Rebooting Electronic Literature Volume 3, co-authored by Dene Grigar, Holly Slocum, Kathleen Zoller, Nicholas Schiller, Moneca Roath, and Mariah Gwin, was released on Monday, August 31, 2020 at 8 a.m. PDT.
This open-source, multimedia book produced on the Scalar platform features born digital literary works published on floppy disks, CD-ROMs, and other media formats held among the 300 in Grigar’s personal collection in the Electronic Literature Lab at Washington State University Vancouver. An annual publication, the book features selected works highlighted for a Traversal during the year.
The five works selected for Volume 3 all constitute long-form narrative writing often identified as a hypertext novel or interactive narrative. Several of them have been deemed by critics over the years as among the most important in the history of early born-digital writing. Rather than organizing them chronologically, we frame the book with the first hypertext novel ever published by Eastgate Systems, Inc. on Storyspace software––Michael Joyce’s afternoon, story (1990)––and the most recent one the company published in the software’s 3rd version––Mark Bernstein’s Those Trojan Girls (2016). By doing so, we show the evolution of the genre and its connection to the technology underlying it. Within that framework we place two other novels produced with other software that allows for media forms like sound, animation, and video––M. D. Coverley’s Califia (2000) and Megan Heyward’s of day, of night (2014)––as a way of showing the breadth of the novel form over this period of literary history. Additionally, we inserted Stuart Moulthrop’s Victory Garden (1991) between the two multimedia-oriented novels to bring readers back to the dominant narrative form of the 1990s and this novel’s impact on the continued development of electronic writing and scholarship.
The book contains approximately 50,000 words devoted to artist biographies, descriptions of media, and essays; over 150 photos of artists, works, and original packaging; 85 videos of artist readings and interviews and Live Stream Traversals; and four audio files edited and enhanced by sound artist John Barber.
It also showcases seven critical essays, five of which were produced by Grigar. We are pleased to include two others by noted international scholars. Raine Koskimaa‘s “Reading Victory Garden,” published originally in Dichtung-Digital and derived from his PhD dissertation both in 2000, has been added to Chapter Three. Mark Bernstein‘s essay, “Storyspace 3.0,” from HT ’16: Proceedings of the 27th ACM Conference on Hypertext and Social Media in July 2016 is included with Chapter Five on Bernstein’s hypertext novel, Those Trojan Girls.
We thank the Electronic Literature Organization for its leadership in developing methods for evaluating quality of digital creative and critical works and its insights into cataloging its growing body of digital fiction, poetry, and other literary forms––activities from which this research grows and contributes. And as always, we appreciate the support of Washington State University Vancouver for support of the lab and its team.