Transcript of an outdoor yard-warming labor day birthday party barbecue and hypertext novel reading.
William: Go ahead and tell them what we are about to do.
Scott: Um, so we, uh, this summer we wrote a hypertext novel—
William: What’s that?
(Burst of jazz from Joe’s laptop as The Unknown boots up)
Scott: It’s a novel about our book tour actually. We got together one night on June 9th in Cincinnati, Ohio and decided that we would publish a book of our best work. Uh, actually we decided that, after we decided that what was necessary for us to do was to write a book of criticism about each other’s best work, because William Gillespie has been producing texts of high literary magnitude for, oh, eleven, twelve years now, and we think that the world needs a little criticism of that work.
But then we realized that once we published the book of criticism about William’s work, we would need to actually have the work itself published in the world. So we decided that we would do the book of criticism about the anthology that we would also publish simultaneously.
But we found that weekend that once we decided that that’s what we were going to do, we had nothing to do with the rest of the weekend, because we didn’t have anything there to work with on the book, so we started writing a hypertext novel about the book tour that we went on after we published the… criticism and the anthology of which the criticism… was about.
So now what we have is a hypertext novel that was just so much fun to write that it soon occupied our whole summer, and um, that’s what we did and we were really juvenile and silly the whole time, and it—
Barbara Trent: What’s a hypertext novel?
Scott: A hypertext novel is a novel with links, ah, which links in an audio reading of a hypertext novel are represented by a bell. (bell) Whenever we encounter a link it’s like on a webpage where you have a link and it leads to some other place in cyberspace—
Barbara Trent: Okay.
Scott: What we have here is that it leads to another part of the story, or whatever it is… that this is.
Barbara Trent: I got it. Thank you.
Scott: And… it’s kind of silly but… it’s also very serious.
Dirk: Profound, even.
William: It’s a choose-your-own-adventure book, and we’re gonna read it. Every time we ring the bell that is one of the options for where we can go next. So if I read “a blank space on a person’s mental map” (bell) when we get to the end of the page we want someone to remember one of the things that had the bell associated with it that interested them and tell us what it is and we will click on that, and in that way we hope this is an interactive, and therefore a hypertext novel… reading.
Barbara Trent: It has to be a past thing that you already said.
Barbara Trent: Okay.
Scott: Something that we rang a bell.
Barbara Trent: Got it. Just want to get the rules straight. Thank you.
William: Um… We’ll start… Everybody gets told to write about what they know…
Scott Explains What a Hypertext Novel Is