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TraversalsThe Use of Preservation for Early Electronic Writing$
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Stuart Moulthrop and Dene Grigar

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035972

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035972.001.0001

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Coelacanth History: Uncle Buddy’s Phantom Funhouse and the Cybertext of Things

Coelacanth History: Uncle Buddy’s Phantom Funhouse and the Cybertext of Things

Chapter:
(p.115) 3 Coelacanth History: Uncle Buddy’s Phantom Funhouse and the Cybertext of Things
Source:
Traversals
Author(s):

Stuart Moulthrop

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262035972.003.0004

This chapter reflects on John McDaid’s author traversal of his 1993 hypermedia novel, Uncle Buddy’s Phantom Funhouse, a groundbreaking work not just for its comprehensive exploration of Apple’s HyperCard authoring system, but also because of its principle of “modally appropriate” presentation, involving non-digital artifacts as well. Built around the science-fictional notion of time travel and multiverses, the Funhouse thus invites consideration of his own curious history, in which it figures as a kind of broken time machine. Comparing McDaid’s work with later, similar projects from the video game world, the chapter argues for an understanding of digital culture that moves beyond the harsh binaries of obsolescence. As McDaid says: “We win by losing.”

Keywords:   John McDaid, Uncle Buddy’s Phantom Funhouse, Apple Hypercard, Hypermedia novel, Modally appropriate, Time travel, Science fiction, Digital culture, obsolescence

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