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From Afternoon till Twilight
Raine Koskimaa

Michael Joyce
Twilight. A Symphony.
Electronic text.
Watertown, MA: Eastgate Systems (1996).


Most fictions are, like many jokes, also riddles and emphasize the missing parts. >--from Twilight


Michael Joyce's Afternoon. A Story was arguably the first commercial literary hypertext. After Afternoon, Joyce has published only occasional shorter hypertext pieces (see Twelve Blue). The long wait has finally ended, suitably at just about the tenth anniversary of Afternoon. Twilight. A Symphony turns out to have been worth waiting for, and in many ways it marks clear development in the hypertextual fiction. What has not changed is Joyce's lyrical language and love of wordplay.

This review branches to two alternative paths. One arches toward east and literature, the other towards west and technical questions. Since artistic form and content are inseparable - and especially so with hypertextual fiction - both branches finally lead toward common conclusions and ponderings about the present and future of hyperfiction.