skeptics of interactive fiction and the similarities and differences between print and hypertext fiction. Looking closely at such critically acclaimed interactive works as Stuart Moulthrop's Victory Garden and Michael Joyce's Afternoon: A Story, it illuminates how these hypertext narratives "work" While she sees hypertext as a still-evolving technology and medium, J. Yellowlees Douglas identifies possible developments for the future of storytelling, basing her claims on outstanding examples of web-based fiction and CD-ROM narratives and exploring possibilities that will enable fiction both to portray the world with greater realism and to transcend the boundaries of novels and films, of character and plot. This lively and accessible volume will appeal to those interested in technology and cyberculture, as well as to readers familiar with literary criticism and modern fiction.
J. Yellowlees Douglas is Director of the William and Grace Dial Center for Written and Oral Communication, University of Florida.
Praise / Awards
"A key contribution to the still relatively young field of hypertext criticism, helping us to understand how literary hypertexts really function for their readers. The End of Books seems destined to join Michael Joyce's Of Two Minds and George Landow's Hypertext 2.0 as a classic of hypertext theory and criticism."
---Jay David Bolter, Georgia Institute of Technology
"In this book on the end(s) of books . . . Jane Douglas's concerns, which range from considerations of literary hypertexts, film, multimedia, and performance studies to on-line rhetoric, reader theories, postmodernist considerations of interface and data structures, the sociology of technology, and symbolic interaction, are themselves deeply hypertextual and profoundly human."
---Michael Joyce, Vassar College
"In this book, Jane Yellowlees Douglas, known for her witty, insightful readings of hypertext fiction, takes on the central questions challenging this new field. Written in a lively, personable style, The End of Books is essential reading for anyone interested in literature as it is practiced in the New Media."
---N. Katherine Hayles, University of California, Los Angeles
". . . a provocative book that critically examines the union of fiction and digital technology."
---Library Journal, June 1, 2000
"[Douglas' book is] compelling and erudite; she writes persuasively on all the major issues that preoccupy people who read and write interactive narratives. Concentrating primarily on hypertext fiction, she argues that this is the true home of the current avant-garde. For Douglas, hyperfiction writers are natural heirs to the great modernist writers of the last century whose own work strained against the confines of the linear novel--Joyce and Woolf are favourite examples. Her tone is often charmingly bad-tempered; she makes plain her frustration that hyperfiction works and their writers are still not considered part of the canon. . . . Douglas's book is full of literary enthusiasm for this new form, and thoroughly demonstrates the possibilities for hypertext fiction."
---Kate Pullinger, trAce Online Writing Centre, September 12, 2002
Copyright © 2000, University of Michigan. All rights reserved. Posted August 2001.
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