New Media

Hamlet on the Holodeck

Thoughts and opinions on Janet H. Murray’s Hamlet on the Holodeck.

The holodeck is from Star Trek.

The holodeck is essentially a way for a person to be transported into an alternate world. One that is so close to reality, it might be possible to forget it is all an illusion.

It seems to me that the holonovel that Murray talks about is the same thing as the holodeck. However, the holonovel “offers a model of an art form that is based on the most powerful technology of sensory illusion imaginable but is nevertheless continuous with the larger human tradition of storytelling, stretching from the heroic bards through the nineteenth-century novelists” (26).

The last quarter of the 20th century was the beginning of the digital age. People had easier access to computers. They started to become cheaper for the everyday person to buy. The computer is an important and amazing invention. It connects people all over the world. It is easy to access information on a variety of subjects. The computer has changed the way the world works.

Murray uses It’s a Wonderful Life as her example for a multiform plot. This is a Christmas tradition in my house, we watch it every year. It is a sad story, but it does get a happy ending. The main character, George Bailey, is given the chance to see how differently life would be if he had never been born. It seems so strange to see that he had as big of an impact as he did. The story is broken into two realities, one where he lives and one where he never existed. The reality that he does not exist has no effect on the present-time reality.


When the writer engages in multiple possibilities, the reader becomes more engaged. This can cause the reader to question or second guess themselves, most of the time, this leads to discomfort. But it also stimulates the creative process in the brain. Some readers begin to analyze each and every move they make, wondering how one will effect another.

Murder mysteries are a great example of the writer purposefully making the reader second guess themselves.

Murder mysteries are one of my favorite things. They cause the reader to psychoanalyze tiny detail that they observe. Anything that seems out of the ordinary can be a clue or even something that seems a bit too normal. There are endless possibilities.


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