February 7, 2005


In conversation the other day, a friend mentioned the Hypertext Hotel, an early experiment in collaborative online fiction that Robert Coover was involved with for a while. This seems to be a mirror of that site, although a couple layers deep the links all stop working, so it's not clear just how complex the web was/is. I know that it was still quite active in 1996, because Coover came to IU at the time and I remember the site making quite an impression on me -- it was probably the first time I saw the internet as having any real potential as a literary medium. I haven't, of course, kept track of how things are developing in the field; this looks like as good a place as any to start surveying the scene, but to be honest my expectations are low. It seems like a more healthy artistic production would emerge out of forms that are already highly productive in a non-artistic sense (blogs, for instance). So, where are all the literary blogs?

Frolic  {February 9, 2005}

When I was an undergrad in the mid-90s, I remember lots of graduate comparative literature students being really excited about the hyper-fiction. I feel sorry for the people that wrote their dissertations on the subject. Not that any comparative literature Ph.D.s could get jobs at that time.

They always got really defensive when people said it was like a choose your own adventure book.

paul  {February 9, 2005}

Not all choose your own adventures are bad. Have you ever read Pale Fire?

Frolic  {February 11, 2005}

Oh, I like choose your own adventures. The grad students were the ones who didn't like the comparisons.

The problems was that they all believe that being able to direct the course of a narrative made for interesting literature in and of itself. It was new, so surely it would be great. Of course, it wasn't new. Choose your own adventures and early text based computer games already invented the genre. It would be great if someone found a way to use it.

Coover's hotel was interesting for its collaborative nature. I always found it rather boring, though, when I visited.

Frolic  {February 11, 2005}

One more comment. Perhaps the literary blogs are producing non-fiction.

F-train and Delacour both get close to literature in my book (so to speak).

paul  {February 11, 2005}

I don't doubt that there are many blogs out there that are high level creative non-fiction. I just don't know much good fiction in a blog format, which seems surprising. I suppose there may just be cases we don't know about -- for instance, Jeremy Blachman's formerly anonymous blog.

Post a comment

Remember personal