Electronic Literature, hypertext, etc.

I must confess that I feel a bit overwhelmed and confused with the terminology we’ve been exploring with the recent texts. Our class discussion was helpful in exploring the similarities and differences between hypertext and cybertext and the controversy between the two. Katherine Hayles chapter one, “Electronic Literature- What is it?” also provided an excellent overview of the complexity surrounding this term.

Hayles explains how the Electronic Literature Organization’s mission is “to promote the writing, publishing, and reading of literature in electronic media” (p.3). I thought it was helpful to explore this mission and the ways in which it may become realized through electronic media. I think that one of the main problems with acquiring an understanding of this term is the constant comparison with regular texts or published literature. Hayles however, explores the complexity of the various aspects of electronic literature and suggests that it really isn’t as different from published literature as we may think.

I also thought her discussion on Interactive Fiction or I.F. was quite interesting. She explains how it has stronger game elements and no clear distincition between electronic literature and games. This made me think of some of the games my children play and why they would be attracted to them. For example, my daughter loves playing Sims and knows about all the variations to this game. I wonder is the electronic literature imbedded in Sims is one that appeals to a particular age, gender, or personality type. I was also thinking of all the possibilities for students who combine an English degree with Media Studies to create more Interactive Fiction with electronic media. The success of Sims and games like Second Life indicate a growing market with much potential.

Comments are closed.