Frequently Asked Questions about "Hypertext"

1. What is “Hypertext”?

2. What are the Richards Criteria?

3. Who are you?

4. What is the Popular Interpretation?

5. And the Texas/Bush School?

6. Can you summarize the Technosexual Reading?

7. How about the Richards Posttranssexual Rereading?

8. What's the story with the fan fiction and the double murder?

9. Who am I?

1. What is “Hypertext”?

Before it grew into a phenomenon justifying a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) document such as this, “Hypertext” was startlingly simple in conception. Alan Richardson—a short, pale, freckled, pixie-eared San Francisco Bay Area investment banker and day-trader who amassed a substantial fortune during the 1990s boom—decided post-dotcom meltdown to grow a ponytail and compose a poem using only hidden words and anagrams from the nine-letter word hypertext.

He tried several versions before settling on the three-stanza, nine-line, 69-word “Hypertext,” which he emailed to some friends along with a cryptic note about changing careers, maybe heading back to school.

He said the poem was just a simple kind of word game, though he hoped it might make “some kind of syntactic sense” or even “suggest a coherent narrative” that readers could discover or construct for the text.
word game image
Little did Alan Richardson anticipate the critical outpouring that would follow, not to mention the explosion of fan fiction that “Hypertext” would inspire or the debate that would ensue about the poem's authenticity. Indeed, it took years to peel away the layers of fraudulent versions and false authors and trace the poem back to Richardson, before his dramatic “disappearance” (FAQ #5) and subsequent death (FAQ #8).