>>-->riPOSTe: William Gillespie responds
But does The Unknown, and hypertext in general, really push the boundaries of literary reality? The novel is very well-written and lively, but despite its lofty claims, it can't be of much interest to anyone apart from the writers, their immediate friends, their families, and other hypertext authors. Hence the dilemma of today's hypertext fiction: with so much material floating around in the cybersphere, who cares?
Pollack is clearly, clearly, underestimating how many friends the one/thirty Unknown have. Not just friends, but acquaintances, sycophants, groupies, those who tolerate us out of sympathy, and students (the Unknown is required reading in all university or high school classes taught by a member of the Unknown). Even our enemies read the Unknown, if only to replenish their bile.
I guess Pollack must feel, well, jealous of all our friends, which is completely understandable, since he is now in the position, having written the above criticism, of having to buy us many rounds of drinks before we will even bother to learn his first name.
Conversely, "other hypertext authors" don't read The Unknown. Users of traditional hypertext authoring tools tend to be intimidated by the bright colors and clean interface today's web browser offers. They wouldn't like The Unknown anyway: there simply aren't enough auto accidents.
Regarding "the dilemma of today's hypertext fiction: With so much material floating around in the cybersphere, who cares?" Considering that this utterance, written for an online encyclopedia, is itself more of the "material" it refers to, the author's attitude tempts one not to care about the author's ideas.
Nevertheless, the author's ideas bear a closer thrashing. What is one to make of Pollack's poignant admission that "the point of experimental fiction isn't and never has been to reach a broad popular audience"? This notion follows closely his complaint (really, the only thing he has to say about The Unknown [aside from the obvious fact of its being "very well-written"]) that The Unknown is of interest only to the gigantic group comprised of all writers, Gillespies, Marquardts, Rettbergs, Strattons, Michael Joyces, and Pollack himself, and precedes his final complaint about The Unknown: it isn't popular enough. Obviously, a closer reading of The Unknown by Pollack is in order, as almost every page of The Unknown attests to the immense popularity of the Unknown.
Finally, when Pollack refers to The Unknown's "lofty claims," he can only mean the following passage:"Unnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn-known!
As "un" as the cola!
As known as a "hola"
Is hello in Spanish!
You roam the Web freely!
You're not touchy-feeeeely,
Though you worry you'll vanish -
But until then
You'll . . . Be . . . the . . . UNNNNNNNNNNKNOWN!!!!"
And if I ever meet Pollack, I will be sure to impress upon him that The Unknown has met each and every lofty claim enumerated in the above tract, while I ask him about the encyclopedia definitions of "meiosis," "Renaissance," and "satire." But, of course, only after he has bought us those drinks.