Steve Tomasula – TOC

I’ve been a fan of electronic writing (whatever that term means these days) for a long time, but one problem which I’ve had with the prominent majority of e-works is that they failed in one of the two principal domains of their electronic-ness. Those which look great and utilize all kinds of new technologies (Flash, Java, etc) as stories are fairly mediocre at best and usually tedious and boring – “From Lexia to Perplexia” is as theory-friendly as it is unreadable for anyone with even most liberal interest in story-telling. On the other hand, those which hold attention as narratives are usually rather austere in their form. So it’s been either-or most of the time.

Steve Tomasula‘s latest work titled TOC is a rare species of the electronic text which both tells a captivating story and looks great. Actually, it looks mind-blowing with its decidedly steampunk-ish and elegantly tasteful decor. If his earlier Vas was about post-biology and The Book of Portraiture about imaging, this one’s focus is time and its passage. As it plays out on the screen, the degree of readerly/watcherly intervention is fairly limited, which takes care of the perennial problem of uncertainty that many readers of electronic fictions (especially multi-forked hypertexts) have so often experienced. Narrated by several, most prominently female, voices, TOC is spell-binding in its combination of (audio)text and stunning graphics (again designed by Stepehn Farrell of Vas fame).

If there is one piece of new literature you’re going to have – this is it. Go get it.

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