Rebooting Electronic Literature, Volume 2: Documenting Pre-Web Born Digital Media

Deena Larsen's "Samplers"

Deena Larsen's Biography

Deena Larsen began working in hypertext before she knew what hypertext was. The original version of Marble Springs was composed on a shower curtain using threads of yarn to link poems, narratives, characters, and locations. Larsen notes that “To understand the people, the culture, the times, requires understanding intricate webs of connections.” The increasingly intricate webs of connections led her from the shower curtain to Hypercard and from there on to Storyspace, Wikis, HTML, and other methods of using links to construct a structure on which to hang meaning.

Larsen has an B.A. in English and Logic from Northern Colorado University. She was awarded best senior thesis award in 1986 for “Nansense Ya Snorsted: A logical look at nonsense”. In 1991 Larsen earned her M.A. from the University of Colorado in English. In addition to a career as a technical writer with the Bureau of Reclamation, Larsen also has long history mentoring and teaching writers about hypertext and structured linking in literature through workshops, organized online chats, and in the classroom. Larsen collected and published her pedagogical approach to teaching electronic literature in the textbook: *Fun da mentals: Rhetorical Devices for Electronic Literature*.

As a creator of hypertexts, Larsen has authored over thirty works that include the hypertext narrative, Marble Springs; the collection of hypertext stories, Samplers: Nine Vicious Little Hypertexts; as well as many other works including “Firefly," “The Language of the Void,” and “Ferris Wheels." Larsen’s work has appeared in key electronic literature publication venues such as Eastgate Systems, Inc, The Iowa Review Web, Poems that Go, Riding the Meridian, and Word Circuits Gallery.

Versions of Samplers

✭ Version 1.0: Samplers: Nine Vicious Little Hypertexts for Floppy Disk for Macintosh, copyrighted in 1997
Version 1.1: 3.5-inch floppy disk for Macintosh

✭ Version 2.0: Samplers: Nine Vicious Little Hypertexts for Floppy Disk for PC, copyrighted in 1997
Version 2.1: 3.5-inch floppy disk for PC

✭ Version 3.0: Samplers: Nine Vicious Little Hypertexts for CD-ROM, copyrighted in 1997
Version 3.1: For Macintosh System Software 7.x-OS 10.6 and PCs running Windows 3.0 and Windows 95
Critical References

Bernstein, Mark. “Patterns of Hypertext.” Proceedings of the Ninth ACM Conference on Hypertext and Hypermedia. HYPERTEXT ’98, ACM Press, 1998, pp. 21–29. Available at

Ensslin, Astrid, and Alice Bell. “‘Click = Kill’: Textual You in Ludic Digital Fiction.” Storyworlds: A Journal of Narrative Studies, vol. 4, 2012, pp. 49–73. Available at

Tosca, Susana. "Review of Deena Larsen's Samplers". Hipertula. N.D.

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