Nuts and Bolts, The Body – a Wunderkammer

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“The Body – a Wunderkammer” by Shelley Jackson is a cleverly constructed hypertext fiction. It is told through the use of multiple html links which all direct to different sections of the story. The very first page past the title presents a diagram of our protagonist’s body. Upon clicking anywhere on the diagram redirects to a page where there is an anecdote relating where ever on the body was clicked. These smaller stories often are found to have more html links within them, leading to the other related stories in the collection. This design is very clever because in the same way that each part of her body comes together to make who she is physically, the stories inside also converge to show who she is mentally. Its also humorous in a way, the link between physical and mental are actual html links.

Although this idea is incredibly original and effective, it does have a few problems. The diagram on the first page is misleading. The diagram shows boxes around parts of her body indicating where to click; however, there are many other places you can click that are not boxed at all, like her nose or ears. The fact that there is an inconsistency here makes it so that the reader may not know that those parts are clickable at all. To clear such a problem would be fairly simple, and would either require to get rid of the boxes entirely or create a box at ever location that is clickable. Another minor problem with this set up is that backtracking through previous stories is made impossible without having to manually going back to the previous page or open many tabs.

Overall, I quite liked the idea as it was filled to the brim with fresh stories and chilling imagery. This type of story telling should definitely be expanded on, as there are many different twists and possibilities available to craft together ingenious stories.

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