Moral Tales and Meditations
Technological Parables and Refractions
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Provocative essays and short tales that explore the effect of technology and new media on our everyday lives.
Novelist, cyber-theorist, and widely acclaimed hypertext fiction writer Michael Joyce weaves an evocative and provocative set of brief essays and short parable-like fictions into a compelling collection of meditations on how technology and new media affect our culture and everyday lives. Taken together, these pieces present a writer's reflections on a life of sudden changes at the edge of an uncertain future. They continue Joyce's effort to construct what in previous collections he has called "theoretical narratives." Here, however, Joyce turns from reflections to what he terms "refractions," alluding to the turning or bending a wave undergoes when it passes from one medium into another of different density. Through these refractions, he formulates an understanding of the wave of change we face as human beings in a multimediated age.
Michael Joyce is Associate Professor of English at Vassar College. He is the author of several books, including Othermindedness: The Emergence of Network Culture; Of Two Minds: Hypertext Pedagogy and Poetics; and The War Outside Ireland. He has also written many hypertexts, including Twilight, A Symphony and afternoon, a story.
"Joyce alerts us to his intentions: the tales are parables of technology; combined with the meditations, they constitute a theoretical narrative—stories that are simultaneously creative fictions and critical reflections on the form of the story. They are also really good stories. That the short story is a living genre, undergoing significant transformation in the era of new media, is obvious. Joyce is one of the figures with considerable influence on these developments." — Gregory Ulmer, author of Teletheory: Grammatology in the Age of Video
"Michael Joyce is a subliminal explorer—he sets off to explore mental regions that are generally neglected, as if they were forests or deserted islands. . . . These absolutely original tales are at once idiomatic and unclassifiable. Slow, listless, yet incredibly speedy. Ripples allude to the deepest depths. This is the secret of great poetical writing." — Hélène Cixous, from the Afterword
"In this work, as in his hyperfictions, Joyce delivers mini-epiphany after mini-epiphany, whether in the thinking of his characters or simply in the joyous rightness of his prose. He is the unmatched aesthetic authority for thinking about writing as a technology, and Moral Tales and Meditations offers yet more evidence of his genius." — Brooks Landon, author of Science Fiction after 1900: From the Steam Man to the Stars