Narrative strategies for vast fictional worlds across a variety of media, from World of Warcraft to The Wire.The ever-expanding capacities of computing offer new narrative possibilities for virtual worlds. Yet vast narratives-featuring an ongoing and intricately developed storyline, many characters, and multiple settings-did not originate with, and are not limited to, Massively Multiplayer Online Games. Thomas Mann's Joseph and His Brothers, J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Marvel's Spiderman, and the complex stories of such television shows as Dr. Who, The Sopranos, and Lost all present vast fictional worlds. Third Person explores strategies of vast narrative across a variety of media, including video games, television, literature, comic books, tabletop games, and digital art. The contributors-media and television scholars, novelists, comic creators, game designers, and others-investigate such issues as continuity, canonicity, interactivity, fan fiction, technological innovation, and cross-media phenomena. Chapters examine a range of topics, including storytelling in a multiplayer environment; narrative techniques for a 3,000,000-page novel; continuity (or the impossibility of it) in Doctor Who; managing multiple intertwined narratives in superhero comics; the spatial experience of the Final Fantasy role-playing games; World of Warcraft adventure texts created by designers and fans; and the serial storytelling of The Wire. Taken together, the multidisciplinary conversations in Third Person, along with Harrigan and Wardrip-Fruin's earlier collections First Person and Second Person, offer essential insights into how fictions are constructed and maintained in very different forms of media at the beginning of the twenty-first century.
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Pat Harrigan is a freelance writer and author of the novel Lost Clusters. Noah Wardrip-Fruin is Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and author of Expressive Processing: Digital Fictions, Computer Games, and Software Studies, forthcoming from the MIT Press. Harrigan and Wardrip-Fruin are also the coeditors of First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game (2004) and Second Person: Role-Playing and Story in Games and Playable Media (2007), both published by the MIT Press.
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