Twelve Blue

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Description (in English): 

Published in 1996, “Twelve Blue” is a work by Michael Joyce that has been considered the first hyperlink story of its kind. The story is devised in 8 different bars, and all relate in some way to the color blue. He sets us with minor and major characters and keeps us going through the bars. You are able to click through different links and some of them leads you to pictures, while the rest lead you through more and more of the story. Each story focuses on an object of some kind or some character. The backdrop and text is a dark and a light blue and there is a side bar with a picture of different color bars that look more like stars.The language in “Twelve Blue” is very concise and to the point. It is simple and is placed with a unique purpose. Even however simple the language may be, it tells a thrilling story of lust, memory, and consequences within its contents. Keeping it laid out like a map, the language and story tells of a drowning, a friendship, a boy and a girl, etc. and keeps resurfacing through a web of memories and pictures through the years or days of our lives. Each character is connected in some way and the story keeps you engaged until the end.

Pull Quotes: 

Now that everyone on earth wore beepers (or so it seemed in a walk through the Galleria), she wondered had it lost its sense of expectation or rather was the phenomenon now simply more widely shared. It seemed as if the whole pedestrian world strolled with small plastic packets of electronics at their hips-- in shades of pastel now as well as basic black-- all of them pleasantly abuzz and mildly aroused, awaiting word of what would be, word of what had been.

Everything can be read, every surface and silence, every breath and every vacancy, every eddy and current, every body and its absence, every darkness every light, each cloud and knife, each finger and tree, every backwater, every crevice and hollow, each nostril, tendril and crescent, every whisper, every whimper, each laugh and every blue feather, each stone, each nipple, every thread every color, each woman and her lover, every man and his mother, every river, each of the twelve blue oceans and the moon, every forlorn link, every hope and every ending, each coincidence, the distant call of a loon, light through the high branches of blue pines, the sigh of rain, every estuary, each gesture at parting, every kiss, each wasp's wing, every foghorn and railway whistle, every shadow, every gasp, each glowing silver screen, every web, the smear of starlight, a fingertip, rose whorl, armpit, pearl, every delight and misgiving, every unadorned wish, every daughter, every death, each woven thing, each machine, every ever after

They believed each other's stories and knew they were not minor characters.

She didn't need to know the sign for drowned. It was like thinking he couldn't shout. Not so much wrong as backwards, as if he were you. He wouldn't need to know the sign for what he was. She wondered if that was what love was, how you thought what the other thought was what you thought or something. The words all backwards. Now she would never know. (It would have been useful to know it, actually, had he come back: Thought drowned: two signs. Smile. Hug. Make the sign for worried and heart. Love.)

Follow me doesn't have much of a ring to it, though god knows there's music for a fifteen year old girl holding tasteless blueberry cotton candy on an August afternoon and flirting with a gap-toothed carny, arms brown as twisted rattan, hard thighs in jeans black as grease, jack o'lantern smile below a thief's indigo eyes. Music likewise for a woman, shivering in the air conditioning and half having to piss, seated years afterward bare-legged and squirming upon a gray leather banquette lit by dim cobalt sconce lights, her reflection and the candle's weaving together in the Art Deco mirror, its woodwork burnished like the luscious brown arm of one of Gauguin's sleepy girls, yellow arabesques across her full breasts.

Critical writing that references this work:

Title Author Year
Narrative as Virtual Reality: Immersion and Interactivity in Literature and Electronic Media Marie-Laure Ryan 2001
88 Constellations for Wittgenstein N. Katherine Hayles 2012
A Response to Twelve Blue by Michael Joyce Gregory L. Ulmer 1997
A Review of Twelve Blue Nick Fulton 2009
Arte Digital: Pixel, Algoritmo, Código, Programação e Dados Álvaro Seiça 2011
Digital Poetics: The Making of E-Poetries Loss Pequeño Glazier 2001
Don't Believe the Hype: Rereading Michael Joyce's Afternoon and Twelve Blue Anthony Enns 2001
Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary N. Katherine Hayles 2008
Examining The Information Systems Of The Electronic Literature Collection Mark C. Marino 2008
Figures in the Interface: Comparative Methods in the Study of Digital Literature John David Zuern 2009
Forms of Future Michael Joyce 1997
Hyperworks: On Digital Literature and Computer Games Anna Gunder 2004
Intermediation: The Pursuit of a Vision N. Katherine Hayles 2007
Internet Hyperfiction: Can it ever Become a Widely Popular Artform? Nikolaj Jensen 2001
Letters That Matter: Electronic Literature Collection Vol 1 John David Zuern 2007
New narrative pleasures? A cognitive-phenomenological study of the experience of reading digital narrative fictions Anne Mangen 2006
Reading, Writing, and Teaching Creative Hypertext: A Genre-Based Pedagogy Kevin Brooks 2002
Tekstspill i hypertekst. Koherensopplevelse og sjangergjenkjennelse i lesing av multimodale hyperfiksjoner Hans Kristian Rustad 2008
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Jill Walker Rettberg