Wreader's Digest - How To Appreciate Hyperfiction

Anja Rau

Abstract


Compared to its age - or youth - hyperfiction is a rather well-theorized genre. Hyperfiction-criticism either praises its subject as evolved print-text and better realization of contemporary literary theory - or deplore its - allegedly - low literary quality. What is missing, however, are in-depth readings of digital fiction that deemphasize theory and try to appreciate this new genre for what it has to offer.

In this "paper", I will read two hyperfictions that are not among the two or three canonized texts that are relatively well-known and often-quoted. Both John McDaid's Uncle Buddy's Phantom Funhouse and Sarah Smith's King of Space deal with central issues of hypertext-theory - in content as well as formally. They are about agency and sense-making, ironically deconstructing mainstream theory's claims that digital, hyperlinked texts activate readers into a de-facto author-position. They are also representations of contemporary life that may be difficult to read at first but also make strangely adequate and enjoyable texts for today's readers.

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