The BookWorm's Library


Hyperfiction

After the creation and innovations of the novel, and the realization that hypertext is a powerful medium, many authors decided to pioneer a new literary form--Hyperfiction. It is the newest form of fiction--only about ten years old--despite having old roots.

People had toyed with the idea of hypertext since the 1940s. In 1945, Vannevar Bush wrote an article titled "As We May Think" that many people consider the beginning of hypertext theory. He described a machine that would "store an individual's books, records, and communications . . . may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility." (Deemer On-line 2) The computer finally allowed Bush's vision to come to life. The interactive fiction has also influenced hypertext. The Choose-Your-Own- Adventure books are examples of interactive fiction. (Rees On-line 2)

Hyperfiction follows at least one convention of the novel: anything goes. It is not limited to any genre nor is it limited to print. An interactive soap opera, a psychiatrist's office and his patients' lives, a bank robbery, a vampire story, and trying to solve the mystery of a deserted island are just a few examples of the different genres that have been used in hyperfiction. And they all share at least two characteristics with each other.

Hyperfiction is the latest development in a long history of new methods of telling stories. Of the two older traditions, it would appear to have more in common with storytelling than the novel. Each story written in hyperfiction can be experienced differently each time and the non-linearity of the plot are devices that the novel could never use with success.