Understanding Hypertext Fiction through “him”

him : http://www.eastgate.com/ReadingRoom.html#

Introduction

With the advancement of computer technology, the way of reading a book has increasingly changed in many ways. Particularly, a hypertext fiction is a noticeable form of reading since it has non-linearity, dynamic, interaction, media diversity, and expendability different with a traditional book; thus, this has become a bone of contention for many people today. In this essay, I will explore a hypertext literature, named “him”, considering its interactive structure, interface, story, and influence on readers’ reading experience.

Interface & Interaction

The interface design and interaction architecture of this hypertext fiction need to be firstly referred so that I precisely analyzes the book and its readers’ experience. For a start, the interface of fiction is an upright popup window. On a closer look, it comprises of five buttons on the left side, a text area on the center of window, and a box to show gif images, which depict the meaning of exposed text. On the screen in the beginning, a text and illustration areas are empty respectively, and are filled with a text and illustration when a user clicks one of the five buttons on the left side. An interesting part of interaction is the fact that only the sentence, “he was born on freezing night” appears when a user initially clicks one of five buttons. Thereafter, several different images and texts are shown according to selected buttons.

Basically, this fiction has five buttons, which are respectively linked with sets of texts and illustrations in regular succession. For this reason, when a reader continuously clicks only a button, he or she will read texts arrayed by the intention of an author. Also, because of simultaneously exposed five buttons, this fiction has a high diversity of sequences of reading texts.

Another noticeable fact is that moving to other page by clicking a button affects the orders of all stories connected with five buttons. The close elucidation is as follow, what if a reader moves to a 10th page of the first story by clicking the first button ten times, and clicks the second button once, he or she would read a 11th text of the second story. Also, what if a reader clicks the fifth button once while reading a 21st text of the second story, he or she would read a 22nd text of 5th story. With this architectural feature, the fact that this kind of fiction has only the middle of story without the beginning and end of story induces readers to feel that reading the book seems to be endlessly repeated.

Example

The selection of the first button 10 times

1. he was born one freezing night

2. but the seep and rhythm of his line and the energy of his color relate him, as well, to the Venetian tradition

3. he was given an award by the President of the United States of America for his many amazing achievements.

4. so its’ not all bad

5. and mixed in just the right proportions to create a stunning visual impact

The selection of the second button once

5. …

1. he is a profound and deeply sensitive person, very much a family man,

Experience & Context

This hypertext fiction comprises of only depictions about an everyday incident, emotion, and idea, apart from revealing the features of the main character. To wit, at the beginning of fiction, the story starts with the sentence, “he was born one freezing night” and thus, the reader cannot aware of the identity about who he is. By this initiation of reading, the fiction allows readers to have successively curiosities while reading all texts, which also leads them, imagine and presuppose the identity of main character and a possible context, by combining delineated situations and his emotions.

Furthermore, the interpretation of fictions’ context highly depends on the imagination of readers since most texts in the fiction not only are written with abstract expressions, but also have less connectivity among texts. Because of this reason, I could read distinctly different stories according to dissimilar suppositions about his identity, including the assumption that he is the sunlight (The first reading), and the presupposition that he is a human (The second reading). This dispersibility of texts, openness, and decentralized feature allow readers to become another author who can add his or her imagination on original texts, thus providing them much more exciting reading experience.

Contrarily, this type of reading undeniably might take away readers’ interest in reading a fiction. Particularly, if the difficult interface and interaction are applied to this kind of fiction, which is constituted with short sentences, it might cause a serious chaos of reading to the readers due to the lack of well-ordering reading principal and the fundamental of continuing in the sort of fiction.

The first reading

1. he was born one freezing night

2. but the seep and rhythm of his line and the energy of his colour relate him, as well, to the Venetian tradition

3. he was given an award by the President of the United States of America for his many amazing achievements.

4. so its’ not all bad

5. and mixed in just the right proportions to create a stunning visual impact

6. as well as his total astonishment at his remarkable flair for capturing everyday situations in a very down to earth way

7. and spends as much time as possible with his attractive wife

The second reading

1. he was born one freezing night

2. and that would free him to be as sexy as can be

3. who eventually could keep sporting one of the best physiques in a warrior ideal

4. but the seep and rhythm of his line and the energy of his colour relate him, as well, to the Venetian tradition

5. certainly a man to fit into that category

6. he is a profound and deeply sensitive person, very much a family man,

7. but at the same time will jettison his dislike of taking about music in images and metaphors

Meanwhile, in terms of an authorship, I think that determining about how much authorship should be maintained in a hypertext fiction might become a hot issue to authors because this is closely connected with not only the way of interaction, but the context of a fiction. In fact, I made a hypertext literature few years ago in an interaction design class during my undergraduate school days. At that time, I mainly focused on devising means of encouraging readers to properly understand story, much maintaining my intention of creation. Looking back, I perhaps tried my best to avoid being far from the traditional reading principal. In contrast, an author who hopes to actively adopt the fundamental of multi-author would write a fiction, using much more opened interaction structure and path to arouse readers’ actions as much as possible. Regarding this aspect, the fiction, him includes more ultimate features of hypertext fiction, such as virtuality, flexibility, and infinite duplication because this fiction has a feature of writing as a collage in contrast to my hypertext fiction, named Pink Shoes.

Conclusion

Undeniably, a hypertext fiction provides new unfamiliar reading experience to readers because it has a narrative which is excluded its probability and inevitability, while at the same time, it usually comprises of only middle part of story. However, personally speaking, too much freedom of reading wrought by the principle of hypertext fiction would disrupt even the interpretation of basic texts, causing much chaos about the way to read a fiction to readers. Thus, I think that a good hypertext fiction is the one that has clear interaction structure and interface, as well as an interesting story.

References

1. Eastgate hypertext nonfiction

http://www.eastgate.com/catalog/Nonfiction.html

2. Eastgate hypertext nonfiction

http://www.eastgate.com/ReadingRoom.html

3. A novel for the Internet about London Underground

http://www.ryman-novel.com/

4. Why the book’s future never happened

http://www.salon.com/2011/10/04/return_of_hypertext/

5. The interactive fiction archive

http://www.ifarchive.org/

6. Electronic literature organization

http://eliterature.org/

7. Acid free bits

http://www.eliterature.org/pad/afb.html

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