Sharing the Fantasy

"Sharing the Fantasy" is "a lightweight text-generation project realized . . . using Hypertext Markup Language and Javascript. However, the conceptual background and technical origins of the work are both a bit more interesting than this résumé suggests. The first version of this exercise was a HyperCard stack, produced using 29-year-old software on a 12-year-old computer – writing is now unthinkable without eBay. The inspiration and formal context come from Uncle Buddy’s Phantom Funhouse, John McDaid’s hypermedia novel written between 1987 and 1992. The sharing of this particular fantasy is broad, deep, and complicated. It has a history.

[ . . . ] “Sharing the Fantasy” is basically a bauble -- to shift metaphors, it is a small recess tacked onto the main stage of the Funhouse, a sideshow's sideshow, probably good only for a few click-throughs. While I make no particular claims for the writing (the computer does it, after all), I will point out that all the functional aspects of this Web project were first programmed in Atkinson's wonderful language HyperTalk, which as Kazemi pointed out at the R-CADE symposium, seems remarkably contemporary for 30-year-old software. The conversion was fairly straightforward and involved no compromise of features. As part of this old-school fidelity I resisted the temptation to modernize the design, sticking with the hard-core visual idiom of the original program, which means one-bit graphics (simulating grayscale with dithering) and a main window measuring 512 by 342. Warning: the next page you see may shock you.

Beyond these technical details, if this project has any claim to interest it may be in its attempt to realize Jim Brown’s vision of crafty appropriation, using the so-called ephemera cast off in the furious dance of technical evolution to build new contexts for visions that once seemed lost. It is important work for which Jim and his fellow makers deserve serious attention.

Let's all share that fantasy. -- Stuart Moulthrop


The Stuart Moulthrop Collection

An unpublished copy.

Dene Grigar gave the files for this copy to Stuart Moulthrop in 2022.