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Transcriptions Guide to Electronic Literature

This is the beginning of an annotated bibliography of representative electronic fiction and poetry. Included is a guide to the Transcription Studio's library of publications by the Eastgate company.

The goal of this selective bibliography is to offer students and other beginning readers of e-literature an initial view of the thematic, formal, and theoretical range of the new electronic genres and media of writing. (See also Transcriptions Guide to New Media Writing [under construction].)

For a more comprehensive listing of works, see the Directory of the Electronic Literature Organization. See also Hypermarks by Transcriptions faculty member Rita Raley.


Featured Annotations
Victory Garden (Eastgate 1995)
by Stuart Moulthrop
Annotated by: Jennifer Jones

Moments of Victory Garden, a by now canonical work in the context of hypertext fiction, can be disturbingly probing of its reader. "How did it make you feel—scared, depressed, elated, unreal? When History unfolded around you, did you see it as a poison flower (fucked, like the man say, down to its eternal root), or did it seem to you a fantastic firework, some gorgeous portent of the skies?" And yet, the proscribed choices that this passage offers as possible modes of response to the event around which Victory Garden unfolds, the Gulf War, are also indicative of the way in which the story self-consciously mobilizes this aggressive mode of addressing its reader as a means of bringing to the fore the restrictions for emotive response that were so present in the media coverage—and presumably many of our experiences—of the Gulf. As we navigate through Victory Garden, we become immersed in the life of Emily Runbird, a graduate student who had financed her education through government military service, and was called into active duty when the War erupted . Emily serves as our interface to both 'sides' of the War, which are comprised on the one hand by those who found themselves in the middle of a desert in nuclear combat gear with Emily, and on the other by those who remained behind, living with her absence, and continuing to pursue their lives (in this context, as students or professors). This gap, which cannot be bridged, and yet, as the story makes clear, must be pushed beyond a tacit acceptance of the distance, is indicative of other gaps that are powerfully explored in Victory Garden as well—desire, passion, and not least, love.

Lust (Eastgate 1994)
by Mary-Kim Arnold

Annotated by: Jeen Yu

Lust is a poetically and prosaically mingled tale that is both disturbing and quietly tender in its (re)combined sequences, or fragments, of connection, creation, and loss between lovers and among a man, woman, and child. Images of violent penetration ("She runs the blade against the surface of her skin . . . there is blood") are tempered by those of sensual warmth ("She touches his face, running her hands across the surface of his skin"), and the reader will, perhaps anxiously, experience this hypertext as constantly being "on the verge of exploding into sex, violence, and murder." In the words of Kathryn Cramer (author of In Small and Large Pieces), Lust "undresses the resonances of emotionally loaded words and phrases, revealing unspoken moments, fragments of memory, and muffled screams." Profound and provocative in its explorations of human sexuality and emotion, this tale uncovers for the reader the deep complexities of lust and its often hidden consequences.

A Dream with Demons (Eastgate 1997)
by Edward Falco
Annotated by: Jeen Yu

The title of this work is intriguing enoughthe description on the cover even more so:

"Val Rivson paints with his soul. But no matter how frightening his paintings become, he cannot exorcise the beasts within. Worse, a strange convulsion binds him to Elaine, his lover, and her daughter, Missy, twining new cycles of anger, pain, and loss."

The reader begins his or her journey through A Dream with Demons on the contents page, which presents nineteen provocatively titled choices—or "chapters"(4. Val lay on, 10. At Elaine's breast, 17. You want me), all of which contain rather lengthy, but compelling text. Through each "chapter," the reader enters "a contemporary nightmare" (publisher's blurb) in which s/he encounters an intenseoften confusingarray of dreamlike descriptions ("When we make love I ask God to open my heart and I walk through it like a door into the warm other world our joined self") mixed with some rather disconcerting ones ("Elaine. I'm sick. You should be here for me. You bitch."). In all, this reading experience will prove more absorbing than exhausting, despiteor perhaps because ofthe seemingly unending textual paths.


Full Guide to E-Literature


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Selected Entries

Hypertext Fiction:

 We Descend Bill Bly (Eastgate 1994)
Jennifer Jones

In Small and Large Pieces Kathryn Cramer (Eastgate 1994)
Jeen Yu

I Have Said Nothing J. Yellowlees Douglas (Eastgate 1995)
Jeen Yu

A Dream with Demons Edward Falco (Eastgate 1999)
Jeen Yu

Mahasuha Halo Richard Gess (Eastgate 1995)
Jeen Yu

Quibbling Carolyn Guyer (Eastgate 1995)
Jennifer Jones

Patchwork Girl Shelley Jackson (Eastgate 1995)
Jennifer Jones

Afternoon: A Story Michael Joyce (Eastgate 1995)
Jennifer Jones

Completing the Circle Michael van Mantgem (Eastgate 1995)
Jeen Yu

Victory Garden Stuart Moulthrop (Eastgate 1995)
Jennifer Jones

Hypertext Poetry:

Mothering Judith Kerman (Eastgate 1995)
Jeen Yu

True North Stephanie Strichland (Eastgate 1997)
forthcoming annotation


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