On Hypertext Narrative
(I’ll post the slides for the talk, which I think some of you will also enjoy, after the lecture, which is first thing on June 30.)
Abstract: Annals and chronicles may be the foundation of accounting, but writers of stories and histories have long known that they seldom render a satisfactory account of complex events. In place of a simple chronological list, narrative instead organizes our account in new sequences in order to illuminate the interplay of actors and events. We want hypertext narrative to do things we cannot achieve in print; though we may occasionally use links to introduce variation in presentation or in story; it is now clear that hypertext will most frequently prove useful in changing (or adapting) plot. After discussing the ways in which plot may be varied, I describe the use of stretchtext as a reaction against the perceived incoherence of classic hypertext narrative, demonstrate the limitations that conventional stretchtext necessarily imposes on hypertext narrative, and describe an implemented generalization of stretchtext that matches the expressive and formal capabilities of classical hypertext systems while appearing to be a mere stretchtext and while running within the confines of a Web browser.