The New Media have aged. Then years ago, Michael Joyce’s hypernovella Afternoon was greeted by either ignorance or blue-eyed manifestos proclaiming, yet again, the death of the author and the unfettered readerly freedom in interactive writing.These claims, it turns out, are too vague, too ideology-laden, outright nonsense or at least not conducive to a poetology of interactive literature. Interactivity not only is the defining difference between fiction and its hyper- variant, but also one of the central ideas and ideologemes of the telematic society.To understand interactivity means to understand the structure of the wired world. What kinds of interactivity then can we observe in hyper-fiction? There are circular constructions, there are footnote-like links, there are rhizomes, there are bottlenecks of near-linearity or restricted choices, there are video-gamelike random-choice generators etc. Do we need a new literary terminology for these narrative principles, or does the traditional terminology suffice? Ten years after Afternoon, a look back and ahead for hyper/text/theory.
- John Manning (U.S.A.), Moderator