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Some Earlier Hypertext Fiction Works

  • Michael Joyce’s Afternoon, a story — Not available on the web I think … This one is generally considered the first major work of hypertext fiction – Here’s some more notes

  • Michael Joyce’s Twelve BlueAuthor description: A drowning, a murder, a friendship, three or four love affairs, a boy and a girl, two girls and their mothers, two mothers and their lovers, a daughter and her father, a father and his lover, seven women, three men, twelve months, twelve threads, eight hours, eight waves, one river, a quilt, a song, twelve interwoven stories, a thousand memories, Twelve Blue explores the way our lives — like the web itself or a year, a day, a memory, or a river — form patterns of interlocking, multiple, and recurrent surfaces.
  • Geoff Ryman 253 (1996)  – You can travel from passenger to passenger, or navigate through the numerous links between them. Like a multipolar illustration of the three degrees of separation rule.
  • Mark Amerika, Grammatron (1996) Grammatron by Mark Amerika is one of the first attempts to employ the internet’s transmedial potential in order to create a hypermedia piece of literature. One of its lexia contains the phrase ‘I Link, therefore I am’
  • Robert Arrellano’s Sunshine 69 (1996) – You can read this one online here – Sunshine ‘69 is a historical hypertext novel that attempts to encapsulate the zeitgeist of the 1960s by tracking events in the lives of nine characters from June through December 1969, concluding with the Altamont festival held on 6 December 1969. … While the novel references historical fact, Arellano uses that context as a background for a largely metaphoric tale of corrupted visions. In the novel, Mick Jagger makes a deal with Lucifer that results in the tragedy at Altamont, and LSD is transformed from a substance for utopian mind-expansion into a sinister market commodity.’ (Rettberg) See more

For what was in retrospect a quite brief period during the late 1980s and early 1990s, what Robert Coover (1999) referred to as the ‘Golden Age’ of literary hypertext, writers working in dedicated hypertext systems such as Hypercard, the Intermedia system at Brown University and, most importantly, Storyspace, explored the potential of hypertext for narrative fiction. Enough writers were working in the form during this period, and their works garnered enough critical attention, that we can speak of these hypertext fictions as a group—what some of have called ‘The Eastgate School’—named after the publisher responsible for publishing and distributing most of the early works of hypertext fiction.


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