Misadventure: Future Fiction and the New Networks

“Myst is not a novel or a feature film, it is instead a different sort of creation whose nearest non-electronic relative may be diorama. Any approach to this work must take account of this fundamental difference from familiar forms. World matters more here than characters or conflict, and in Myst the world is suffused with, if not entirely given over to interface. Objects exist to orient us or point our way, or they present themselves, in the case of valves, switches, doors, and such, for active engagement. Unlike in print or cinema, successive presentations of the text are elicited through feedback (as in Aarseth’s concept of “cybertext”), by selecting or manipulating an item in the current view. | Yet for all its valuable insights (to which this brief summary does not do justice) Johnson’s commentary on Myst also represents a fairly obvious misreading.” Stuart Moulthrop

Misadventure: Future Fiction and the New Networks (Style via Moulthrop)

Moulthrop’s cogent, respectful, thoughtful response to another author’s misreading of interactive fiction demonstrates that he is not only intelligent and polite, but also clearly appreciates and understands the differences between literary hypertexts (a form he helped pioneer) and more mainstream modes of computer-mediated entertainment.

Some recent comments by Matt Kirschenbaum praising the efforts of amateur interactive fiction scholars and curators are also very encouraging to read. (See sections three and four from my Annotated Bibliography of Interactive Fiction Scholarship.)