The Electronic Labyrinth

Hopscotch as a Hyperbook

It is informative to consider how Hopscotch might differ if it was implemented as an electronic text. On a computer, each chapter would be a node, linked to the following chapter. At the beginning of the novel, the reader would choose between the two paths; subsequently, each reading would appear linear. No further choices would be required; no indication of the intertwining of chapters would be apparent. There would be no anchors, no internal links. In short, there would be little indication that Hopscotch was a hypertext at all.

The novel, then, must be a paper hypertext. Much of its structural power is derived from the tension between Cortázar's devices and our expectations of a novel. The actual experience of reading this book depends on having to physically search through the pages for the next chapter in sequence. Along the way, one flips through text one has never seen, text to be read later, text that perhaps will never be reached. On a computer, this process is rendered instantaneous, and is hence insignificant.

© 1993-2000 Christopher Keep, Tim McLaughlin, Robin Parmar.
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