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What is hypertext?
You know what it's like to read a story in a book that is printed on paper. You have to turn the page to find out what happens next. In fact you probably keep 'reading' most stories to find out what happens next. Someone might tell you a story. Or you may go to the movies or watch a video. Maybe you go to a play or listen to music. Or read a comic... One thing will be the same. All these 'stories' will seem to go in a line from the beginning to the middle to the end.

It's just like your teacher told you. Almost every story has a beginning, a middle...and an end.

Unless it's written on a computer. Then you get to explore the story in a different way.

Then you can click on hot text to discover a link to another part of the story. It might be...

  • more information
  • a choice to make
  • a surprise

Of course it doesn't have to be only words.

There could be sounds, pictures, movies, animations...all sorts of information presented in all sorts of ways. That's multimedia. Perhaps one day multimedia will have smells and taste and touch and you will be able to do things in virtual reality. But whatever it's made up from, the hypertext is the collection of all the different things (the texts) in it. This includes the links and the navigation tools that help you find your way around. A hypertext is like a complicated idea that you can explore and find out about--in a way that suits you.

This means that axel-and-alice is a hypertext fiction (or hyperfiction). It's like a big space, filled with words and images which you can click on to explore.

A hypertext can be authored by one person or by many. For instance, most of axel-and-alice is written by Peter Jerrim. But it might not necessarily stay that way. If you would like to contribute then email the author with your ideas.

If you want to read more complicated stuff about hypertext then try reading what Susan Tozer has to say.

Or perhaps you can read some of Axel's email.

One last thing.

Although axel-and-alice is a hypertext book, there are still plenty of stories in it where you need to 'turn the page' to find out what happens next. We haven't figured out how to get around that one yet. Although some people have some good ideas.

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