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Forepaper by Jill Walker
for Media Morphs the Messenger 98

Hypertext Review 1
Hypertext Review 2

Løding's book, which the review is of, is a complicated affair. Both content and form are very experimental and also very rich.

I realized when I started trying to write a tradition, linear review of the book that I wanted to write several conflicting reviews. Once I decided to write the review as a hypertext, what I wanted to say seemed to suggest its own structure. The hypertext (written in html) has a constant graphical "menu", which is a picture of an old walled city.

The city has four entrances, labeled with words meaning stories, violence, gender and language. The first screen reads "There are many entrances to Jernalderdrøm. [the name of the novel] Which will you choose to enter by?".

A click on "violence" leads to an identical screen, with the same image, but a new text: "Violence is Jernalderdrøm's core." (That sounds a bit better in Norwegian than in translation) "Violence" is linked to a new node: "Violence twists itself around us and in us. We are condemned to repeat the pillage, the rapes and the murders again and again and again." "Repeats" leads to a new node, longer, with quotations from the book and three alternative links, and so it continues. Choosing "language" leads to a node with the text "Language is Jernalderdrøms core"; stories leads to "stories are Jernalderdrøms core" etc.

The idea is to come at the novel (or at my interpretation of the novel) from four different directions, from four contradictory claims that this is the most important thing in the novel. Gradually the paths intertwine, and burrowing deeply enough into "violence" may lead you to "language".

My idea is that after reading several nodes in any of the "entrances" you will arrive at what I have envisaged as the city center, where I connect threads and also suggest new exits, in what would be the conclusion of a traditional review. Clicking in the (unmarked) center of the city map also gets you here, though you have to pass through a few nodes first.

While I've learned a lot from books and the web and seeing what others have done, actually talking to people is invaluable. And criticism from people who actually have read a hypertext before would be a lot of help, too... I hope I haven't exhausted you in my enthusiastic lack of brevity.



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