Thursday, February 11, 2010

new storytelling

I was particularly struck by Patchwork Girl, not so much by the story and writing itself but by the idea of a free-flowing network of text that lacked a beginning, middle and end. At first my reaction to Jackson's work was of confusion and frustration but as I continued to read, I found myself immersed in the well written and captivating journey that is Patchwork Girl. To fully enjoy it, the reader must let go of his pre-existing notions of what a story is and instead think of it as a pool of available information.

This idea of a user-driven experience holds many parallels with the internet as a whole. Like Patchwork Girl, users have access to a finite amount of information with which they can use or not use as they please. This dichotomy makes me wonder why we are so used to looking at the internet and story telling in such different ways. Internet users are never surprised or confused by the apparent lack of order yet I believe that it is safe to assume that many other readers shared my initial reaction to Patchwork Girl. Is this because hypertexts like Patchwork Girl are a relatively scarce and new phenomenon?

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