While there are interesting experiments in electronic literature, interactive fiction, and hypertext poetry, few are known to the mainstream. We'll have a look at different approaches, from the standpoint of literary criticism, a technical standpoint and from experiences in the literature market. "You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door. There is a small mailbox here." Thus begins Zork, a 1980 computer game and one of the earliest examples of a genre that the New York Times Book Review described in 1983 as "games, which have been called 'participatory novels,' 'interactive fiction' and 'participa-stories'". Ever since, writers have tried out new forms of story-telling only possible on a computer, such as text adventures or the hypertext poetry of the early World-Wide Web. We want to introduce you to digital story-telling and present a few examples from the genre. We will also show you some authoring tools and programming languages for digital literature. Last, not least, and for putting things into a real world perspective, novelist Nika Bertram, author of "Der Kahuna Modus" (Eichborn, 2001), will share her experiences of an experiment where she developed an interactive fiction as a side-story to a conventionally published printed novel and the book market's reaction to that. Digital literature is a fine example of the blurring lines between hackers and poets. We feel that while literary theorists love to ponder on the "endless possibilities of the new medium", few people really read or experience electronic literature. Let's talk about Infocom-style dungeon crawls, chatterbots like SHRDLU and Eliza, and non-linear text in general.
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