January 18, 2005
For a limited time only (less than a month from now) you can download Lisbeth Klastrup‘s dissertation, Towards a Poetics of Virtual Worlds: Multi-User Textuality and the Emergence of Story. The abstract explains that it “introduces and examines persistent online worlds (game worlds, social worlds, commercial chat worlds and educational worlds) as important cultural net-based phenomena” and “presents a number of concepts, definitions and analytic tools to be applied in the development of a poetics of virtual worlds, ‘poetics’ here understood as a systematic approach to examining the rules and aesthetic functions of virtual world systems.” It documents her lenghty quest for “EverQuestness,” the essence of the virtual world EverQuest. Also, there’s a section for “Worlds” on page 367 of the bibliography, which you don’t see every day.
Klastrup’s dissertation was accepted in June 2003, but she has delayed releasing it to make some corrections. As a Valentine’s Day anti-present, it will be taken off the Web on February 14 and you’ll have to request a copy by email if you want one. But it is online right now, and you don’t even have to subscribe or watch an ad to access it.