The New Fiction Technologies

Interactivity, Agency and Digital Narratology


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About the Book

The Internet has fundamentally altered our perceptions of narrative and its core components, including authorship, setting, characterization, reader reception and more. With new trends, tropes and conventions emerging at the speed of cyberspace, digital media like web comics, video games and fan fiction have become laboratories for experimentation on the boundaries of contemporary storytelling. While web comics, video games and fan fiction have received much scholarly study, this book focuses on the common ground they share, and how their processes, motivations and evolution may be more similar than we think. These media are all regarded as unique genres of digital fiction, and this book aims to bridge the gap between them. Understanding these phenomena as expressions of the same principles could be crucial to understanding the future of narrative storytelling.

About the Author(s)

Shawn Edrei, a teacher at Tel-Aviv University, is a researcher of digital narratology, exploring how new technologies change our perspectives on storytelling and authorship. An avid gamer and observer of online fandom dynamics he has written many essays and chapters on subjects ranging from superhero fiction to contemporary detective stories to interactive transmedia.

Bibliographic Details

Shawn Edrei

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 173
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7914-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4564-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Preface 1

A New Narratology for the Digital Age 3
Communication and the Implied Author 5
The Fictional World and Its Inhabitants 6
Time, Space and Plot 9
The Desire for Agency as a Guiding Principle of Digital Fiction 11

1. Fan Fiction
The Impetus and Methodologies of Fan Fiction 13
Competing Authorial Powers, Conflicting Implied Authors 19
Ontology, Metalepsis, and Storyworld Manipulation 27
New Genres, Sub-Genres, and Metafiction 37
Visual Mimesis and ­Re-Enactment in Fan Films 53
The Meaning(s) of Fan Fiction 61

2. Video Game Narratology
Technological Refinement Throughout the History of Video Games 63
Manipulation, Morality, and Multitextuality 69
Love, Death, and the Avatar 81
Navigating Reactive Spaces in Persistent Digital Worlds 93
Metafiction and Fan Fiction Apparatuses in Video Games 101
The Continuing Evolution of Diegetic Agency 107

3. Webcomics
Defining Webcomics in Opposition to Print 109
A History of Superhero Authorship and Reactivity 113
Unstable Atopias and Chronologically Fluid Characters 122
Webcomics as a Digital Reaction to Superhero Fiction 134
Embracing Subversion and Normalcy in the Infinite Canvas 148

4. A New Way of Framing the Pursuit of Interactivity and Agency 152

Bibliography 157
Index 163