Ah, on the hunt for interactive literature. This poor soul was on the hunt for a piece of work both of an interactive nature and of an interesting one, a hunt which perhaps can be echoed long, long ago in the search for a storyteller or bard. Of course, my instrument is the Internet, as many here at the Institute which imprisons us so.
First, among the hunt, I find this piece of work: not quite fiction, but an interesting blend of science, myth, and apocalypic visions combined in a tale that at the least captures my attention. Of course, each piece of the tale is fairly short, and well-told; the links being more of a supporting, scientific nature to the text's somewhat mythical background. One "path" toward apocalypse is told from the somewhat odd rantings of a 19th century philosopher, one from the rather surreal tale of a woman, a dog, and love, and lastly, one from a scientific collection of letters detailing connections between Biblical events of apocalypse and the scientific records of the past.
Of course, I wish that the items presented wherein would diverge a bit more from their topic (the evolution of humanity and its tales of apocalypse), as the piece seems less interactive and more like a presentation one would give for a committee of scientists, with slideshows and viewgraphs and such. That, and the fact that not all the links in the tale were accurate or correct (note this rather odd result of a link on "North Africa"). I didn't really get an "interactive" feel for it, as I couldn't get from one point of view to another quickly or easily and still keep up the general relevance. It just seemed fairly incoherent at points; interesting, but not enough to hold my attention long enough to explore the links which worked.
However, I will note the breadth of material it covers, from the Bible to Irish druids to an issue of Science, is quite strong and compelling. The middle "path", love, however, seemed to less interact with the religious and scientific "paths" of apocalpyse, a fact which confused me quite a bit.
Not the most enjoyable of captures: perhaps a small fish in a river, but not really the thrill one gets when going on the hunt. So I proceed onward to the next tale.
"on the highway, unpaved, going my way, you're so alone today..."
This is the sort of piece that makes me want to rewrite my web pages. Seriously. It starts simply enough, with a poet's reminscing of people and ideas that he's run across in his life. The material here has layer upon layer upon layer, such that it's very interesting indeed. The author goes as far to quote Camus at one point: and it is Camus that the style of this story suggests, both in format and in content. The format, very simply, parallels human thought in its almost seeming randomness of topics and links, all of which are various levels of thinking about one's life. The author dabbles a little in changing the format of his text, presenting one conversation as the text of one part of a play, very much evoking the feeling of reminiscence.
The setting is Greece, the topic is exploration, both of the self and the world around, and we see the narrator exploring varied areas of Greece as he retells his conversations with various people he has known in his life.
I hate to overstate this, but I like this piece quite a bit. The style, both in format and text, is similar to that which I have written about myself in my own web pages (which for the moment have been removed, else I'd have a link there), and reading this keeps drawing me back to wanting to write again. What makes this interesting is that there are a few "top-level" links presented in a frame to one side, so that one can move to another thread entirely if you get bored or just want another topic. The story meets both the qualifications of interactivity and a clean, true approach to the format of interactive literature.
However, like Camus, I find the story to have no point except to explore human thought and exploration - or perhaps I didn't probe far enough into it. A good catch, nonetheless.
I thought, in trying to make the ending for this assignment, that perhaps a book of endings might be appropriate. Instead, I faced confusion. Where Exile seemed to show a coherence by framing the stories of several people filtered through the viewpoint of the narrator, this particular tale seems to just end up fragmented by telling little fragments of various people's interrelated lives all through their point of view. It just seems to come through as bits and pieces, of which I can make out little real point or coherence.
Closer to the point, perhaps the tale was approriate in that it just seemed to be a lot of endings, and no real middle or beginning to work with. I was confused from the beginning, when at random it starts with the tale of a lizard being killed, from the lizard's point of view. It doesn't get much better than that, unfortunately, even as it diverges into the viewpoints of several people. It just comes out as a mass of confusion.
Well, came back from the hunt with 1 good catch, 1 decent catch, and, well, one I needed to throw back. I think I'll go back and read Exile some more. That was real interaction. :)