The purpose of art is to delight us; certain men and women (no smarter than you or I) whose art can delight us have been given dispensation from going out and fetching water and carrying wood. It's no more elaborate than that. — David Mamet

May 21 10 2021

Foundation

by Isaac Asimov

Revisited after many years as part of my study of the prehistory of hypertext. This exploration of the end of the Roman Empire through the lens of science fiction remains intriguing and readable, even if the dialogue sometimes limps. It is striking and embarrassing, however, that a book of Foundation’s breadth could have been imagined almost entirely without women. Though Asimov thought a lot about artificial intelligence, he doesn't do that here: there are no robots, no positronic brains, scarcely any electronics, and people still worry about changing tubes after they blow out.

by Guillaume Musso

This fluffy mystery begins with a truly wonderful setup: two very different people have each booked the same AirBNB. Neither is pleased about having a roommate, and both are curious how this could possibly have come to pass. The apartment, it turns out, belonged to a painter they each admire greatly, and so they begin to investigate this unusual painter and the problem of his missing late canvasses. This leads, in turn, to the tragic murder of the painter’s young son shortly before the painter’s sudden death.

I’m not usually a stickler for procedural authenticity in mysteries, but when an ex-NYPD cop breaks into a private school without much hesitation, one wonders. Still, it’s fun to see the U.S. from the perspective of French pop culture.

Apr 21 8 2021

The Glass Hotel

by Emily St. John Mandel

A fascinating account of the impact that a fictionalized version of Bernie Madoff has on the people in his orbit — not only his investors but even more his employees, casual acquaintances, girlfriends, and daughter. “Money is its own country.”

by Patrick Modiano

This strange and fascinating little book examines an aging writer who is deeply curious about his upbringing and, at the same time, would rather not know. He constantly visits and revisits details of a woman he once knew, her shady partner, her murdered girlfriend. She once gave him a folded piece of paper with his address inside, labelled “So you don’t get lost in the neighborhood.” He is completely devoted to this shadowy maternal replacement, of whom he has heard nothing for decades save that she is said to be in prison.

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Hypertext Theory

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Interviews

Em Short, Getting Started with Hypertext Narrative, April 2016

Alex Strick van Linschoten and Matt Trevithick, Sources and Methods (podcast), October 2014

James Fallows, “How You’ll Get Organized”, The Atlantic (July/August 2014)

Judy Malloy, "The History of Hypertext Literature Authoring and Beyond"

Claus Atzenbeck, "Hypertext Research", ACM SIGWeb Newsletter (Summer, 2008) (pdf)

Lawrie Hunter, "No Reason not to link", Information Design Journal + Document Design 13:3, pp. 229-237 (2005)

Jakob Klein, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (24 July 2005)

Linton Weeks, Washington Post (on eBooks; paywall)

D. C. Dennison, Boston Globe (on Eastgate)

Jim Whitehead, The Cyberspace Report 

F. L. Carr, English Matters

Joe Lambert, Digital Diner

Jennifer Ley, Riding The Meridian

Susana Pajares Tosca, Hipertulia

Roberto Simanowski, Dichtung-Digital