Book: Janet Murray 1 Jan 1997

Hamlet on the Holodeck

The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace

Technology changes storytelling because movies don't tell stories in the same manner as wandering bards.

Murray is fascinated with the changes emerging technologies may bring. Interactive tales, more versatile structures, stories as games, and games as stories are among the topics she explores in her very personable and entertaining style. And what about fears that interactive escapism could be the coming addiction? She makes an unblinking examination of this question with insight into both the technological possibilities and the strengths of the human psyche. Strongly recommended for anyone who loves the art of storytelling in any medium.

She questions whether the computer can provide the basis for an expressive narrative form, just as print technology supported the development of the novel and film technology supported the development of movies. She provides an optimistic answer. Murray’s analysis rests on an understanding of the computer as a medium of representation with a distinct set of properties. She argues that the computer is procedural, participatory, encyclopedic, and spatial, and that it affords three characteristic (but not unique) pleasures: immersion, agency, and transformation. She defines interactivity as the combination of the procedural and the participatory property which together afford the pleasure of agency. She connects research work on artificial intelligence with cultural forms such as games, movies, literature, and television. Murray’s main point is that the new computer formats expand the possibilities of expression available for storytelling.


Cover of " Hamlet on the Holodeck" -


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