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Volume 7, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1753-5190
  • E-ISSN: 1753-5204



Flocks of books open and close, winging their way web-ward. A reader is cast adrift in a sea of white space veined blue by lines of longitude, of latitude, of graph, of paper. The horizon extends far beyond the bounds of the browser window, to the north, south, east and west. Navigating this space (with track pad, touch screen, mouse or arrow keys) reveals that this sea is dotted with islands… and by islands I mean paragraphs. These fluid texts are continuously recomposed by JavaScript files calling upon variable strings containing words and phrases collected from a vast literary corpus – Deleuze’s Desert Islands (2004), Shakespeare’s The Tempest (1610–11), Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719), Bishop’s Crusoe in England (1971), Coetzee’s Foe (1966), Ballard’s Concrete Island (1973), Hakluyt’s Voyages and Discoveries (1598–1600), Darwin’s Voyages of the Beagle (1838), and many other lesser-known sources including an out-of-date guidebook to the Scottish Isles, and an amalgam of accounts of the classical and quite possibly fictional island of Thule. Individually, each of these textual islands represents a topic – from the Greek topos, meaning place. Collectively they constitute a topographical map of a sustained practice of reading and re-reading and writing and re-writing on the topic of islands. In this constantly shifting sea of variable texts a reader will never wash ashore on the same island twice… and by islands, I really do mean paragraphs.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): books; computer-generated text; islands; topography; variantology
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