New Reviews in Cyberculture Studies

Jeff Rice’s Writing About Cool: Hypertext and Cultural Studies in the Computer Classroom is reviewed by J.M. King at the Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies. Other books reviewed include Women and Everyday Uses of the Internet: Agency and Identity (Lang, 2002); Shaping the Network Society: The New Role of Civil Society in Cyberspace (MIT Press, 2004); and Granny@Work: Aging and New Technology on the Job in America.


ShadeIn this brief work of interactive fiction, Plotkin (a.k.a. zarf) causes the ordinary actions of looking for a glass of water and searching for plane tickets to turn terrifying, transforming an ordinary setting. Shade is a very unusual entry in the classic “one room game in your apartment” category.

Review of The New Media Reader

The New Media Reader (MIT Press, 2003), edited by Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort, is reviewed by Ravi Srinivas Krishna in the current issue of Information, Communication and Society (iCS). iCS 8.2 also includes articles by Caroline Haythornthwaite on “Social Networks and Internet Connectivity Effects,” Denise Carter on “Living in Virtual Communities: An Ethnography of Human Relationships in Cyberspace,” and more.


fray{fray} is an online storytelling community, linking writers of personal stories with talented designers, and encouraging story readers to share their own stories in response to those published on the site. Although fray stories typically make minimal use of electronic enhancements, the site is an excellent example of the power of a collaborative online writing community.

Patchwork Girl

patchwork girlPatchwork Girl is one of the most widely-discussed and inventive works of hypertext in Storyspace. It is a feminist retelling of the Frankenstein story that asks “What if Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein were true? What if Mary Shelley herself made the monster – not the fictional Dr. Frankenstein?” Robert Coover has referred to Patchwork Girl “perhaps the true paradigmatic work of the era.” See the Directory entry for more information about this piece.


DakotaThe pounding vortex of Dakota reworks Cantos I and II into a furiously driving, but still legible, loop of animated text. Young Hae-Chang’s piece seems to please everyone: It was shown at the Whitney Museum and is taught in college classes, but it also has made its way onto more popular Flash forums. See the Directory entry for more information about this piece.


riverIslandJohn Cayley’s work often employs a technique he calls “transliteral morphing.” This is a letter-by-letter morphing that transitions from one text to another, much as graphical morphing moves points in space so as to transition from one image to another. riverIsland is composed of two loops of poems, one horizontal and one vertical, and the reader can use on-screen arrows or QuicktimeVR movies in order to trigger movement along these loops. When the reader indicates that a move should be made from one poem to another, the appropriate transliteral morph is performed by the computer. See the Directory entry for more information about this piece.

Ashbaugh and Gibson’s AGRIPPA: New Description of Book Available

Matt Kirschenbaum has posted a detailed physical description of Dennis Ashbaugh and William Gibson’s 1992 artist’s book/e-literature collaboration AGRIPPA: A Book of the Dead (published by Kevin Begos), based on his close examination of the copy now owned by the New York Public Library. There is a great deal of internet lore and misinformation surrounding this project, including statements that the work does not in fact exist. This description puts those misconceptions to rest–even as it raises new questions.

Lexia to Perplexia

Lexia to PerplexiaLexia to Perplexia brings together the modes of fiction, criticism, and parable within an elegantly-designed “nervous interface” that pushes web conventions of the mouseover and click to their limits. It has been described as “a theory/fiction look at human attachment to the network.” See the Directory entry for more information about this piece.


PhotopiaPhotopia is described in Baf’s Guide as “Sweet and sad, and complex enough that you may need to go through it twice in order to fully understand how all the fragments fit together.” It is one of the most widely admired pieces by genre-bending interactive fiction author Cadre. See the Directory entry for more information about this piece.

New ELO Website

The ELO’s new site, designed and engineered by Nick Montfort, is now in place. Thanks go to Scott Rettberg for his help, which included migrating much of the content from the old site, and to Noah Wardrip-Fruin, who prepared many items that will appear in coming weeks in the new showcase.

The showcase is designed to feature exemplary electronic literature. The five most recent items are visible at the top of the main page, and everything featured to date is accessible via the “Showcased E-Lit” link just below the search field. An RSS feed of the showcase is available so that readers can automatically keep bookmarks to the current entry or syndicate the showcase on their own pages.

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