The first work I decided to explore was FilmText by Mark Amerika. I found this work to be interesting and intriguing, I found myself stuck and unable to advance. I also feel that the work lacks any real narrative, although it does have quite a bit of intricate interactivity to it. The sound work in this piece of literature is also quite interesting, its very dissonant and I found myself a bit mesmerized by it. One thing that I have learned from exploring different pieces of electronic literature is that I greatly appreciate atmospheric music that sounds a bit “off” if you will. I also find this works use of symbols to be quite interesting, although I am not sure if the symbols are unique and created by the author just for this work or if they are simply letters of a different language. Despite the interesting elements of FilmText, I would have to say that I do not entirely enjoy it because it lacks meaning to me and I just feel lost while exploring it.
Next, I decided to explore How to Rob a Bank by Alan Bigelow. When compared to FilmText, I found How to Rob a Bank to be much more immersive and enjoyable. This is mainly because How to rob a bank is a much more straightforward story told in a rather unique way, rather than an abstract piece of art that is interactive. How to Rob a Bank tells a linear story through a person’s actions on a cellphone, which I found to be captivating and immersive. I found myself looking forward to the next actions performed on the cellphone to reveal new information in the story. I also enjoyed the background noises of cars passing by on the street and birds chirping – very relaxing, in stark contrast to the story being told.
Multimedia fiction combines key aspects of hypertext fiction, kinetic and interactive poetry, and interactive fiction to combine digital writing into immersive pieces of art. Combining sound, animation, storytelling, interactivity, and more to captivate the reader, multimedia fiction paints a fictional space for its audience. Much like the previously mentioned forms of electronic literature, multimedia fiction is a museum for fanatics of the avant-garde, but it also contains simpler pieces for those who prefer straightforward art.
A simpler example of multimedia fiction is Alan Bigelow’s “How to Rob a Bank – Part 4”, which follows the daily diary of a new mother trying to raise her baby as she realizes she and her husband are growing apart. By using outside environment sounds and the interface of a phone to emulate a person using their phone outside to write up diary entries, the protagonist becomes much more human. By documenting the decline of the mother’s mental state as she becomes more stressed from motherhood and her relationship with her husband within this outline of a phone, the piece is presented as a fictional but immersive story.
A more abstract piece of multimedia fiction is Mark Amerika’s “FilmText”, which puts the reader in a simulated environment, akin to a video game. The reader can click on various cones being emitted from craters to open up different documents that explain the universe of the piece. “FilmText” stands out much more as a piece of fiction with its sci-fi elements arising from Amerika’s creation of ideas like a “Digital Thoughtographer”, but it still manages to be immersive like “How to Rob a Bank – Part 4”.
Multimedia fiction manifests itself in many different forms to allow for its writers to convey their message in any way they choose. Whether it is immersive, simple, abstract, or more, multimedia fiction appeals to fans of writing, technology, avant-garde, and the like.