Ephemeral online literature has been the topic of discussion for the last couple of classes. Ephemeral is a Greek word that means “lasting only one day;” one of the difficulties with online literature is that one minute a piece can be present via a certain link and then the next day said link could 1) stop working or 2) lead the reader to a completely different online source. A perfect example of ephemeral online literature is The Intruder. For our October 27th class we were suppose to play an interactive game where we, the reader, had to prepare ourselves to encounter a violence home intruder. Sounds fun right?
However, when most of the class went to click on the link to play the game it either was not working properly or the computer device needed a downloadable component to work the game. Instead of giving up on the game (this was before Professor Geddes emailed the class that the link was indeed NOT working properly), I decided to try using Internet Explorer to open the link; when the link “worked” in a different internet browser I was brought to the same site that contained many interactive literary games. However, to my surprise when I got to class I realized that the same link that was suppose to bring me to The Intruder, brought me to a completely different site with games that did not have anything to do with The Intruder. Now if that does not scream unstable, I do not know what will.
Instead of concentrating mostly on The Intruder for the class period we read an interactive fiction piece called Pretty Girl on the website Kitty Horror Show; The online text played with our own assumptions of interactive fiction in order to convey the emotion behind the piece; as we have looked at many interactive texts and games we, as readers, are use to (or feel entitled to) a multitude of different choices. However, in Pretty Girl for a majority of the text the reader has very limited choices; this is suppose to make the reader sympathize with the powerlessness of the protagonist. The only instance in the text where the reader has a clear choice is at the end when the main character stands up for herself and gains back the power that she lost.
In addition to limited choices, Pretty Girl is also an ambiguous text; there are no graphics that help the reader visualize the experience. However, the lack of graphics makes the reader interpret the obscene topic for themselves. Moreover, the reader can create their own images in their heads that relate back to the text. Even though there are no graphic elements to Pretty Girl, the text has enough content where the reader can use their imagination to come up with their own interpretations. The last class discussuion was interesting because we as a class got the chance to see a piece of ephemeral literature without even realizing; moreover we had the opportunity to read a pretty cool interactive fiction. Who does not love a creepy horror filled prose poem just in time for Halloween?