Back when I was pursuing a career as a creative writer (1994 to 2004), hyperfiction was one of but many genres and media in which I worked; among other accolades, in 1999 I was the recipient of a CAAP Grant for my work in hyperfiction (an annual grant for Chicago-area artists, sponsored jointly by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Illinois Arts Council), the first time in the history of the CAAP program that the grant had been awarded to an online writer. I have also had my work singled out for recognition by the Electronic Literature Organization, and have had various projects of mine assigned to numerous reading lists over the years in college-level experimental-literature courses, as well as numerous papers and presentations written about my work.
Below is a full list of all hyperfiction projects I have written over the years, along with a brief summary of the project, what type of hyperfiction I consider it to be, and how the project came about. They are listed in order of what I think is their quality, with those I consider the best projects listed near the top.
Creamed Corn (1998)
My only full hypernovel (or book-length hyperfiction project), although at 30,000 words it should technically be called a "hypernovella" instead. This is the story of six acquaintances who all attend the same seedy urban indie-rock club one rainy night, to see their favorite band "Creamed Corn," and all the trouble that develops as a result. It is told simultaneously from all six characters' points of view, with the story hopping backwards and forwards through time, much more like if you were actually in the club with the characters at the same time, learning the story bit-by-bit by eavesdropping on the conversations. This is the project that convinced the CAAP board to give me a grant, and also the one project most placed on course reading lists. This project is also available as an Acrobat document, which you can print out and read hyperlink-style by turning to specific pages at specific points. There is also a version for the Palm operating system, with clickable links just like the desktop version. (UPDATE, February 2006: This site is due for a major reconstruction as well, emerging with a new design that takes advantage of all the latest Web 2.0 technology (like collapsable menus to more options, better layout, etc. That will be finished and to the site by Labor Day 2006.)
What I Did Over Summer Vacation: "Creamed Corn" and the art of hyperfiction (1999)
An extremely long and detailed step-by-step guide to hyperfiction, as it relates to Creamed Corn; not only the conceptual and narrative issues involved, but even such nitty-gritty details as how I chose which phrases to turn into hyperlinks, and how its visual design evolved into what you see now. A great first stop for those interested in learning more about the literary topics that go into hyperfiction, as well as those who want to try a first project themselves. (Not yet online; coming soon.)
The Pillow Book of Jason Pettus (2000)
45 very short stories about being a kid, each on their own page and linked to the others through causally-related phrases. This was my first project to garner mainstream press attention, in that it was the first one available in hyperlink format for mobile devices (specifically as a custom channel at AvantGo.com, which still exists). No paper version of this exists, because I am still planning on doing a special "art-book" printing of this particular title (only 100 copies made, featuring handmade hard covers, Japanese-style binding and box, and color illustrations), and have still not gotten around to starting such a project yet.
The Party Game (2001)
A fun example of what can be done with hyperfiction besides traditional literary projects. Inspired by the A.I. related "Who Killed Evan Chan?" viral online game, in 2001 my friend Jude Baker and I decided to throw a costumed masquerade party in Chicago, for which one would be required to solve an online puzzle in order to learn its location and attend. This project is the puzzle as it appeared to the potential guests; the path to solving the puzzle has been left, although of course the party is now long-over and its location removed from the solution page.
The Heat Can Sure Do Some Crazy Things To You Sometimes (1997)
An experimental "story cycle," in which each of the 25 very short stories relate to the others in strange, sometimes only causal ways; this is designed in a more simple style than later projects, with random stories linked to at the bottom of each page instead of contextually within the story text. This project was specifically envisioned during its creation as a simultanous hyperfiction project for the web, book project for print, and performance project for the stage; and indeed, a standalone book version of this project also exists, and I have indeed performed many of its stories live on a stage over the years.
The Tao of Now (1999)
Another experimental book, this one combining the rhythm and pattern of slam poetry with the length and subject matter of traditional short fiction. Like the former project, this was envisioned simultaneously as a print, hyperfiction and performance project; the hyperfiction element is about as simple as hyperfiction gets, with a full clickable table of contents running at the bottom of every page found.
The Heatseeker (1998)
A long-form performance poetry project, written in a formal style of my own invention called the "Jasonette," commissioned by the Mental Graffiti poetry slam for special performance at Chicago's Madbar in the spring of 1998. Like the previous project, the style of hyperfiction used here is about as simple as it gets; the entire table of contents is simply linked to individually at the bottom of each page found. Like the others, a standalone book version of this project also exists, for those who would like to read it on paper or their mobile device.