February 12, 2004
Nick Montfort's review of Cybertext on the electronic book review site raised quite the ruckus. Read Nick's review, and then follow ups by the likes of Kate Hayles, Marjorie Luesebrink, Jim Rosenberg, Scott Rettberg, Markku Eskelinen (don't miss this one), and yours truly.
A more recent review of Cybertext is available on the excellent RCCS site run by UMD American Studies alum David Silver.
Finally, have a look at this very smart discussion of Aarseth's blindspot with regard to the diachronic dimension of cybertextuality.
Posted by mgk at February 12, 2004 10:02 AM
I am not quite sure what you mean when you refer to my "blindspot" , but if it is my lack of discussion of textual ontogenesis as part of cybertext theory this is actually a conscious decision on my part.
Please see my "Nonlinearity and Literary Theory" (written in 1992, published in Landow's Hyper/Text/Theory and again in The New Media Reader), where I do discuss general matters of textual ontology (stability, materiality, metaphysics, etc - even fiction vs simulation in games!). It would have been smart to have included this discussion in Cybertext, but I (stupidly, as it turned out) did not want to repeat myself too much.
It makes no sense to me to look at textual ontogenesis as a special dimension of cybertextuality, simply because then the distinction between ergodic and non-ergodic makes no sense: all texts are produced ergodically - that goes without saying! I restrict myself to looking at how they behave at the moment they are used, and how they may differ from reading to reading, which is where the (to me) most interesting distinctions can be found.
Anyway, there are many interesting problems still to be resolved here, and I look forward to more blindspotting!
Espen! Hello! Great to have you here. Can you hang around for a few days if people have questions for you? We'll be working through most of the rest of Cybertext (in my undergraduate class as well) as the semester progresses.
Folks? We've got Espen on the line.
Sorry, Matt- I got three classes of my own to teach this spring, and much too much ado besides. Why don't you send me a shortlist of questions towards the end of the semester, and I'll see what I can reach then?
Understand of course. Thanks Espen!
Behold the Power of the Net. Don't mind me while I goggle at the fact that the author is here... responding... maybe that should be capital Author. On some level, it's almost a little creepy (but in a good way). It's like talking about Shakespeare and having ol' Willie looking over your shoulder. Who said the Author was dead?
I don't know how many newsgroup-users we have here, but in my neck of Usenet we used to joke about "invocations"... if you say someone's name enough times, they will show up (with the implication that they're doing regular vanity searches, of course).
It's interesting, actually, the divide between authors who, for instance, hang out on their own fan bulletin boards, and ones who wholly repudiate those systems. Who makes which choice, and why? It *is* an intriguing commentary on the author function... the internet makes it possible to have immediate access to the author, so how does that change our idea of the Author? I imagine it has an inevitably humanizing effect... I wonder if authors who frequent their own boards have fewer drooling fanboy types, because in a way they become just another poster. (On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog^H^H^H^writer.)