Many of the stories that appear in this collection attempt to work within normal literary conventions, although the means of publication is nontraditional. Others take advantage of the Web's graphic abilities to combine their literary voice with an artistic vision. Steve Seebol's "Very Short Stories," for example, mixes scanned photos with graphic manipulation and terse wit. The result is a cartoon-like piece slightly farther out than Gary Larsen's "The Far Side." Mark Napier's entry, "Negative Space," consists of sample images from his ongoing attempt to scan his entire apartment, object by object. Only a few of the works take their very substance from the forms of cybercommunication--among them the work "Flux," which is created by a variety of artists and relies on the way words and symbols appear on-screen for its impact. Another example is Duane Day's satirical "Music Appreciation Flow Chart," which lets Grateful Dead fans determine their opinions on any music without having to think.
Most of the works are introduced with snippets of e-mail from the creators to the editors, giving additional glimpses into the artists' voices and thoughts. Asher and Crumlish have made it a point to present a wide variety of voices, styles, and points of view. The works range from intentionally crude to well-polished and from tragic to comic. The only thing the artists involved have in common is their use of the Web as a means of presenting their literary efforts. As a result, you're bound to have a variety of responses to the diverse works here.
For those who want to jump into the online creative scene, Asher and Crumlish provide two great appendices that tell you how to find good writing on the Web and how to write for the Web yourself. -- Elizabeth Lewis