(edited by) Roderick Coover – The Digital Imaginary, Literature and Cinema of the Database


Bloomsbury, ISBN-13: 978-1501347580, English, 202 pages, 2020, USA

One approach to defining a particular cultural scene is to attempt to capture its spirit in some form. This book represents such an attempt for electronic literature and its intersection with cinematic arts. The manuscript is structured in four chapters. The first three contain two interviews with artists, followed by the texts of two respondents to their works. The last chapter is comprised of two ’metacommentaries’, connecting the previous works and conversations. The book finishes with an afterword. This structure explicitly works to embody a hyper-textual tissue, with interconnected references and sources designed to trigger the reader to move back and forth through the pages. There’s a parallel then between the structure and the content, one that is coherent and mutually resonant. Moulthrop’s observation that removing narrative as a guiding structure produces new opportunities seems to be a core quality shared by all the works discussed. Similarly, Montfort’s classification of ’computational literature’ that let us glimpse into sometimes diverging ‘digital imaginaries’ seems to effectively define and qualify the same works. It’s a very well conceived and constructed book, a working experimentation still within the boundaries of academic publishing, with an engaging selection and an inspiring form.