Episode 43: Holodeck Serials Part Deux

Finished reading book a while ago but post about it completely escaped me. There are two things that were readily apparent throughout my work with the the text. As I mentioned previously, you can really feel the book’s age. There are a lot of moments where Murray contextualizes digital narratives by saying that it is in its early years and that the future holds so much potential as to how storytelling can get to. The weird thing is that I feel that I am living in this future that she hopes for, where computers do some pretty amazing things when it comes to cool digital texts. Especially when it comes video games, where the narratives is really extended and has gone beyond the “violent natures” that Murray says is a staple of the medium (which I totally get even before GTA 3 changed the landscape of freeform violence but it feels like she is putting video games down).

The second point is the weird equilibrium act that Murray goes through by saying in one part how hypertext and digital expansion are completely new and then saying that you see the spirit of it hundreds of years before. It was a similar feeling to what I went through when taking a New Media class during my MA. If you really push beyond the boundaries of the metaphysical box you will see that there are a lot of innovations and acceptance into the mainstream but very rarely do we get to see anything actually new. If you ever want to see old school hypertext, just take a glimpse at motherfracking Finnegan’s Wake, you need like six extra books and an old map, not to mention a million footnotes to understand pretty much anything.

Something else that pops up is the importance of exploration and interaction. The holodeck and the promise of digital storytelling is that you can go off the rails and be free to basically do whatever you want. This seems a lot more ludological than narratological but it’s a pretty cool idea. The whole multiple perspectives is considered to be kaleidescopic, shifting changing and colorful.

Now I will go through some of my highlighted material and give some quick important parts for future review.

Introduction: Pedagogically speaking, it’s important to “create immersive learning environments.” 6 very ludological

“the computer is not the enemy of the book. it is the child of print culture. 8

Ch.1 p.21 Aldous Huxley’s A Brave New World is presented as the dystopic version of how technological storytelling can screw you up. “multisensory media is overpowering.

p. 26 the whole page is cool. holodeck vs feely. “eventually all successful storytelling technologies become transparent.

Ch 2 p.28 “incunabula” indicates the outputs of a technology that are still in their infancy.

p. 30 “multiform story”  story that has same plot shown in different versions. Like Rashomon or It’s a Wonderful Life

p. 55 “lexias” reading units, originally proposed by Barther, later adapted by Landow to denote hyperlinks.

Ch 3. p.66 every new medium has an an incunabular period. In the case of film: “by aggressively exploring and exploiting these physical properties, filmmakers changed a mere recording technology into an expressive medium”

p.72 Eliza the computer program psychology that is the mother of all chatbots.

p. 77 Murral loves the game Zork, big use of participant interactions to help the story be developed.The problem is that programmers need to plan for everything by keeping the story formulaic.

p. 85 Just all of it is awesome. Fans are super important because they actually like narrative continuity. Websites surround just about anything now, adding a new level to the story via archive and open possibilities for fan interaction and further evels of storytelling.

p. 91 Ted nelson, guy who made up the word “hypertext”, says that it works best for our contemporary “hummingbird minds”

Ch 4 98-99 “immerssion as a participatory activity” learning how to swim. “computers are liminal, located on the threshold between external reality and our own mind.”

p 101 Peter Pan the play (clap if you believe, moment) is audience participation at its best

p. 104 Tristam Shandy and Daffy Duck are super examples of metatextual elements as I like to call them.

p. 107 hypertext vs hyperreal rides at amusement extending the narrative of the film, making an actual immersive environment

p. 110 It’s not suspension of disbelief but rather actively creating belief.

p. 116-117 MUDs and LARPs are AMAZING! because immersion at maximum, story is fluid.

Ch 5 p. 132-33 Deleuze’s rhizome, connectivity of ideas, applied to postmodern hypertext. Kind of like a kudzu plot.

p. 146 light gun is an “ideal threshold object”

p. 152-3 “Authorship in electronic media is procedural”

Ch 6 p. 156 Regardless of how weird a medium is we understand it because “we know how to read the conventions of these media.”

p. 167 The Bronte sisters loved to make their fantasy worlds with complex characters and plots that reflected their lives. They would have been awesome at Dungeons & Dragons if all the stories weren’t crazy romances.

p.170 Digital stories allow us to “enact stories rather than to merely witness them”

p. 174 Cool quote by Michael Joyce about the importance of closure. p. 175 people were really sad when Cheers ended “it provoked an orgy of public nostalgia.”

p. 181 “simulation narrative allows us to explore process… it allows us to participate in the performance.”

Ch 7 Master plots and tropes galore. Vladimir Propp and oral storytelling analysis.

Not much to say beyond that point.




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