Thursday, December 17, 2009

'e' Literature - The Future of Reading?


(Early this morning Ian Harper the CEO of BradField Productions, left a kind comment at the bottom of this piece correcting several omissions. BradField Productions is the Producer of author Kate Pullingers' 'Inanimate Alice' an "Interactive Narrative" multi-media novel. The Interactive Narrative is a new form of story telling that creates a revolutionary new experience for the reader.
I think this is an important new form, the tip of the iceberg of what story telling will become in many kinds of media
in the near future.
In my take below - by missing the producers behind the stories - I missed the story, the importance of new forms that are disrupting old ways humans communicate and grow culture.
I also missed pointing you to Kate Pullingers' web site, where the novel is in progress. Parts 1 through 4 are done and available here; parts 5 through 10 are in production. Kate Pullinger also has a facebook page.
So - as I badly missed my own point here - I intend to write another piece, specifically on this new story form being spearheaded by Ian Harper and BradField Productions, "The Interactive Narrative", coming soon.

Michael Holloway
December 17, 2009)


Tonight I watched "Empire of the Word - The Future of Reading", broadcast on TVOntario, the Provincial Public Broadcaster known 'round here as TVO. You can watch the entire series hosted by the great linguist Alberto Manguel, online at This is a link to Episode One.

Episode Four is the forth and final chapter of the series. Tonights was a journey into the very near future, e-books, the Google Books Project, iPod, the Kindle; a view just over the horizon, the future of reading.

One of the most interesting elements in tonights show was a project I hadn't heard of before but that has been in production since 2005 called the Electronic Literature Collection.

This years winner of The Governor General’s Award for Fiction, Kate Pullinger (for The Mistress of Nothing) is the author of one of the electronic interactive narratives. A 'flash story book' for children or young adults called "Inanimate Alice". It was featured in tonights "Empire of the Word", and it sent me diving for my keyboard.

The 'over leaf' says,
"This narrative, produced in Flash, follows a young girl whose life is mediated by technology during a day of family unrest when her father is lost..."
The story is interactive and has a sound track only a young person could love. In several places the story doesn't have the >> icon that means 'turn the page', instead your asked to solve a puzzle - when done - it's on to the next page. Music and pop-up windows establishes place, time of day and the feel of driving in the desolate bush country of oil rich northern China.

At the link below, "" is creating a collection of 'Electronic Literature'. In the upper left and right-hand corners on the page are black icons, story titles to go backwards or forwards, to more e-literature.

Here's some screen shots that will peak your interest. Episode one for the Electronic Literature Collection is at, Inanimate Alice, Episode 1: China by Kate Pullinger and electronic artist, Chris Joseph. Bradfield Productions has the series so far at 'Inanimate Alice'.
(Right click ---> open in new tab, for a full screen view.)



  1. Hi Michael,

    Thanks for your welcome comments about 'Inanimate Alice.' I should just like to point out that although Episode 1 of the series is available on the Electronic Literature Collection, it is also available directly on-line for free.

    Here you will find the four episodes we have produced so far. Teachers, particularly teachers in training and new-service teachers, find the free Education Packs very helpful in creating lessons around the series. Some teachers like to get their students to create their own episodes and ask them to tell what happens next.

    I hope you enjoy the rest of the series.

    Best wishes,

    Ian Harper - Producer
    The BradField Company

  2. Thank you for the correction and I'm sorry, I tend to rush to publish. I should have checked a little deeper.

    I've just gone to the link you provided through your name above; I see my mistake. I'll correct the piece in an update as soon as possible.

    Yours truly,
    Michael Holloway