Of the three, I enjoyed “How to Rob a Bank” and “With Those We Love Alive”. I felt that the plots were more linear and easier to pick up on than in “My Boyfriend Came Back from the War”. I appreciated the differences in each method of storytelling, particularly in “How to Rob a Bank”, in its use of images, videos, and sound to convey the story. There were so many little details to add to worldbuilding. I didn’t reach the end of “ With Those We Love Alive” but I did appreciate the freedom to customize your experience within the story, though there was only one real path to take. I was definitely engaged throughout what I got through, though I got frustrated at the pacing. “My Boyfriend Came Back From The War” felt more scattered, and it was more difficult to pick up on the plot. I couldn’t tell who was speaking or what was going on. I believe all three are stories, though some make you work harder to understand them, demanding more of the reader’s participation, either physically or mentally.
I believe that all three of these works can be considered stories. You could get lost in the weeds defining the borders of narrative, but as far as delivering a world with coherent characters and themes I think these hyperlink works are as much a story as a traditional novel would be.
My Boyfriend Came Back from the War is the most ambiguous of the works. Even so, there is still a clear central relationship it explores. Its sequence is subject to player agency, but piecing together its contents is an intentional aspect of the story.
With Those We Love Alive presents the most convincing and transportive world of the bunch, embracing a medieval fantasy aesthetic. All of the works maintain engagement partly through convenience of the medium- navigating links requires constant interaction with your device and, by extension, the world of the narrative.
I detect plot and character development in all of the stories. Obviously How to Rob a Bank is comedic in tone but there is still a trajectory to the central character. The navigation structures, even with the stories that are not sequenced in a chronologically linear fashion, still imply a single unfolding timeline that the reader can sensibly derive.
This assortment of hyperlink stories exist on a spectrum of linearity and temporal legibility, but nonetheless are equal in their validity as stories and works of art.
The role of symbols, indexes, and Icons are very prominent in modern media. They help visualize your words or phrases that you use. In the example of City Fish by J.R. Carpenter, They help visualize a timeline. This helps readers become engaged in the reading and make it more appealing to the eye. These icons are specifically spaced juxtaposed to the text. These icons also gives us an insight into how things actually look! For example, in the story, it talks about how Lynn and her mother lived in a specific house. Then it shows an image of a house. This makes it meaningful as know we can tie the thread of that house being the one that Lynn and her mother lived in! That itself make a world that the reader can insert themselves into. I want to make sure to keep in mind that I can insert icons and symbols next to text to make more sense and more weight out of given characters. This can immerse the reader into my story more while also giving a more specific and detailed storyline. It will also grab the attention of users coming to read my story. if it was just all text, it wouldn’t be very fun to look at. This is not saying that you can’t make an immersive story without icons. Many books and novels make wonderful worlds with just the use of text. Icons and symbols and indexes just make storytelling more versatile and creative. I’ll be sure to keep this all in mind.
I checked out the story “Book From The Ground: From Point to Point” by Bing Xu. This is a short story told through icons on a Google Slideshow. This is a really interesting and different format for telling stories, as most works of fiction are told through written language, film, or some other more common method.
Our story starts off with a zoom in on the world, taking us down onto Earth and into a city where we eventually arrive at a bird singing in a tree. The bird singing leads to a man waking up and noticing the birds. The story continues from this point, doing things like showing us how he starts his day.
The various signs help us learn the story as it gives us visual images. Each of the images are connected to one another in the sense that their order is important. We can see an image of a camera zooming down onto a city from space because of the icons that show a planet and then a slightly more zoomed in version of that planet than a city than a slightly more zoomed in icon of that city.
For my own project, I might use similar icons to tell my story. I could use emojis from an iPhone to show off some kind of conversation between two people. Maybe the conversation goes south and so I use a red-faced emoji to express that.
I think that the three works we looked at can be considered stories, however, they don’t all align from a coherent point of view in my opinion. All three pieces tell a story in their own interactive ways.
For me at least, I found How to Rob a Bank the most coherent, clear, and easy to follow. The way that the story was set up the characters, their development, and the plot was evident. I found the structure of this story to be linear which made it easy to comprehend. Unlike the other two stories all, you had to do as the reader was click the space bar to continue on with the story. The story was already laid out and there really is only one way to interpret the story and its outcome.
As for My Boyfriend Came Back from the War, I found this story a little bit difficult to follow. There were a lot of options that you could click on, subsequently changing the way you read the story. I think that being able to explore a story in your own way by clicking on different text is something that keeps people engaged and interested in the story.
Finally, for With Those We Love Alive, I think the story’s structure is very engaging. I like the way that it makes you feel like you are a part of the story. This story is very nonlinear, you are able to choose the actions you want to take and really be a part of the world and the development of the storyline
I thought that all three of these hypertext stories were very different and interesting in their own ways, but I think that they all would be considered stories. For the first story, “My Boyfriend Came Back from the War” I had a hard time following along. There were so many different choices to click on that I felt overwhelmed and had a hard time putting the story together and following it throughout the sequence.
However, with the second story, “How to Rob a Bank” I had a completely different experience. I thought that the structure of this story was very linear, which made it easy to identify the story and all of its different parts as well as follow along without getting lost. I also enjoyed the perspective that the story was told from. It helped us get inside the character’s head and it also helped us get to know the other characters in the story and their relationships as well. While this piece doesn’t give you choices I think that being able to pick the pace at which the story develops is a good way to make it interactive while still being linear.
I think that the final story, “With Those We Love Alive” is a great hypertext story. The navigation structure of this story really helped bring you into the story world and let you walk around to explore your surroundings. There were many different choice options on each page, involving you in the story without feeling like you’ve lost your place in the story.
My Boyfriend Came Back from the War, by Olia Lialina (1996)
How to Rob a Bank, by Alan Bigelow (2016)
With Those We Love Alive, Porpentine (2014)
Though I believe each of these works can be considered stories, though some may not be as coherent as others, I think it some way it is still “coherently told”. The best part of Hypertext is that it is sort of a role play , choose your own destiny type of literature. These stories are all told in a non linear way and in a way we may not be familiar with. They keep you engaged and is interactive because you are following in ways you choose.
The first explored was My Boyfriend Came Back from the War, by Olia Lialina. This was interactive in the sense that you click and choose which link to go which in the end determines how you read the story.
In How to Rob a Bank this story had a set of characters that you are able to interact in the form of clicking as well but was overall more linear.
With Those We Love Alive was also interactive in the sense that you get to choose the direction of the story, also making it non linear. Though this story and My Boyfriend Came back from the War seem the lease “coherent” of the three , they all are in a form coherent and interactive. Linear sequencing vs non linear doesn’t make a story less coherent in my opinion but maybe more or less intriguing. Some find excitement in vague stories with space to let the mind wonder and some prefer a very clear understanding.
Playing, or tapping is more correct, through these interactive hypertexts might have been my favorite blog post yet. I love anything interactive, I think a lot of people do, so it was a nice change to be able to interact with these works. To me, there was no coherent story besides How to Rob a Bank which depicts a funny little story about just that. It was not a story with ups and down and set characters, but it followed the main person clicking and looking up things. It was very linear compared to the other two which were more choose-your-own adventure type beats. Even then, though, they did not produce to me a coherent story.
My Boyfriend Came Back From the War was interesting and very daunting to me. I am someone who clicks excessively and was constantly just clicking every link available. I could not keep up with any of the smalls words or happenings because it just did not make sense with it all jumbled. There was a large sense of sadness, a lot of negative emotions and pleading, but not overarching story to me. It was very interactive, however, because you get to click what you want! The scattered words and lines definitely added to it’s already nerve-wracking and dark imagery.
With Those We Love Alive was the most interesting one to me because it fully felt like you were making decisions. You got to decide what some aspects, some adjectives and things looked like or felt like. It was amazing, but I also got stuck very easily when I thought I clicked through every option. There was no coherent story, it was vague and everything was very vague. It intrigues me, though. It kept me the most engaged and felt the most like a video game out of the three because of your choices making an impact on some of the stuff happening. All in all, they all are vague, don’t seem like coherent stories, but are experiences I valued over some books I have read.