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

Traversal of M. D. Coverley's "Califia"

Marjorie C. Luesbrink (M. D. Coverley) gave a Traversal of her hypertext novel, Califia, on Tuesday, March 14, 2016 in the Electronic Literature Lab at Washington State University Vancouver. She performed on the Compaq PC running Windows 98 using the version of the work published on CD-ROM by Eastgate Systems, Inc.

Traversal of M. D. Coverley's Califia, Part 1

The video begins with M.D. Coverley’s introductory of Califia. She notes that the work was published in 2000 with Eastgate Systems and she shows the beta 1 version of Califia that was done in 1977. Next, she shows the 2.2 version that she produced in 1998 and also notes that the commercial version of Califia was published in 2000. The cover has pink, yellow, navy blue, and gold colors, which are also the colors of California. Coverley opens up Califia on the computer and the files for the work appear. Next, the title screen for Califia shows up and it matches the cover and she notes that the work has a lot to navigate through as it has 3000 screens, 2400 images, 30 soundtracks, and 6 architectures of different sections. She starts with the first section and mentions that “there’s sound accompanying many of the screens [and] the sounds are just as important as the images, text, and architectures [and] to the meaning of the story”. Coverley explains the first image and says she took the picture herself at Newport Beach. She added the footsteps onto the images and the footsteps will continue the entire manuscript. A single footstep will be a linear way to go straight through the manuscript without any hypertext. The next screen establishes The Voice of Augusta. The graphic of the house was the house that was owned by Coverley’s family in Hollywood in 1906. In the story, Augusta continues with her description of the dig in the backyard and Coverley notes that where Augusta digs are important because the elements of the mines across California are patterned in a different shape like the ones Augusta’s father had dug. On the next screen, it has The Voice of Calvin being established. A fellow searcher begins Augusta’s journey to find the treasure of Califia and the footsteps have now subsumed into a platform and there’s also a real ancient medieval navigation chart, which is also on the cover of the beta 2.2 version. Coverley clicks on “information about Califia” and it shows full disclaimer, audio credits, acknowledgements, and contact information. She notes that the music comes from several Californian artists who allowed her to use their sounds.

Traversal of M. D. Coverley's Califia, Part 2

Coverley continues her traversal through her work Califia. She returns to the previous screen after finishing reading through the acknowledgements. She clicks on “Follow me” and it takes her to the next screen. On the left hand side, it has a location bar, and the right hand side has a page bar. On the screen, it shows a message to the reader from the three narrators: Augustus, Kaye, and Calvin. She clicks “Follow me” again and the medieval navigation appears again and it talks about the journeys. Coverley notes that the reader is allowed to go in any of the four journeys or they can click on “Follow me” to find out about navigating Califia. She chooses to go to the navigation to see how it sets up the structure for the story of Califia. The next screen shows the road-head and it talks about the project. Coverley mentions that the medieval navigation runs counter-clockwise because the story moves both forward and backward in time. Solar Navigation is associated with Augusta, who does the chronological journey through each of the directions. Celestial Navigation is associated with Kaye, who likes widgets. Dead Reckoning is associated with Calvin, and it also provides a kitbag and it’s always available on any screen on “Path Name and Location”.

Traversal of M. D. Coverley's Califia, Part 3

As we progress through the work, Coverley notes that there’s information on how to navigate Califia because at the time, Coverley wasn’t sure if people were going to know how to follow the links. Next, Coverley divides the journeys in terms of the narrators. Augusta is a straightforward, organized, and linear person. Calvin is a strategic and sees things in artistic pictures. Kaye is mystical and communes with spirits. Sounds plays as she goes to the next screen. Next, Coverley explains the image on the screen, which is her father, Jack Coverley, with his best friend and her aunt, and they all fit into the narrative. Coverley notes that Augustus’ path is the chronological narration and Kaye’s path will always look the same. She also notes that each of the path has a color associated with the characters: Augusta is blue and white, Kaye is black, red, yellow and gold, and Calvin is pink and turquoise.

Traversal of M. D. Coverley's Califia, Part 4

This video clip displays Coverley continuing to discuss her choice of features in Califia. She notes that her intent was to build an architecture that would be predictable enough that the reader could find a way to navigate through it in many different modalities such as the kitbag, the toolbar, and the pocket compass. Coverley continues by discussing how each character has their own backstory. She reads Augusta’s story and notes that her story is important. Augusta goes to Paradise Home and the plot starts to grow. Paradise Home is where Augusta’s mother is currently residing and it's also the house across the street of Coverley’s grandmother’s house. Coverley stops to play the sound because each sound is different depending on the story. Augusta goes to Paradise Home to visit her mother and doesn’t have enough money to pay her bills because she can’t find her stack of gold coins and Augusta also doesn’t have access to her bank account since her father died. Next, Augusta gets a call from a man and he wants to lease the land that Augusta’s father had owned, and put windmills on it. Calvin and Kaye both show up to warn Augusta and to talk about the gold mines.

Traversal of M. D. Coverley's Califia, Part 5

In this video clip, Coverley continues Augusta’s story and the convergence of the three characters. At the end of the journey, Coverley notes that the reader can review what didn’t happen and what would’ve happen if they took a different character’s path. The reader can also return to any part of the story. Next, Coverley follows Calvin’s path and notes that the text from the paths start to overlap and becoming transparent and more layered. She plays the song that Calvin has on the screen before going to his home page. Next, Coverley goes to Augusta’s path and meets the same man.

Traversal of M. D. Coverley's Califia, Part 6

In this video clip, Augusta, Calvin, and Kaye set off on the journey north. Coverley follows Kayes path and listens to the music that’s being played. She notes that the pictures on the screen are the ones she took in the mountains above Santa Barbara. Next in this journey, Kaye gets information from the spirits in the Japanese gardens.

Traversal of M. D. Coverley's Califia, Part 7

In this video clip, Coverley goes to Calvin’s kitbag to go to the convergence again to see what happens on Augusta’s path. Coverley notes that she can also look at Kaye’s path and that regardless which path she goes on, they’ll all interact with each other. The characters are now going to the west and Coverley starts with Augusta. Music plays as she reads through the work. Next, the layered images and texts show that these have compounded together to tell the story. The characters go to fish camp and find the rest of the blue blanket that they had been looking for. The blanket’s fabric held in the sunlight shows designs and constellations of a map that shows where all of the gold in California is. Next, the characters meet the man from Wind Power. 

Traversal of M. D. Coverley's Califia, Part 8

This video clip displays Coverley continuing on Califia. Augusta is arguing with Cramer about wanting to get the rights to the land and minerals, and the Wind Power man promises that his company will help with the development. Next, Coverley goes to back to the convergence and starts the journey west. She arrives at the navigation and returns to the shore, which marks the end of the work. Coverley also notes that the reader can revisit any parts of the work once they’ve reached the end.

This page has paths:

This page references: