All posts by robchain

Hobo Lobo of Hamelin

Blog #2: Hobo Lobo of Hamelin

I’ve chosen to write about Hobo Lobo of Hamelin for my second blog in Electronic Literature. At the start of this piece I found myself extremely bewildered. I wasn’t sure what you click or what to not click. The webpage looked at first sight to be very promising, and I suspect that exactly that is why I suspected that I was not supposed to click anything (which, when looking back at it, sort of goes against the entire premise of hypetext).

I personally found the picture-book style to be extremely enticing as I love a good tribute made to the medias of the past. But that is just about where the nod back to the collective childhood ends as the text reads “Once upon a time, in an age long forgotten because it was somewhat boring and contrived, there was this picturesque hamlet full of God-gearing wholesome people.” Right off the bat the text lets us in on it’s angle; this isn’t your run-of-the-mill picture-book story.

I couldn’t help but smile once I noticed that the jovial music was coming closer with the turn of each now page. It is such a small addition to the piece, yet it made all the difference in my experience of reading through it. The merry music paints the picture of something festive and sociable happening right around the corner. An allusive hint at some joyful event taking place.

But this feeling of merriness changed right quick once you start to recognize the literature that most likely inspired the story, “Pied Piper of Hamelin”. I had no previous recollection of the name “Hamelin”, so the similarity was lost on me until I clicked the “10”-button on page 3 and the eerie and unsettling music started playing.

At the “11”-button on page 3 the mood and music changes abruptly and we’re introduced to the silent horror of an unspoken massacre. The music remains eerie and unnerving, but the text is completely gone—the only thing we’re left with is a series of illustrations which tells of the explicit killing that is taking place, but without saying anything. It’s clever in the sense that although children viewing this would probably realize that something is terribly wrong, they probably couldn’t tell exactly what’s happened, but most adult could because the implication is that strong—put together with the fact that most adults would be able to recognize the source material at this point.

There is clearly a deal of political connotations and implications in this piece as there were several terms thrown at us whenever the talk-show parts happened.

And what was that part about the Mayor standing in his office naked and smeared in blood all over his body and face? And did anyone else notice the border between button “2” and “3”? It was filled with what looked like guts that was being used as isolation between the walls separating the Mayor’s office and the waiting room. I’m suspected that it is supposed to be a callback to the killing of the rats—but I’m not sure why. I mean, yeah, the two conspired to rid the town of the “rat” problem, and they went through with it, but was that supposed to be the main point of the piece? And why? I don’t know—but it was weird. Seeing the Mayor naked all of a sudden threw me off the piece more than it absorbed me.

In conclusion, I thought the piece was innovative with its usage of a traditional medium to tell its story in such a modern setting. The piece was easy to read through—except for my personal hiccups in the beginning with how to navigate—and quickly teaches the reader how to read the e-lit.

—Robert


First blog post

Blog #1: Like Stars in a Clear Night Sky

I’ve chosen to write about ‘Like Stars in a Clear Night Sky’ for my first blog in Electronic Literature. Although I looked through all the three recommended pieces of electronic literature, this one was the only one that really stood out to me.

You are completely free to choose how to navigate this piece, as it is a compilation of various short stories which, to me at least, didn’t immediately relate to each other. Instead this piece comes off as simply different works that make up the stories that makes up a person—or possibly multiple people. The freedom in choosing where to go in Clear Night Sky was similar to some of the other works we’ve already looked at earlier, such as 12 Blue for instance. Simply go wherever you please and start exploring.

“Shall I tell you about the boy that dreams the world” was the title of the first option that caught my interest, without knowing anything about what I was about to click, I choose the most intriguing title. The piece presents itself very neatly and organized, and the only real interactive part that follows once we enter this link is the option to scroll down or up again. Nothing mind-blowing, but that’s probably not what this piece is going for either. There’s a feeling of serenity to this piece, so it follows if this is supposed to be laidback and not revolutionary in the community of electronic literature—less is more here, in a sense, because more would ruin the pace and the overarching theme.

A somewhat clever and cute touch to this piece is that the unique blue stars on the night sky—that serves as the hyperlinks used to navigate between the work—happen to change locations on the night sky whenever you start the electronic literature over again. It’s not a consequential part of the piece, just a nice touch.

Visually these short stories are structured as poems or rhymes, but to my knowledge they are simply short stories that as delivered as narrations from a third party. We’re told the stories as if from an old grandparent-figure that’s entertaining their grandchildren with various stories that they’ve accumulated over the years. The stories as read as simple texts, no real flexing of eloquence or prowess, simply just short and nice stories.

The themes within the short stories themselves vary greatly from each other, but with the overarching motif of space, stars, and vastness—I think we are supposed to take from the motifs a feeling of greatness and unite, in the same sense that these stories are different from each other, they are all still part of a greater picture.

The music is very soothing and strikes me as trying to make the reader relaxed and tranquil. There’s a great deal of soft chimes, or windchimes, accompanied by the occasional chirping of birds, which culminates in therapeutic music that lends itself to the relaxed feel of the texts.

Finishing reading through the different pieces makes you think that this is the re-telling of a person’s most defining moments in life—the ones that shaped him. It makes me sort of think of this piece as a very graphically enhanced biography—sort of, in a weird way.

That’s it for me now, looking forward to blogpost #2.

—Robert