Restart Story

Alice's choices, from the moment she follows the White Rabbit, are already those of a player with agency in the space of Wonderland. The many versions of herself that Wonderland reflects back to her are driven by the radical fairy-tale mentality Jack Zipes describes: “No longer was the fairy tale to be like the mirror, mirror on the wall reflecting the cosmetic bourgeois standards of beauty and virtue which appeared to be unadulterated and pure. The fairy tale and the mirror cracked into sharp-edged, radical parts by the end of the nineteenth century" (99).\n\nLikewise, Alice as [[interactive fiction|Hypertext]] lets the player change Alice again, using her as a lens for exploration. This new Alice is a mirror for the player, cracked and marked by the many versions of Alice who have come before.
[img[]]\n'I see!' said the Queen, who had meanwhile been examining the roses. 'Off with their heads!' and the procession moved on, three of the soldiers remaining behind to execute the unfortunate gardeners, who ran to Alice for protection.\n\n'You shan't be beheaded!' said Alice, and she put them into a large flower-pot that stood near. The three soldiers wandered about for a minute or two, looking for them, and then quietly marched off after the others.\n\n'Are their heads off?' shouted the Queen.\n\n'Their [[heads are gone|Beheadings]], if it please your Majesty!' the soldiers shouted in reply. In this case, the literal interpretation of language was on their side.
Johnanna Drucker reminds us that books are always more than the sum of their pages: “We should also keep in mind that the traditional codex is as fully engaged with this "virtual" space as electronic works are. For instance, think of the contrast between the literal book — that familiar icon of bound pages in finite, fixed sequence — and the phenomenal book — the complex production of meaning and effect that arises from dynamic interaction with the literal work.” In Alice's cases, that dynamic of interaction is embodied both within the text and beyond it. Alice is simultaneously reader (and player) and content of the reading. As she is transformed through digital media, Alice is best understood as a "phenomenon", unbound by the rules of any medium as she interrogates their underlying principles.\n\n
Alice began to feel very uneasy: to be sure, she had not as yet had any dispute with the Queen, but she knew that it might happen any minute, 'and then,' thought she, 'what would become of me? They're dreadfully fond of beheading people here; the great wonder is, that there's any one [[left alive!|Display]]'\n\nAlice is [[immersed enough in Wonderland|Wonderland Online]] to see the threat in authority.
[img[]]\nAlice left the [[Mad Hatter's tea party|Logic of Language]] to find a garden with a large rose-tree. Three gardeners stood, busily painting the rose-tree's flowers red. \n\nThe three cards doing the painting were arguming among themselves. \n\n'Look out now, Five! Don't go splashing paint over me like that!'\n'I couldn't help it,' said Five, in a sulky tone; 'Seven jogged my elbow.'\n\nOn which Seven looked up and said, 'That's right, Five! Always lay the blame on others!'\n\n'YOU'D better not talk!' said Five. 'I heard the Queen say only yesterday you deserved to be beheaded!'\n\n'What for?' said the one who had spoken first.\n\n'That's none of YOUR business, Two!' said Seven.\n\n'Yes, it IS his business!' said Five, 'and I'll tell him—it was for bringing the cook tulip-roots instead of onions.'\n\nSeven flung down his brush, and had just begun 'Well, of all the unjust things—' when his eye chanced to fall upon Alice.\n\nAlice...\n* <<choice "Paint Roses" "Asked the cards why they were painting the roses red">>\n* <<choice "Enter the Queen" "Turned away, deciding not to interact with such strange painters">>\n* <<choice "Question Text" "Wondered how cards could paint roses in the first place">>\n
The possibilities of electronic literature as a distinct method of textual production and interation are embodied in transformations such as these: “The onlining of text—the immersion of hot print in the cool interactive milieu of the global telephone network, outfitted with screens – has been a baptismal breakpoint in the history of writing, and perforce of our human existence” (Levinson 114).\n\nAlice predates the Internet, but she was born to be web-savvy, with an inherent connection to the "conversations and images" such texts sustain. [[We can find Alice online, and Wonderland in the networks that sustain her.|A Phenomenal Book]]
In interactive fiction, there are many paths, none correct: the Cheshire Cat might remind us that it doesn't matter much which we choose as long as we don't care where we end up.\n\nNick Montfort notes that interactive fiction could be said to extend the Oulipo concept of “potential literature – literary spaces and possibilities – rather than literature itself." The player experiences not one set path, but a “particular series of events which was made to happen because of what the interactor typed.” This is not “the” story: there is no [[one story|Subversive Readers]] (Montfort). \n\nAlice's adventures have been adapted (or remediated, or adopted?) [[several times as interactive fiction.|]]\n\n
Alice's identity is grounded in her ability to reject or accept even the rules of the reality she is presented with, through her own "reading" of Wonderland: “Carroll puts on the pages of Alice in Wonderland the off-the-page activities of reading that eighteenth-century children’s books simultaneously excite and entail: talking, listening, looking, thinking, remembering, focusing, questioning, responding, agreeing, objecting, and even closing the book, as Alice does to the Wonderland creatures when she dismisses them as nothing but a pack of cards” (Brown 355).\n\nThe Queen provides Alice with a mirror-self--[[one who enforces the rules rather than rewriting them|Nonsense]].
'And who are THESE?' said the Queen, pointing to the three gardeners who were lying round the rosetree; for, you see, as they were lying on their faces, and the pattern on their backs was the same as the rest of the pack, [[she could not tell whether they were gardeners, or soldiers, or courtiers, or three of her own children|Pack of Cards]].\n\n'How should I know?' said Alice, surprised at her own courage. 'It's no business of MINE.'\n\nThe Queen turned crimson with fury, and, after glaring at her for a moment like a wild beast, screamed 'Off with her head! Off—'\n\n'Nonsense!' said Alice, very loudly and decidedly, and [[the Queen was silent|Off with their Heads]].
Jacqueline Flescher noted that the Hatter’s logic of language—and indeed the logic of language in Wonderland—“imposes a rigid order on the disorder of action and the incoherence of reasoning [but] within the grammatical or metrical framework, vocabulary can be used with total freedom” (141). This same nonsense within a framework characterizes play within [[Wonderland (1990)|]], an illustrated interactive fiction game by David Bishop et al. The work uses "Magnetic Windows" to allow for text, imagery, choices and objects to be juxtaposed at any time, using the early GUI interface to create what one reviewer called "the future of adventure games" in an adaptation of the text that "follows that of the book, but that's not to say you can have any idea as to what's around the next corner" [[(ACE Issue 38)|]].\n\nAlice's command of such unexpected logic is put to the test when she [[finds herself faced with the Queen|Enter the Queen]]
While the poems and tales within Alice are built on rules that Lewis Carroll has reduced to their core structures and rewritten to his own (nonsensical?) ends, the rules of Wonderland itself would soon be themselves recoded. [[Scanning the physical book|]] started the journey to digitization, but it does not reorder the underlying materiality of the text--the pages remain in place, the layout is familiar. \n\nNew [[adaptations|Hypertext]], enabled by code, further rewrite Alice's journey of exploration not as a single thread but as a series of [[moments|Into the Garden]] driven by [[choices|Mirror, Mirror]]. Such works keep Alice's adventures as their root, but branch off in new directions, allowing the reader to act as Alice in unraveling the riddles of Wonderland.
[img[]]\nAlice went to turn away from the gardeners, but her path was blocked by a procession of cards. So she stood still where she was, and waited. When the procession came opposite to Alice, they all stopped and looked at her, and the Queen said severely 'Who is this?' She said it to the Knave of Hearts, who only bowed and smiled in reply.\n\n'Idiot!' said the Queen, tossing her head impatiently; and, turning to Alice, she went on, 'What's your name, child?'\n\n'My name is Alice, so please your Majesty,' said Alice very politely; but she added, to herself, 'Why, they're only a [[pack of cards|Off the Page]], after all. I needn't be afraid of them!'
'We're painting the roses red,' Seven explained.\n\n'What's wrong with white roses?' Alice inquired.\n\n'Nothing, or everything. It's all in the [[eye of the beholder|Potential Literature]],' Five interrupted. 'As long as the beholder still has an eye left, I suppose. Which none of us will have if we lose our heads.'\n\nAlice decided she had already lost her head too many times today, so she hastily [[backed away from the red paint|Enter the Queen]].
The pack of cards have an identity that is only skin-deep: this episode of Alice once again twists the rules of the world, finding characters in objects rather than in animals. This episodic journey that pits Alice in interaction with such changing characters is a natural model for node-based storytelling (such as [[hypertext|Hypertext]]). [[Barbara Hayes-Roth|]] used the text to establish seven principles of interactive fiction in 1998, which Wonderland Research then illustrated through a [[simple choice-based illustrated fiction|]]. These principles include immersion through becoming the protagonist (through being Alice) alongside the "orchestration" of a [[storyteller|Off with their Heads]].
VIII. The Queen's Croquet-Ground
This is a work of hypertext, as is most of the web: in this case, it is deliberate and primarily internal. Links create the primary navigation but also the textual relationships, as [[Deena Larsen examines|]] in her description of links as a primary rhetorical device for electronic literature.\n\nMany Alice adaptations use linking mechanisms and resemble hypertext fiction, which Marie-Laure Ryan defines as “a network of textual fragments that can be read in many different orders. Unless the user’s choices are severely restricted, it is highly unlikely that they will produce a sequence that respects narrative logic.” Likewise, substituting "scholarly logic" for "narrative logic" may make such a construct counterintuitive--if linearity is assumed to be valuable to either. \n\n[[Alice's adventures|Into the Garden]] take place in scenes seperated by motion through an unknown land: any linearity of the text is not inherent, as the debt to orality would suggest.
From the moment Alice enters Wonderland after rejecting the passive codex in search of a land with pictures and conversations, she is subverting her own text: “All true readings are subversive, against the grain, as Alice, a sane reader, discovered” (Manguel 17).\n\nAs a subversive reader, she becomes a player when she [[enters the Queen's game|Enter the Queen]].
Anastasia Salter
If photography and film adaptations of Wonderland suffer from the need for compelling realism to that which was never inherently real, the digital is well-equipped to handle the same representations. Cards can be seen both with and without their heads and seem in tune with physical reality: “There is no reason why the objects displayed by a computer have to follow the ordinary rules of physical reality with which we are familiar. The ultimate display would, of course, be a room within which the computer can control the existence of matter. With appropriate programming such a display could literally be [[the Wonderland into which Alice walked|A Phenomenal Book]]” (Packer 236).
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Alice is forever [[questioning the text|Subversive Readers]] as she encounters those who literally and figuratively embody language: talking cards are the least of her worries. Likewise, play with language is the essential tool of interactive fiction: “for the interactive reader, language because a tool for investigating fictional environments. Testing the practical powers of words is part of the fun” (Costanzo 70).\n\nThe player of a text-parser game continually combined verbs and nouns to try to provoke a response, often in ways that appear illogical until the logic of the system is revealed.