Espen Aarseth’s Cybertext

You know you’re getting desperate when you laugh at phrases from a book like Aarseth’s “Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature.”

What I laughed at: “A labrynth without an exit is a labrynth without an entrance; in other words, not a labrynth at all.”

I thought my 4,000-word paper on this book was due tomorrow but it isn’t! Whew. I think I laughed at the above phrase because I was desperately trying to read quickly.

On a more serious note, I think this statement is wrong. I think someone can code a program for a labrynth without an exit and still have an entrance. However, what is an exit? The fact that the labrynth is a program on the computer can be the very exit that the seemingly-exitless labrynth has because of the nature of a computer program. You can just make the program stop running. Is that still called exiting the labrynth if you’re exiting the program? Or is it just exiting the program? Is the program the same as the labrynth IN the program? I can see how people would distinguish between the two: content is different from the materiality? The text is different from the physical form. If you argue this way, then you can argue that closing the program is not exiting the labrynth. So maybe this statement is right after all.

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