“Second Person” on the electronic book review

electronic book review

Following their game plan (or walkthrough) for First Person, Pat Harrigan and Noah Wardrip-Fruin have brought their anthology Second Person: Role-Playing and Story in Games and Playable Media to the electronic book review (ebr) to bring the threads of discussion to life. Section One, Computational Fictions, has arrived at ebr and the subsequent sections will soon follow.

Together with Third Person, these two anthologies will form a trilogy of works from scholars, artists, and industry professionals on interactive narrative and drama forms. According to ebr,

The material in these volumes and on ebr represents a new level of dialogue between creators and critics about emerging forms of fictional and playable experience.

The ebr publication of the texts will not only open the book to readers across the Internet, but will also offer a site for continued conversation as readers respond to the texts through ripostes.

The essays previously published in the ebr “First Person” thread evoked (and provoked) responses from such central figures as N. Katherine Hayles, Henry Jenkins, and Stephanie Strickland.

The publication continues ebr‘s long-standing relationship with MIT press, and that press’ continued work toward public online discussion of its texts, as seen in the recent and ongoing vetting of Wardrip-Fruin’s Expressive Processing.

The Table of Contents of the Second Person release follows.

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Unwritten Poems…

What follows is a formula that I used for a symposium last summer called epoetica < http://www.hyperrhiz.net/symposium>. This semester (Winter 2008), I will be using this formula to kick off a course in Electronic Literature (ENG 360).  My hope is that I will be able to get my students thinking about Hayles’ “media-specific analysis” by starting with texts they know already and moving into unfamiliar territory.

The first run of the formula brought mixed results.  I felt that the timing for the exercise (in the summer, when people were traveling) interfered a bit with the success of the overall exercise. In addition, the exercise would have been improved with a greater sense of community among participants.

This time around, we will have a larger group (all undergraduate students, none of them very familiar with electronic literature).  We will have regular -face-to-face contact time, lectures, and supplemental reading assignments.  And, students will be graded for their work, so there is an added incentive for participation.  Rather than using a WordPress interface, we will be using the university’s Blackboard system, and reading/participation will be restricted to registered members of the class and invited guests.


Electronic poetry is one of the many culturally appropriate tools for generating knowledge about the human self. Its unique character can only be understood, obviously, through an understanding of its media specific strengths and weaknesses. These strengths and weaknesses tend to spin on the same axes. The most stunning unique quality circulates around the question of technics (referring both to “technique” and “technology,” as a particular way of responding to human life as a series of “problems” with “solutions” that can be known, improved, and transferred through empirical means.)

Electronic Literature, as a form that was born quite consciously as a response to emergent technics (both hardware and software), opens up the door for literatures that can reveal something to us about the nature of the technical system. It can force us to think critically about technics and it can offer the possibility of more efficient technics.

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Welcome to { literal1.text }…

{ literal1.text } is a forum for teachers of electronic literature founded in January 2008 by <em>Hyperrhiz</em>.

<strong>The goal of this project is to promote the study and production of literature in the age of new media.</strong>

For those already teaching courses in electronic literature, we aim to push its study and practice to new levels. For those who are simply curious, we offer simple (and complicated) ways to integrate electronic texts into the print-centered literature classroom.

Because our medium allows for collaboration, we encourage contributors and users to communicate with each other for the benefit of each other, our students, and the field.

Since we are just getting started, I’d invite people to contact me directly &lt;davinheckman [at] gmail.com&gt; and I will give you a login name and password so we can get to work…

CCS Blog

Mark Marino has announced the inauguration of the Critical Code Studies  blog, a forum for resources, discussion, and demonstrations of the interpretation of computer code. This promises to be a key resource for understanding current movements in critical code theory.  Of particular interest is the offering of a CCS Methodology: a set of reading practices, grounded in both the technical and social contexts of code generation.  I’m looking forward to seeing how this promising forum develops.