Hypertext and Hypermedia Bibliography
Over the last few years, creative hypertext and text-rich multimedia have flourished on the web. Publishers showcase their best authors. Online galleries create permanent exhibits. Artistic, innovative journals search assiduously for new writers. I list below a personal selection of those texts and sites where computer code and the radical imagination meet. 

The annotations represent my opinion of each text or site. You don't have to love what I love. And you don't have to hate what I hate. Choose your own models. Discover what might be, not what is.


Fiction and Poetry
Critical Theory
Web Logs
Writing Communities
Unclassifiable Beauty & Subversive Browsers


Web-Based Fiction and Poetry

My Boyfriend Came Back from the War, Olia Lialina
rice, Jenny Weight
Dispossession, Robert Kendall
Penetration, Robert Kendall
A Study in Shades, Robert Kendall
A Study in Conveyance, Robert Kendall
Frame Work, Robert Kendall

the personalization of complexity, Marjorie Coverley Luesebrink
The Body, Shelley Jackson
From Lexia to Perplexia, Talan Memmott
The Tomb Robbers, Stuart Moulthrop
Reagan Library, Stuart Moulthrop
Marble Springs, Deena Larsen (adapted for the web)
[ carrier ], Melinda Rackham (an interactive meditation)
LOve One, Judy Malloy
Twelve Blue, Michael Joyce
Hegirascope, Stuart Moulthrop
Vispo, Jim Andrews
"dedicated to life, poetry, & the ABCs of a new art." 


Collaborative hypertexts

An elegant, unusual, genuinely multimedia work, with animagiantive use of sound, by Kate Pullinger with Talan Memott

The Noon Quilt
A lovely hypertext, curated at trAce, in which writers all over the world contributed c. 200 words describing what they could "see" outside their "window" at noon.

The Eclipse Quilt
A reprise of the Noon Quilt idea, this time asking writers to submit their meditations on the August, 1999 eclipse.

Kokura, Mary-Kim Arnold and Matthew Derby
A two-writer collaboration 

Bubbe's Back Porch
Like the Noon and Eclipse quilts, a hypertext built from the stories of many linked, but not seamed, into one. Stories focus on the rites of passage of family life, the kind of stories we hear as children from parents and grandparents.


Critical Theory
(ranges from the poetic to the plain pretentious)

A Definition of Hypertext Kimberly Amaral
A very clear, concise and thus easy-to-read article offering a brief history of hypertext/hypermedia and offering advice to writers in this environment 

Net Art as Theater of the Senses A HyperTour of Jodi and Grammatron, Randall Packer

Anna Karenin Goes to Paradise, Olia Lialina
Search engine serendipity

Cyberspace and Critical Theory
Some of the articles here, chosen by George Landow, a leading hypertext writer, teacher and theorist, are very complex. But you will quickly find something tailored to your level of expertise.

Shadow of an Informand
Stuart Moulthrop's dynamic essay discusses the potential of hypertext for readers and writers.

Politexts, Hypertexts, and Other Cultural Formations in the Late Age of Print
"I have twisted the language to contrive the title of this essay because I want to interrogate the future of literacy both its electronic formations (if indeed these differ from its pre-electronic ones) and its social origins and effects." Nancy Kaplan. The elegance of the linking architecture in this piece is enviable.

Miracle Device: FEED's document on Ted Nelson's Literary Machines

Mark Amerika, Robert Coover & Janet Murray
apercus, ironic apercus, & quick-fix, Post-IT note critique

Literary Hypertext: The Passing of the Golden Age,
Robert Coover

Grammatron, Mark Amerika
A rant, a theory, a definition. Hypertext consciousness with attitude.

Hypertext Theory Reading List
A list created by Nancy Patterson which selects the seminal articles and books on hypertext imagining. She include the following online articles:- 

Degrees of Freedom, Jay Bolter
Toward a Theory of Hypertextual Design, Kathleen Burnett
Comprehension, Coherence and Strategies in Hypertext and Linear Text, Peter W. Foltz
Hypertext Theory (Links), Nancy Patterson

Communication, Culture and Technology Thesis List
(Georgetown University) Check regularly (not so much literary hypertext as the pervasiveness of hyperpresence - politics, commerce, innovation, interactivity, etc.)

Web Logs

Weblogs: a brief history
The introduction to a small, curated, online exhibit of imaginative web logs at the Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art. Particularly appealing is the log of:

James Lockett, artist
and his web site:-
a compendium of articles about, and resources for, web logs 

Blogging from the Barrio, Albert Delgado 

Microcontent News: The Online Magazine for Weblogs, Webzines and Personal Publishing


Many writers now 'journal' online via a web log (see above) but the examples below illuminate the rhetorical power of the skillful conjunction of imagination, design and the word.

Well, a sort of journal...explore the links, etc. 

A visually beautiful exploration of the idea that each person's individual perception is a priceless addition to human knowledge. Preface by a quotation from Blade Runner (investigate). You may also want to explore the other segments of this site.

Another inventive journal, this time elevating serendipity into an art form.

Untitled (really, no consistent title)
Less weird than the title suggests, and often witty.


Writing Communities

The Electronic Literature Organization

My favorite online community, and NOT just because its non-virtual home is Nottingham, England. A inviting community, with writing residencies and mentorships (mostly virtual), a lively set of discussion forums, invitations to contribute to special events like the Eclipse Quilt, and live discussions on Sunday afternoons. This community was founded to encourage new hypertext writers and artists. Visit, register & participate. 

the Fray
"the Fray brings personal storytelling from behind the glass. If you believe that life is about personal expression and new kinds of art, you're invited to join us." Their blurb, not mine, but it's always an interesting place to go (if sometimes sensational). The site invites impromptu responses and submissions from readers.


Run by Eastgate Systems, the company that publishes most stand-alone hypertexts, this very extensive site acts as information-central for hypertext writers and readers. You can buy books here but you can also find reviews of hypertexts, articles on hypertext theory and technology, original works, guides to hypertext on the web and much, much more. 

Journals & Magazines

Riding the Meridian

Frame: The Culture and Technology Journal
An art, theory and culture magazine published by the active, inventive, international trace online community

ebr (electronic book review)
"promoting print/screen transformations and weaving new modes of critical writing on the web"

Word Circuits
"Art is the technology of the soul." Investigate further. In any of you are interested, the editor, Robert Kendall, runs a high-powered, career-starting creative hypertext writing class online via New York's New School.

New River
An imaginative journal from a serious writer, like Robert Kendal, of hypertext

Some poetry, fiction, criticism and art


Art Galleries & Exhibits
(very useful sources of inspiration for writers)

The self-proclaimed "New Media Art Resource."  Worth your time.  Includes:

Net Art News
a daily news service

New (Sept. 2002) exhibit which, "takes a reverse look at 'software art' projects by focusing on and comparing the 'back end' of the code that drives the artwork's 'front end'--the result of the code, be it visuals or a more abstract communication process," which is linked from:- 

The Whitney Museum of American Art's portal to NetArt

New Media Collaborations
Mixed text/art work by NYC school students

World of Awe: A Travellers's Tale (uses sound)
Is it writing or is it art?

Little Movies: Prolegomena for Digital Cinema
Lev Manovich 

Telematic Connections: The Virtual Embrace
Physical exhibit with interesting online presence 

010101: Art in Technological Times
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art


San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Beyond Interface
Curated by s t e v e . d i e t z for The Walker Art Gallery

The Museum of Web Art
Permanent and visiting exhibitions, re-framing transience as art

Bitstreams (The Whitney Museum of American Art)

A Story of Net Art (Open Source)
The artist Natalie Bookchin's timeline of Web Art. A multitude of exhibits.

Dia Center
The center offers high-quality visual art for the web. The aesthetics vary from project to project. For example:-

The Thief
Francis Alys' textual film meditation on the window: literal, artistic and visual

David Claerbout 

Between a Rock and a Hard Drive
Kristin Lucas

Gary Simmons

My Millenium 
Curated by hypermedia author Christy Sheffield Stanford, this collection combines both text and art.

The home page of Australian net artist, mez

A web art gallery, whose purpose is "to facilitate artistic work that explores the specific characteristics of the World Wide Web medium and makes use of multimedia and online technologies such as RealAudio, Java and VRML." 

The Apartment
Build an apartment of words in a city of text
"the idea of stadium as an arena for discussing, engaging and presenting the aesthetic possibilities of the network" 

PS1: Art in Unlikely Places
Read the introductory essay before beginning the multimedia tour. Download the software to see and hear this exhibition. (It's worth it).

rooftops a project by jody zellen
multiple views of multiple roofs

A multimedia trove of imaginative interactive.  Try the immerse essay and do more with your cursor than click.


Unclassifiable Beauty & Subversive Browsers

The Visual Thesaurus

We act. Click! We think we browse. View the alternative to the link.

As it says. And the links still work.


An artwork that analyzes the internet according to the Dewey Decimal Classification scheme used by many print libraries. Read the introduction by Steve Deitz, Curator of New Media at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. And the links still work. 

© Lesley Smith
last updated: 8 november 2004