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Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace Paperback – August 27, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0262631877 ISBN-10: 0262631873 Edition: 0th

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Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace + The Functions of Role-Playing Games: How Participants Create Community, Solve Problems and Explore Identity + Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (August 27, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262631873
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262631877
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #182,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Technology changes storytelling--movies don't tell stories in the same manner as wandering bards. Janet H. Murray, director of the Laboratory for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is fascinated with the changes emerging technologies may bring. Interactive tales, more versatile structures, stories as games, and games as stories are among the topics she explores in her very personable and entertaining style. And what about fears that interactive escapism could be the coming addiction? She makes an unblinking examination of this question with insight into both the technological possibilities and the strengths of the human psyche. Strongly recommended for anyone who loves the art of storytelling in any medium. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

There's something a bit threatening and yet more than a little thrilling about the idea central to Murray's work: Can we already be at the cusp of a bona fide new medium of communication, one that will marry the power of the narrative with the vast capabilities of the computer? Murray, a longtime humanities computing guru at MIT, insists that we are, convincing us that the attraction of writers for cyperspace is as irresistible as it is persistent. Already, she argues, numerous novelists, playwrights and filmmakers are poised for the move toward multiform stories, digital formats, and, of course, increased interactivity. Murray's ruminations are dramatic, compelling, and almost as hypnotic as drama itself, be it real (and steeped in tradition) or virtually imagined. Heartily recommended for scholars and all fanatics of the brave new world.?Geoff Rotunno, "Tri-Mix" Magazine, Goleta, Cal.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Kunde on April 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Great book that gives an thorough account of the structures that are given by the format of the digital media. You not only learn to analyse how digital storytelling works but also how it could and should migrate from the status quo to elevate itself onto the next literary level. To anybody who is interested in digital storytelling I recommend this book with all my heart.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
I'm writing a dissertation on postmodern literature and thus had the pleasure of considering this book as research. The truth of the matter is, that in the dull, dry world of books on narrative theory, this one was FUN! This is exactly the point- video games and Star Trek have EVERYTHING to do with the way narrative works today, (which Murray compares with the way it worked in Shakespeare's time,) and will work once the average American can no longer remember a time when video games had no graphics.

It's fun AND it shows how things are changing and how quickly.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
Some may find this terse, warmly witty, and tidy treatise about "whither literature in the world of CyberSpace" as just too esoteric to read. Stop. This is not a book grieving over the lost art of words and writing that nurtures the lives of all readers. This wise book is a guide to the possibilites that elude pessimists wary of the ultimate effects of the computer on this century. Relax, discover the possibilites about which you've never dreamed, and let Murray tell you some stories in the mode of the future. For writers, for teachers....but also for the committed readers. Enjoy!
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21 of 29 people found the following review helpful By skooly on February 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book came highly recommended to me. With all the hype surrounding its apparent genius I expected to be blown away. Sadly though, this book comes across as someone who has just played a video game for the first time (MYST) and decided that the kids might be on to something. Murray proclaims that one day in the distant future, they'll make a 'holodeck' and we'll finally have true immersion. In the mean time, we can gloss over all the interactive components that make such an experience compelling in the first place. The future of gaming/narratology/ludology whatever-you-want-to-call-it is already here. You don't need a "VR Suit" or some imaginary technology to have a truly immersive experience. Her woefully uninformed look at the games of her day are completely inexcusable:

"...interactors will be lured into worlds where they float, tumble, and arc through thrillingly coloured spaces, fly through imaginary clouds and swim lazily across welcoming mountain ponds. The nightmare landscape of the fighting maze, in which we feel imperiled may give way to enchanting worlds of increasingly refined visual dealight that are populated by evocative fairy-tale creatures."

At the time of this book's publishing (1997) games such as Jumping Flash, Mario 64, and Tomb Raider had already taken the world by storm. By reducing contemporary gaming to mindless, juvenile violence (while championing those themes in 'War & Peace', 'Hamlet' and 'Star Trek') Murray shows a complete lack of interest and imagination.

The heavy hand of narrative is not the only way to tell a story. We don't need a "cyberdramatist" the likes of a Dickens or a Shakespeare to show us the way.
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