July 6, 2022
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Links Of Darkness

Links of Darkness: Hypertext And Horror (Mark Bernstein and Stee McMorris). Engelbart Award Paper, ACM Conference On Hypertext and Social Media. June 28-July 1, 2022, Barcelona.

Abstract: Category fiction adopts a formal narrative framework to explore topics of mutual interest to readers and writers. Originating as a means of assisting retail booksellers and movie theaters in their work of matching readers and writers, categories like “Mystery”, “Western”, and “Horror” have shaped modern storytelling. The frameworks that underlie category fiction are often confounded with their conventional surface characteristics. For example, mysteries are not puzzles, but rather interrogate how a damaged world can be understood and, with understanding, repaired. We observe that that framework of Horror is congruent to the affordances of literary hypertext. The technologies and trappings of hypertext itself share the slippery uncanniness and unheimlichkeit of other horror staples: mirrors, twins, rivers, and crossroads. Finally, it is intriguing that the history of hypertext and the World Wide Web itself falls neatly into the framework of horror.