Rebooting Electronic Literature Volume 3: Documenting Pre-Web Born Digital Media

Resources for Michael Joyce's "afternoon, a story"

Since its release in 1987 Michael Joyce's afternoon, a story has been the subject of many scholarly essays and critical reviews. Documented, below, are influential works that helped to shape the discourse surrounding the novel and, so, are important for further study of its reception, impact, and lasting legacy. For a fuller bibliography, see the entry for afternoon, a story at Also included are documents that may help those who wish to pursue further study of this work.

Writings by the Author

Bolter, Jay David and Michael Joyce. "Hypertext and Creative Writing." ACM Hypertext '87 Papers. November 1987. 41-50.

Joyce, Michael. Of Two Minds: Hypertext Pedagogy and Poetics. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1995.

---. Othermindedness: The Emergence of Network Culture. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2000.

---. "Siren Shapes: Exploratory and Constructive Hypertexts." Academic Computing 3 (4): 10-14, 37-42.


Aarseth, Espen. Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997.

Barnet, Belinda. Memory Machines: The Evolution of Hypertext. NY, NY: Anthem, 2014.

Bell, Alice, Astrid Ensslin, and Hans Kristian Rustad. Analyzing Digital Fiction. NY, NY: Routledge Press, 2014.

Bernstein, Mark. "Patterns of Hypertext." Hypertext '98: Proceedings of the Ninth ACM  conference on Hypertext and Hypermedia. Ed. Frank Shipman, Elli Mylonas, and Kaj Groenback. NY, NY: ACM. Reprinted,

Bolter, Jay David. Writing Space: The Computer, Hypertext, and the History of Writing. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1991.

Douglas, J Yellowlees. The End of Books—Or Books Without End: Reading Interactive Narratives. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2000.

---. "'How Do I Stop This Thing?': Closure and Indeterminacy in Interactive Narratives." Hyper / Text / Theory. Ed. George P. Landow. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994. 159-188.

Engberg, Maria. "Born Digital: Writing Poetry in the Age of New Media." PhD Dissertation. Uppsala University, 2007.

Ensslin, Astrid. Canonizing Hypertext: Explorations and Constructions. NY, NY: Continuum, 2007. 69-74.

Harpold, Terence. "Conclusions." Hyper / Text / Theory. Ed. George P. Landow. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994. 189-222.

---. Exfoliations: Reading Machines and the Upgrade Path. Minneapolis, MN: The University of Minnesota Press, 2009. 175-208.

Hayles, N. Katherine. Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2008.

Kirschenbaum, Matthew G. "Editing the Interface: Textual Studies and First Generation Electronic Objects." Text 14 (2002): 15-51.

---. Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2008.

Moulthrop, Stuart. "Traveling in the Breakdown Lane: A Principle of Resistance for Hypertext." Mosiac: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature 28.4, 1995. 55-77.

---. "You Say You Want a Revolution? Hypertext and the Laws of Media." Postmodern Culture 1.3, 1991.

Murray, Janet. Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace. NY, NY: The Free Press, 1997.

Ryan, Marie-Laure. Avatars of Story. Minneapolis, MN: The University of Minnesota Press, 2006. 126-147.

Rettberg, Jill Walker. "Electronic Literature Seen from a Distance: The Beginnings of a Field." Dichtung Digital 41.

---. "Piecing together and tearing apart: finding the story in afternoon." Reading Hypertext. Ed. Mark Bernstein and Diane Greco. Watertown, MA: Eastgate Systems, Inc., 21-34.


Coover, Robert. "The End of Books." The New York Times Book Review. 21 June 1992. Online:

---. "And Hypertext Is Only the Beginning. Watch Out!" The New York Times. August 1993, section 7, 8-9. Online:

Goldstein, Harry. "Review of afternoon, a story." Utne Reader, March-April, 1994, pp. 131-132.

Grant, Richard. "Never the Same Text Twice." Washington Post Book World, July 11, 1993. 8-9.

McCorduck. Pamela. Whole Earth Review. No. 70 Spring 1991: 101.


"A Comparison of Six Editions of Michael Joyce's afternoon, a story"
This comparison was undertaken by Dene Grigar in preparation for the exhibition and event, "An Afternoon with afternoon." Using vintage computers from her lab and original copies of the novel, she conducts a reading of the work across the 3rd, 4th, 7th, 10th, 11th, and 12th editions, tracking structural differences among them.

"Editions of afternoon, a story At-A-Glance"
This document, created by Dene Grigar in preparation for the exhibition, “An afternoon with afternoon,” provides a detailed yet concise overview of the differences among the 13 editions of Michael Joyce's afternoon, a story.

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