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Jim Henry wrote:
> On 1/28/06, Sai Emrys <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> From an offlist email (w/ permission):
>>
>> On 1/25/06, Yahya Abdal-Aziz <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> ......
>>> 12.  Your explication of non-linear fiction immediately put me in mind of
>>> "interactive novels", which sometimes require a truly admirable degree of
>>> cleverness in branching and rejoining different plot threads to achieve
>>> given states of knowledge at various points.
> 
>> If you are thinking of e.g. Choose Your Own Adventure books, those are
>> not nonlinear at all; they are merely branching (or 'customized')
>> linear. (Viz: the scene in /The Princess Bride/ where the kid corrects
>> the grandfather and says how the story is obviously *supposed* to go -
>> the story would still be linear either way, it's just a change in how
>> it turns out.)
> 
> The earliest Choose Your Own Adventure
> novels were simple tree structures, but some later
> ones, and many of those in other series (e.g.,
> GrailQuest) were more complex networks.
> 
>> Every one that I have seen is exclusively intended to have one path
>> *at a time* that is possible; attempting to keep track of the full
>> tree
> 
> ...or network?
> 
>> is extremely difficult. They definitely don't take advantage of
>> the actual structural net as an object in itself, which is what I was
>> imagining non-linear fiction (or poetry) would be like.
> 
> Some hypertext fiction, as best as I can tell, is
> something like this: the various branchings of the
> network don't represent alternate ways the story
> can turn out, but alternate facets of the story
> one can attend to at any given time; one is encouraged
> to read much if not all of it and get a feel for how
> the bits connect.  In theory the same structure
> could appear in a paper book with sections and
> branchings.

Worth mentioning here are text adventures (or "interactive fiction", as
people have taken to calling it to make it more "respectable"); and
within that genre are oddities like Andrew Plotkin's rather excellent
"Space Beneath the Window", where the "game", if you can call it that,
consists of reading the text and typing a word from it to focus on.
Depending on where you put your focus, the story goes in rather dramatic
directions.

K.