May 2, 2005
First Person New Readings
Putting First Person online was a very positive experience. I make this declaration now that there’s a new section of the project live at electronic book review (which includes a piece by GTxA’s Nick). With this, all the book’s essays are online — along with most of its responses, and much material the book doesn’t hold.
Making all this material available in collaboration with a web-based electronic journal broadened the conversation around the project, made it possible for the conversation to continue in new ways (as it does today with a response by Matt Kirschenbaum), made the material accessible to an audience that doesn’t buy hardcover university press volumes, and apparently didn’t hurt sales of that volume in the least (it went for a second printing less than a year after it first hit the shelves).
The essays in this section (New Readings) attempt to develop, via a combination of close reading and broader theorizing, modes of engagement appropriate to particular forms of digital writing. The contents include:
- N. Katherine Hayles’s essay, Metaphoric Networks in Lexia to Perplexia (with responses from Bill Seaman and Eugene Thacker)
- Jill Walker’s How I Was Played by Online Caroline (with responses from Warren Sack and Adrianne Wortzel), and
- Nick Montfort’s Long Title Award-winning Interactive Fiction as “Story,” “Game,” “Storygame,” “Novel,” “World,” “Literature,” “Puzzle,” “Problem,” “Riddle,” and “Machine” (with responses from Janet Murray and Brenda Laurel).
Now that the book’s essays are all online, it’s time for new responses (and responses to those responses) to take things to the next level. That is, it’s time for the online version of First Person to move to the next stage as an online project. In this vein, I understand we may soon see First Person responses from such noted (and diverse in background) scholars as Torill Mortensen, TL Taylor, and GTxA’s Scott Rettberg. If you have one of your own to offer, we’d welcome it. Please send your thoughts to ebr /at/ altx.com. (And keep your eyes open for interesting upcoming developments in how ebr enables online connections between ideas.)
May 4th, 2005 at 10:33 am
I bought a hard copy of First Person and I enjoyed reading it — but if you’ll put up with a tiny criticism from a respectful reader: both the online version and the book feel a little too fragmented.
I know it is more than a little ironic to complain about the fragmented, ergodic, hypertextual, multi-voiced nature of a work that takes those qualities as its topics, but if you’re going to put this online for free, I really wish there were a single PDF file I could download and print. In other words, I wish I could skip the interface — I don’t want to revisit the Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord just to hunt and gather interesting bloggish thought snippets.
May 4th, 2005 at 11:08 am
Well, I know it’s only beginning to come to fruition, but our hope is that we’ll be using digital media to accomplish things that the print book can’t accomplish. So, for example, our hope is that there will in time be many responses to the book at ebr, and that these will be interconnected with the essays in an interesting structure. So, this was one of the reasons for not providing a PDF to download and print – if people want print, the book is an efficient method of accomplishing that. We’re looking to the web to accomplish something else…
May 7th, 2005 at 7:31 am
I bought the book last summer, and enjoyed it. Is there any online forum where one can discuss interactive drama topics? I only find blogs and journals… that’s not _interactive_ !! ;^)
(I believe electronicbookreview is not a forum open to posting, although I might be wrong, as I admit I don’t get its UI at all :-)
Since I didn’t find such a forum, I ask here a question I have:
Do you know of anybody who has researched the topic of how movies could step into computers while keeping a fixed (non-interactive and single-path) narrative, but perhaps adding new ingredients to the film language from the capabilities that computers have? I’m thinking in visual expression from real-time graphics, perhaps some kind of visual interaction (but not story interaction).
I ask this question because I somehow have the feeling that the computer could become an interesting media for showing movies in a different way we’re used to, even if the narrative keeps being fixed and non-interactive.
May 7th, 2005 at 11:05 pm
Cesar, it sounds like you might want to start with the work of Grahame Weinbren. Check out this documentation of his Sonata.
Also, ebr doesn’t operate an online forum, but you can send responses to ebr /at/ altx.com.