Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on March 18, 1998 · Page 9
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 9

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Ukiah, California
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Wednesday, March 18, 1998
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Page 9
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THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL Technolo WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18, 1998 —9 ^Hyperfiction* readers move plot along at a click ByTOMKlRCHOFER > Associated Press Writer '" :>>• NEW YORK — Imagine a fictional ' story that has no fixed plot, no certain end- mg. The narrative can take hundreds of different turns, and the one deciding each : twist of the tale is the reader. •! • Literary heresy? No, hypertext fiction, v Hyperfiction, as it's also called, is an emerging literary genre that unfolds on a personal computer rather than on paper. It ihas attracted the attention of avant-garde .literati and is studied at several colleges. '•'•••• Compared with traditional fiction, "It resembles more a web than a thread," said Bob Arellano, a creative writing graduate .student at Brown University. • '. Put another way, reading a traditional novel can be compared with driving the '•length of a road without intersections; ."reading hyperfiction is more like wandering city streets, choosing which way to go > at each corner. .;/i; "''.Hyperfiction presents readers "pages" with highlighted words, phrases and pic- , tures, just like on World Wide Web pages. .Readers click on these links to see where the story leads. Such nonlinear yarns tend to lack "a" definitive end; readers can surf through j^them as much or little as they choose. i; , In "Victory Garden," a hyperfiction by Stuart Moulthrop, a soldier writes home from the Persian Gulf War: ••• :: "Tell Thea she's a jerk for not writing... '-' She will probably ask you to help her out, but ;• fhis time please just say no." '!''.' The soldier's sentiment presents readers ^with a decision: "Thea," "not writing," and ^' ( "just say no," are all links that will take the 1 slory in new directions at the click of a mouse. Clicking on "Thea" gives the reader a look at that character's shock at the coming -.of war. Clicking on "not writing" reveals an nangry letter from the soldier to Thea. The . r "just say no" link leads to a description of a ., saloon at the soldier's college. ,',., "Victory Garden" includes 993 short " "writing spaces," the hypertext equivalent of 1{ |)ages, and 2,804 links. ' ^' Mark Bernstein, chief scientist at Eastgate Systems, publisher of "Victory Garden" and 'bther hypertexts, says the work would make ''a',"moderately thick" novel if printed and 'bound. ' i * •''•He sees hypertext authors as artistic • Descendants of avant-garde writers such as William S. Burroughs. < r ,r, ; - - "There is not one way of reading the KRT Infbgraphlcs/PAULTRAP story, there are millions of ways of reading the story," said Mark Amerika, author of the online hyperfiction novel "Grammatron." It can even evolve beyond a "story," becoming multimedia art with the addition of sound, pictures and film. The growing hypertext literature movement emerged quietly in the 1970s and '80s, starting off as complicated, theoretical game- playing for computer whizzes. As computers became more mainstream, hyperfiction attracted a larger audience of computer-savvy writers and readers. Brown University first offered a hypertext writing workshop in 1991. Since then about a dozen colleges have followed. "Grammatron" begins with the words "I am a machine... a writing machine," flashing across a red screen to the sound of surreal, moaning music. From there, protagonist Abe Golam moves through an electronic dream world. Bob Arellano's online novel "Sunshine 69" has a more mainstream feel. Readers follow characters through the year 1969, where they go on jungle patrols in Vietnam and take various drugs. Written under the 'cyber- name' of Bobby Rabyd, "Sunshine 69" links text with music, maps and pictures. Eastgate, based in Watertown, Mass., sells works of hypertext fiction on CD-ROM and floppy disk, usually for about $20 to $25 apiece. The company maintains a stable of authors, many of whom write in Story- Space, an Eastgate-marketed writing program that lets readers and authors more easily navigate in hypertext. Among Eastgate's top sellers is Michael Joyce, who teaches English at Vassar College and whose work, "Afternoon, a Story," is one of the most influential pieces of hypertext fiction. "Afternoon" gives readers a look into the mind of a man who witnesses a car wreck and develops a terrible suspicion that his former wife may have been involved. Bernstein says that like many works of hypertext, the nonlinear "Afternoon" concentrates more on "capturing moments and feelings" than on developing a traditional plot. In "Victory Garden," Moulthrop, a University of Baltimore professor, gives plot a more important role. The story is a highly complex portrayal of paranoia and uncertainty, set against the backdrop of the Persian Gulf War. Its many plots and subplots are, in Bernstein's words, "torn up and fragmented, but still a narrative." Reading hypertext fiction requires extra concentration. The medium's arty flair and technical complexity can make it difficult for the casual reader to digest. Eastgate publications come with technical instruction booklets. There's another barrier to reading hyper- fiction for enjoyment. "When I sit at a computer, I usually think like I'm working," said Eldon Pei, an undergraduate in Brown's creative writing program. Also, the very randomness that defines hypertext fiction makes the reading experience incomplete, he said. "I want to feel like I'm getting everything, and in hypertext that's impossible." Still, Pei sees a future for hypertext writing. "It's a genre that is still in its very beginning stages from what I've seen," he said. "As with any art form, it takes some time to develop and mature." {^computer fields: B.S, gNffutt** In electrical and computer engineering 1995: 24,800 1996: 19,400 '88 '90 '92 '94'95 Supply and demand: The figures ti6%0fU.S i Dallas Morning News, KBT Infograp Jews for Jesus antagonist must | change Web address, judge rules his opposition to Jews for Jes By JEFFREY GOLD Associated Press W NEWARK, N.J. — A New Jersey man can criticize Jews for Jesus on the Internet, but he cannot use the of his Web site's address, a federal judge ruled. U.S. District Lech%eif ; group that visitors decoy are likely to be especially beeatrsa, Jesus has used the na; years and has its own Web site with a similar address. In a ruling issued this month, "An individual may sophisticated user of the Internet but may be an unsophisticated consumer of informati religious organizations,' er wrote. Editor's Note — The Web site for "Gram- matron" is www.grammatron.com; for "Sunshine 69," www.rabyd.com/sunshine69; for Eastgate Systems, www.eastgate.com. sky, a professional Internet ftttjj^ developer from West ~ change his site's addr it makes unfair use of tha^totj trademark. Lechner turned „_ sky's contentions that Me users would swiftly Microsoft promotes its version of Java By DAVID E. KALISH *AP Business Writer ;;. NEW YORK — Widening an already nasty rift with competitors, Microsoft Corp. is giving software developers new tools intended to make it easier to use its version of the Java programming language. Java, which has been touted as , a way to develop programs that i work on all, types of computers, ! was created by Microsoft rival I Sun Microsystems.Inc. ! s Microsoft competitors fear | that by promoting its own ver- i sion of Java, the company may ! be further entrenching its Win' dows operating system as .the I dominant software platform • computers use to run programs. ! The new tools, released last 1 week, are designed to make it I easier to write Windows applica- ! tions in Microsoft's version of ' Java. The announcement was I made at the Internet World trade show in Los Angeles. The move was expected to be endorsed by Microsoft's onetime rival, Apple Computer Inc., expanding a relationship started last summer when Microsoft took a $150 million stake in Apple. The latest move by Microsoft is the latest step in an industry quarrel over Java. The language was intended to enable developers to write software that runs on all computers, from PCs to workstations, freeing people from excessive reliance on any one type of operating system, such as Windows. Sun Microsystems has sued ' Microsoft, alleging that the Redmond, Wash .-based company hijacked the language to create a version that works only on Windows computers and not rivals' products. Sun maintains that Microsoft is abusing its dominance of oper- ating system software for personal computers to cripple the drive to create a universal software language. "To the extent (Microsoft encourages) people to start using Java for Windows, it dilutes the cross-platform message," said David Smith, an analyst with Gartner Group in Stamford, Conn. Details of Apple's role weren't disclosed. But some industry analysts expected the companies to unveil plans for the Java software written by Windows developers to also run on Apple's Macintosh computers. Microsoft has said in the past that Java applications work best when created for a specific operating system such as Windows and has denied that it is abusing its Windows monopoly to gain advantage in other software areas. UKIAH'S LARGEST SHOPPING CENTER « lV-ai Tice CeijteP 3 P E N EVERY PAY' PEHKIN St. 1 0 1 SPRING SIDEWALK SALE Colorful Savings for the whole family! and MTA'S WEEKEND WHEELS ackoff of the Saturday Shopper FUN... FREE POPCORN PMM FREE DRINKS (provided by FREE BALLOONS - WITH THE CRAYOLA BUNNY All proceeds go to MCAVtf Mendoctno County Aids Volunteers Network McDonalds) PRIZES!! MTA RIDES! rfor Broi ?eome' '*&•. •">'official Jews"' site, created by the San Francisco-based group in March 1995. is at www.jews-for-jesus.nrg. 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