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Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature

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"I have not seen any work so comprehensive in its synthesis of previous commentary. Aarseth's brilliant observations remind me of McLuhan's probes....This is clearly the best study of electronic texts I have yet read." -- Stuart Moulthrop, author of Victory Garden

Espen J. Aarseth is associate professor in the Department of Humanistic Informatics, University of Bergen, Norway.

Espen Aarseth explores "ergodic literature" -- literature that demands that the reader play an active role -- with insight and verve. Surprisingly readable and yet theoretically sophisticated, this book questions many of the assumptions often made in discussing hypertext and other new media.

Aarseth takes great care to examine the works themselves, ranging from Joyce's afternoon, a story to adventure games, MUDs, and chatterbotsm and he deplores the common tendency of critics to apply their favorite methodologies to new media simply to establish their critical power. At the same time, Aarseth is careful to avoid media apologetics.

Aarseth is especially interested in social texts, adventures and MUDs, but his detailed reading of afternoon and thoughtful critique of hypertext theory is fascinating reading for the theoretically-inclined student of hypermedia.

Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature
Espen J. Aarseth
Johns Hopkins University Press
ISBN 0-8018-5579-9
204 pages, paper....$14.95


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