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Photos of Kathryn Cramer's "In Small & Large Pieces"
Photos of the packaging of Kathyrn Cramer's "In Small & Large Pieces"
Kathryn Cramer’s In Small & Large Pieces was published by Eastgate Systems in the summer of 1994. This section is intended to supplement the reader with the material aspects of the work by providing images and detailed descriptions of the folio, booklet, and floppy disks.
Both In Small & Large Pieces and Kathy Mac’s Unnatural Habitats share a 9 x 6 inch folio. The folio is in fairly good condition, as it is still clearly readable despite the softening of the edges and slight cracks in the heavy card stock. Both the Macintosh and Windows floppy disks are contained inside. The booklet contains a large tear in the back, but the rest of the booklet is in good condition.
The folio cover displays the titles for In Small & Large Pieces and Unnatural Habitats in red at the top and bottom respectively. Above each of these titles are the authors’ names in white. The black folio with bold, red and white lettering sets an ominous tone for Cramer’s dark fantasy, which is aided by visuals of splayed hands desperately reaching for each other. It should be noted that one of the sixteen hands is red, possibly signifying how the user must choose which links (or “hands”) to grasp. Each of these hands are contained within alternating black and white cells, which are irregular square-like polygons with two edges pointed up and down on opposite corners, one normal corner at a right angle, and one chopped off corner. The hands are always the opposite of their cell color (excluding the red hand, which is placed on a black cell.) The total size of this graphic measures approximately 4 inches on each side, with each cell approximately 1 inch in length and width. The words “Eastgate Quarterly Review of Hypertext” stretches along the top of the front cover in red with a thin white underline. Smaller white text underneath and aligned to the left reads “Volume 1, Number 3,” while text on the right reads “for Macintosh & Windows.” Additionally, text beneath each of these are present with a thin white line stretching across the folio between them: “Summer, 1994” on the left and “$19.95” on the right. The very bottom of the cover provides a review from The Wall Street Journal: “‘Eastgate [is] the pre-eminent hyperfiction publisher.’ —The Wall Street Journal.” A thin white line separates this review from the rest of the content above it. A sticker placed near the bottom left reads “Property of Katherine Hayles.”
The back of the folio uses the same color scheme as the cover, using white and red text over a solid black background. The two titles with author’s names are displayed near the top (In Small & Large Pieces) and the bottom (Unnatural Habitats) of the folio with summaries underneath. The summaries for each are as follows:
Kathryn Cramer [Written in white]
In Small and Large Pieces [Written in red]
Paragraph 1 [The following paragraphs are printed in white]
In Small & Large Pieces is a postmodern Through the Looking Glass. This dark fantasy starts and ends at the same horrific moment. Obsessive fragmentation returns the reader to phrases, poems, hand written notes, and strange images that merge with text to illuminate this moment of shattered self.
Paragraph 2 [Paragraphs 2 through 6 are reviews written in smaller text than paragraphs 1 and 7]
“Dazzling, knife-edged fragments that are quick-witted, arresting, and deeply felt. Reflected in these shards we find desire, fear, sex, delusion, sibling terrorism, some lovely bad poems, and the awesome Grand Unified Parent. Cramer enacts Alice for the real world, where trying to pass through the mirror tends to leave one cut up or cut apart. Somehow, the traumatized bits will re-unite, however — that is the enchanter’s trick called hypertext, or maybe we should just call it surviving. Whatever the name, Kathryn Cramer clearly has a fine grasp of the art.” — Stuart Moulthrop, author of Victory Garden
“Between exhilarating perversity and its canny exploitation of the hypertext medium, In Small & Large Pieces offers a reading experience quite unlike any currently available on the planet.” — James Morrow, author of Towing Jehovah
“[Kathryn Cramer writes] things no sane human being can understand.” — Bruce Sterling, Short Form
“Kathryn Cramer’s bizarre short story In Small and Large Pieces… is a tale of a psychotic sister and her suicidal brother that is ably served by e-fiction’s use of hypertext.” — James Daly, San Francisco Chronicle
“Cramer has deconstructed the novel (shards of Caroll, Joyce and the Splatterpunks) most originally and invites us to look over pieces, small and large. There’s everything the modern reader could want, including an erotic unicorn ride, a messy divorce, a quarrel, a bubble bath ad a murder. And for the medically inclined, there is the most gruesome reconciliation sequence since Reanimator. Highly recommended!” — Terry Bisson, author of Bears Discover Fire
Kathryn Cramer grew up in Seattle and lives in New York and Boston. She is a winner of the World Fantasy Award, and has edited numerous anthologies.
Kathy Mac [Written in white]
Unnatural Habitats [Written in red]
Paragraph 1 [Aligned on the right side of the title and author’s name]
Just a blanket made out of pieces
From an army uniform
Khaki shirt fronts and sleeves, cuffs and collars
Painstakingly and obsessively
Picked apart at the seams
Reduced to random shapes
Composed of linked poems and paths of reading that trace through the work as a whole, Unnatural Habitats weaves together the poetry of twelve unnatural habitats -- primitive submarines, crippled spaceships, basement apartments -- and the women and men who live in them.
Kathy Mac’s poetry and short fiction have appeared in CV2, The Antigonish Review, The New Quarterly, Fireweed, Poets ‘88, Germination, PRISM International, The Pottersfield Portfolio, The Northern Red Oak, Atlantis, and Acta Victoria. She lives in Ketch Harbour, Nova Scotia.
The top of the back of the folio reads “The Eastgate Quarterly Review of Hypertext” in red with a thin white underline, occupying three quarters of the uppermost portion on the left side. The fourth quarter contains a smaller version of the image of hands that is displayed on the front cover (1 inch and 11 centimeters on each side.) Small text in white beneath the Eastgate title read “Volume 1, Number 3” on the left and “Summer, 1994” on the right. The bottom portion of the back folio reads “For Windows™ and Macintosh.™ Requires 2 MB RAM and a hard disk drive. Underneath this on the left side is Eastgate’s logo, which is a brick wall with an ornate passageway in white outlines. To the right of the logo reads the following:
Eastgate Systems INC [Each letter in INC are arranged like a staircase, with I in the top left, N underneath it in the center, and C in the bottom right.]
134 Main Street
Watertown, MA 02172
To the right of the logo and corporation information is the ISBN number, printed in a white box and displayed as bar code. The ISBN number is recorded on the left side of the box as “ISBN 1-884511-15-5.” The main sections of the back folio are separated with thin white lines, with a white line above and below the Unnatural Habitats summary.
The spine contains white text with a black background. The far left of the spine reads “The Eastgate Quarterly Review of Hypertext”, though the first word is difficult to read due to the softening and splitting of the folio’s upper-left corner. The center-left says “Kathryn Cramer” and the center-right says “Kathy Mac.” The far right reads “Eastgate Systems, Inc.”, but the bottom left corner of the folio is softened.
Folio, Inside, Opened
The Folio’s interior contains black text with a creamy white background. A pocket on the left-hand side is used to contain floppy disks, while the right pocket contains the booklet. The left-hand side provides the copyright information for In Small and Large Pieces and Unnatural Habitats, and an advertisement for the Eastgate Quarterly Review. The right side displays an advertisement for the Storyspace hypertext authoring system.
Floppy Disk #1, Macintosh, Front
The Macintosh 3 ½” floppy disk has a black casing and contains both In Small & Large Pieces and Unnatural Habitats. A white label lays over the front of the disk and partially wraps around the back. On the label in burgundy text is written “The Eastgate Quarterly Review of Hypertext” with a burgundy underline. Beneath this underline on the left and right sides read “Volume 1, Number 3” and “Summer, 1994” respectively. Near the center of the label are the titles and authors’ names side-by-side, with “for Macintosh” placed underneath and center. A thick red band separates the bottom portion of the label with “SERIOUS HYPERTEXT from” written on top. Eastgate’s logo lies on the left-hand side after the band, outlined in burgundy, with the corporation information on the right.
Floppy Disk #1, Macintosh, Back
The label on the back of the Macintosh floppy disk reads in burgundy “Copyright © 1993-94 by Eastgate Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized distribution or sale of this material is expressly prohibited.
Floppy Disk #2, Windows, Front
The Windows 3 ½” floppy disk has a white casing, and the label is the same as the first floppy except that “for Macintosh” has been replaced with “for Windows.” As before, a white label lays over the front of the disk and partially wraps around the back. On the label in burgundy text is written “The Eastgate Quarterly Review of Hypertext” with a burgundy underline. Beneath this underline on the left and right sides read “Volume 1, Number 3” and “Summer, 1994” respectively. Near the center of the label are the titles and authors’ names side-by-side. A thick red band separates the bottom portion of the label with “SERIOUS HYPERTEXT from” written on top. Eastgate’s logo lies on the left-hand side after the band, outlined in burgundy, with the corporation information on the right.
Floppy Disk #2, Windows, Back
As with the Macintosh floppy, the label on the back of the Windows floppy disk reads in burgundy “Copyright © 1993-94 by Eastgate Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized distribution or sale of this material is expressly prohibited.”
The front cover of the booklet has the same design as the front of the folio, though it is black and white and smaller in size due to the booklet being 5 ½” by 8 ½”. The booklet is printed on paper stock, which is slightly shredded in places.
Booklet, License Agreement, Warranty and Disclaimer, and Copyright & Page 1
Within the booklet on the left side, the software license agreement, limited warranty and disclaimer, and copyright information can be found. Quarterly installation instructions for the Macintosh are placed on page one.
Booklet, Pages 2 & 3
Page 2 provides installation instructions for Quarterly in Windows. Page 3 contains the dedication and acknowledgements for Kathryn Cramer’s In Small & Large Pieces.
Booklet, Pages 4 & 5
Pages four and five cover the reading instructions for In Small & Large Pieces, teaching users keyboard shortcuts (such as using the RETURN key to progress through sections, or hitting both the Command and Option keys simultaneously to reveal hyperlinked texts.) It is explained that though the instructions are meant for the Macintosh, the Windows version will follow the same principals. Page 5 also includes pictures of the icons for various tools, such as the “back up” and “browse” tools, while Page 4 provides an image of the In Small and Large Pieces icon.
Booklet, Pages 6 & 7
Page 6 describes the links within In Small & Large Pieces, recommending that the reader “explore the text as you would a swimming pool: dive in and swim around.” It also reiterates the use of the RETURN key and links as different ways of navigating the text. Page 7 reads “Kathy Mac” with “Unnatural Habitats” underneath, introducing the reader to the second work.
The back of the booklet is blank, with a large tear along the bottom where a strip of tape holds it together.
Essay on Kathryn Cramer's "In Small & Large Pieces"
An essay that provides scholarly information about Essay on Kathryn Cramer's "In Small & Large Pieces"
Kathryn Cramer's In Small & Large Pieces was published by Eastgate Systems, Inc. in The Eastgate Quarterly Review of Hypertext (EQRH) Volume 1, Number 3, Summer 1994. Bundled with Kathy Mac's Unnatural Habitats, it is packaged in the cardboard portfolio that the company had begun to use after abandoning the original vinyl folio. Published on two 3.5-inch floppy disks, one for each the Macintosh and PC computer, the work was produced with Storyspace 1.08 and used 875K. At the time it cost $19.95 to purchase. It remains today one of the works published by Eastgate Systems, Inc. that was never upgraded to CD-ROM or the current flash drive technology. Unlike Unnatural Habitats, In Small & Large Pieces came bundled with a folder that included various sizes and styles of Palatino and Futura fonts, which the work makes good use of in its presentation. The Electronic Literature Lab owns two copies of the work, one of which was donated by N. Katherine Hayles and the other purchased by Dene Grigar.
Navigation & Structure
Upon launching In Small & Large Pieces, readers find the story contains 513 spaces, or lexias, and 2625 links. The lexias feature both narrative writing and poetry. The title screen, which appears after the work loads, introduces the reader to a black and white ASCII image of Alice in Wonderland with a bit of color––blue in the title and red in the author's name. Storyspace hypertexts, particularly those produced for the Macintosh environments, began to incorporate color after the release of the LCII and Macintosh Color Classic, which occurred in 1992 and 1993, respectively. This essay accessed the work with a computer contemporary to these, the Macintosh Performa 5215CD, in production from 1992-1997.
Clicking on this screen takes the reader to a quote by E.M. Forster from Aspects of the Novel, which addresses––along with character, setting, plot, and other literary elements––fantasy, appropriate to a story that draws upon Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass. To navigate sequentially along a predetermined path, readers can simply hit the return key, a strategy that literary artist and theorist, Michael Joyce, called "the wave of returns" ("Preface").  To move non-sequentially, readers can double-click words highlighted in red and blue in a lexia or by holding down the OPT + CMD key––what was called the Tinkle and Bell keys.  The Tinker Bell keys are required to interact with the images featured in the story. For example, the lexia, entitled "eye," presents readers with an image of an eye containing an image map divided into eight sections, each hyperlinked to a unique lexia. Simply mousing over the image does not evoke a link; one must use the OPT + CMD keys to access them. Likewise, the image on the title screen contains 10 possible paths readers can follow in the story, plus two more about the publisher and author.
Cramer's hypertext novel is structured as six chapters. They include:
- Chapter 1: The Effect of Living Backwards
- Chapter 2: Injury & Breakage
- Chapter 3: Anna, Phantomwise
- Chapter 4: The Unified Parent
- Chapter 5: Scrambled Eggs
- Chapter 6: The Mirror Shattered
In the mirror
You saw what happened
All three chased me
You broke it
Each of these eight lines are also hyperlinks that take readers to lexias of the same name. "Another moment" goes to the lexia "Another moment" and reads "In another moment Anna was gone." Each of these six words are each hyperlinked to a unique lexia, which like the previous phrases, is named for the hyperlinks.
The plot focuses on the conflict between the Miller siblings Anna, Martin, and Annabelle, and between their parents, Norma and Martin. Readers meet the siblings in Chapter 1 in the midst of a squabble over a broken mirror. Annabelle, Anna's twin, appears in the story often "hiding under her bed" ("Doing something awful"). Italicized words in lexias like "I remember 2" represent Anna's thoughts. Readers learn Anna views Martin as cruel. Red blood on a chard of the mirror and "something red" ("Still crying, Annabelle") on Annabelle's dress reflects the violence she reports to experience at his hands. Martin's vulgar language––he calls his sister a "bitch"––adds credibility to her perspective. The presence of the mirror and the allusion to Carroll's novel, however, complicate a simple reading of the story. We learn, for example, that Anna initiated the fight by "punch[ing]" her brother ("It was addressed to me"). In the broken mirror Anna sees a "commingled" image of Martin and her. Hints at sexual abuse emerge when readers are told that the altercation between sister and brother take place while Anna is "dressed only in a green towel" ("Full length mirror 3").
The opening poem in Chapter 2 suggests Martin "[d]oing something awful" that she could not stop because "[h]e outweighed her." Readers learn more about the sisters: Despite their difference in appearance, they, like a mirror reflection, "had the same glazed fragility" and, so, were "a matched set" ("It was bad enough"). Anna doesn't like her mother Norma and wishes to be different, more "original" ("Like her"), "smirk[ing] at the thought of the woman being named for her father Norman ("She got the mail"). The problem with both parents, Anna believes, was that they "were under an enchantment" ("Under an enchantment"), a "spell" cast upon them by their Aunt Melba ("Under 5"). The Atheist magazine sent by mail to Anna's mother motivates the girl to write a poem centering on women's rights and a rule by "Gynarchy" ("Nestled 2"). Frustrated with her output, she returns to writing "erotic poetry" ("Nestled 3"). Despite Anna's protectiveness toward her twin, Anna expresses jealousy about the attention Annabelle shows Karl, a Morman boy in which Anna is also interested ("It was a lie 2") and has sex with after school ("Blue light"). Sibling violence mirror the violence in their parents' marriage ("The three 3") that spills out to the children, leading them "to conceal minor injury and breakage" ("Injury and breakage"). Later, "a creepy man" tells Anna that "Karl had been making passes at him" ("A son-of-a-bitch"), which later Karl does not deny to Anna ("She went 2"). The accusation, however, does not stop the two from having sex "[a]s usual . . . in the bed next to the washing machine in his basement room" ("She went 3"). Anna catches Annabelle's face watching "through the glass" and "'[feels] viciously triumphant" over the experience ("She went 5"). When Karl discovers that Annabelle had seen them, he "punched [Anna] in the stomach as hard as he could" ("Expecting someone?") and "shoves her" ("He grabbed her arm").
Chapter 3 entitled "Anna, Phantomwise," contains only three lexias, the first two of which are poems Anna has written. The first lexia is written backwards: "?dream but it is what, life, gleam golden the lingering stream the down drifting Ever" ("?dream but it is what"). Anna, readers puzzle out, is "haunt[ed] . . . [s]till." Allusions to a "boy slain" and a "brother" who "dies" speak to the death and violence alluded to in this lexia and the next, "Aaaaa and Anna." The final lexia quotes Alice from Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, shifting the scene from the poem Anna writes to Anna's view of it: "It seems very pretty," she said when she had finished it, "but it is rather hard than to understand."
Readers find Anna returning to her house in Chapter 4, and discovering "blood" and Annabelle's toe, a "small gray-white lump with a toenail attached" ("Anna came in the back"). Anna sews the toe back on her sister and cleans up the blood ("Anna got some ice"). The story shifts to a past violent event when Anna had "force[d] her finger down [Martin's] throat . . . and . . . force-fed him lumps of charcoal from the fireplace" ("Brutality and comfort 2") as a way of saving his life after his suicide attempt ("Brutality and comfort 3"). Such moments did little to unify the parents emotionally though they did bring them together in violence:
"For each parent there was a torso
(moving in and out as though breathing,
though there were no passages for air), two
pieces and a foot for each leg, two pieces
and a hand for each arm, and of course a
head and neck which were all one piece." ("Here parents were there")
While they fought Anna "banged [Martin's] head against the toilet seat" to force him to "submit" to her ministrations ("The pieces would keep 2") and later "tied him, hand and foot, to the bedposts" to keep him from trying to kill himself again ("Lumps of coal").
The parents' fight had caused them to "come apart" and require Anna to reassemble them. The suggestion at this point is that there were many other times Anna had to help her parents so that she had "[e]ventually . . . developed a strategy: legs first, then arms, then re-attach the legs to the torso, then the arms and, finally, the heads" ("The first time"). Against this backdrop is Anna's memory of a spaghetti dinner she made, her family seated at the table, her father saying "grace" at "the head of the table," and "warm colors of the wallpaper" and a "glass of milk" making "everything" so "ordinary" ("Spaghetti dinner 3"). But then the story takes readers back to the day when the Martin cut off Annabelle's toe and the sight of Anna's repair on her sister's foot caused their parents to "immediately [fall] apart" ("Of course"). This time Anna sutured them together like a "artificial Siamese twins" so that they "would never fall apart again" ("A new difficulty"). Dressing the "unified parent" was challenging, so Anna and Annabelle "wrapped it in blue and green flowered bedsheets" ("A new difficulty 4"). This strategy did not, however, stop the parents from continuing with their fight ("The unified parent"). Giving up, the girls steal off to read "The Jabberwock" from Through the Looking-Glass ("A story").
Chapter 5 contains nine lexias that focus on Anna and Annabella. They are alone in the house, getting dressed and eating scrambled eggs together. From all appearances, it is a mundane day, filled with the daily routine of getting ready for and going to school. The "fog" and "overcast" sky along with the strange appearance of Annabelle's room with its "unmade bed" and "bedclothes" that "looked enormous, out of proportion to the rest of the room" are ominous omens.
Readers return to the violence of the novel's opening in Chapter 6 with the encyclopedia hitting and "shatter[ing]" the "mirror" ("The encyclopedia hit"). Anna again stoops to clean it up, remembering the event. Picking up the mirror, she again sees herself and Martin. After Martin leaves to tattle on Anna to their mother, Anna looks again in the mirror and sees "no one." She starts to "melt away, just like a bright silvery mist" ("Anna thought"). The final lexia of the story is the first one readers encounter: "In another moment Anna was gone" ("In another moment").
There are two ways to read this hypertext. First, reading it sequentially allows for a coherent narrative framed by Anna's disappearance, a mirroring effect that emphasizes the phantasy world she encounters and then vanishes from. Second, read non-sequentially through the hyperlinks––many of which are not accessible by hitting the return key––underscores the horror inherent in the work. Clicking on one of the three hyperlinks found on image of the eye on the title page can take readers to a lexia called "white lace" featuring an image of young girl with a butterfly on her face. The innocence in the image––the butterfly represents hope and rebirth in Western literary tradition––belies the violence found in the story. Associated with this image are 15 hyperlinks. Clicking on one of them can take readers to a lexia called "kittens" that reads ". . . impersonal violence . . . ." Once again the juxtaposition of innocence and harsh experience is evoked. "Violence" is hyperlinked to the lexia that reads: "In situations like this, brutality and comfort become one and the same" ("Brutality and comfort"). "Same" takes readers to the scene, mentioned previously, where Anna forces charcoal down Martin's throat in order to save him from dying. Thus, readers may not encounter characters or plot until they have worked through numerous foreboding lexias. This structure, thus, breaks down the story literally into its own "small and large pieces" that readers need to suture in order to make sense of it.
The work gained notice early in its publication. Cramer, known for her work with science fiction, was interviewed by Harry Goldstein for Alt-X, the reigning journal for the avant-garde, where she names, along with Carroll's novel, The Shining and MC Escher among her influences. The novel also received excellent reviews from the Utne Reader, the San Francisco Chronicle, and sci-fi writer Bruce Sterling.
Those familiar with Shelley Jackson's Patchwork Girl, may be struck by references to stitching, sewing, and suturing in Cramer's work. Though the publication date for In Small & Large Pieces precedes Jackson's by a year, the concept of pulling together fragments of text had been in the air since George Landow's book Hypertext as well as other works about hypertext that appeared during the early to mid-1990's. What is interesting are the differences in the way the various authors executed that that theme their work.
 See Michael Joyce, "Preface," afternoon: a story," Eastgate Systems, Inc. Grigar references this term in her essay, "Rhapsodic Textualities," Digital Media & Textuality: From Creation to Archiving, Daniela Cortes Maduro, Verlag, 2017, p. 20.
 The use of this terminology came from Storyspace creators Michael Joyce and Jay David Bolter and was reported to be Apple Developer slang. Grigar learned the term in 1991 in a graduate course she took from Nancy Kaplan, a close friend and collaborator of Joyce and Bolter. During this pre-Web period prior to the ubiquitous blue underlined hyperlinks, the Tinkle Bell keys would evoke a box around words or phrases to denote a hyperlink was present. Thus, the keys may have received the name because something magical, a hyperlink, happened when one used them together. See Dene Grigar's chapter, "The Archives Pertaining to Bill Bly," in Stuart Moulthrop and Dene Grigar's Traversals: The Use of Preservation for Early Electronic Writing, The MIT Press, p. 247.