The very title of Stuart Moulthrop's literary work alone hints at its elusive, labyrinth-like nature. With hegira- meaning exodus, and — scope meaning the view or extent of something, one might infer that this work, Hegirascope, will serve as an instrument for viewing an escape or a mass exit. The importance of the work's title is further emphasized upon reading; not merely through the text, but also through the hypertextual format in which it is presented.

Hegirascope begins with a series of 8 pages that change to the next one automatically every 30 seconds. These pages all contain 3 lines of yellow text on a black background; initially, a reader may not even notice that the text material has changed. There are no links out of the introductory pages, leaving a reader unable to do anything but sit back and simply watch the pages refresh. In this way, Moulthrop really changes one from being an active reader to being a passive experiencer of the text. Hegirascope immerses its readers in its text, almost swallowing them as they are forcefully brought from one page to the next. His words throughout these introductory slides allude to the fears that many readers have of losing control in the reading process.

Hi There! Maybe Later . . . - What if the word will not be still? — Dancing on a Wire
Structure Without Order — Where you're going there are no maps. — To Live Beyond The Line
A Game of Substitutions — These words are not the same. — An Art of Replacement
It's Always Later Than You Think — Good news about the end of the world. — Feeding Your Fears Since 1945
Every Part Is Integral — These fragments aren't insured against my ruin. — Broken Down, And Scattered The Problem Is Solved By Going — This restless change of place for place: our bodiless hegira — Where Now, Pilgrim?
The Tale Is The Traveler — Have you been in the Net today? — The Traveler Is The Tale
The Code of Excess — "Yet in the adolescence of our technological age it is hard to go too far." — Michael Joyce — The Ballast of Wisdom Hi There! Maybe Later . . . - What if the word will not be still? — Dancing on a Wire

1. Each link on the pages of Hegirascope is a word that is within the text on that page. Why do you think that Moulthrop decided to employ words that were already there? How do you think he selected the ones that he did?

2. What do you make of the series of "Amanda" pages?

3. Do you think that Moulthrop is simply using the trite notion of foolery by having some pages say "Click Here" but not actually presenting the reader with a hyperlink? Upon arriving at these pages, did you feel as if the work had come to an end?

4. Clicking the "Back" and "Forward" buttons in one's web-browser allows the reader to return to the page of Hegirascope that they had just been at. Did you use these options at all? Do you believe that Moulthrop created Hegirascope with those reader options in mind?

Cyberspace Web Overview Creative Nonfiction related courses Last modified 1 February 2008