Third Person: Authoring and Exploring Vast Narratives

Third Person “explores strategies of vast narrative across a variety of media, including video games, television, literature, comic books, tabletop games, and digital art.”

It’s third in a series from MIT Press — see also: First Person; Second Person — but this one looks the most interesting!

Topics include: continuity, canonicity, interactivity, fan fiction, technological innovation, and cross-media phenomena. It’s divided into two halves, Authoring and Exploring, which basically map to “reading” and “writing”.

“Authoring” includes material on: Doctor Who, RPG design, navigating a “database novel”,  and distributed social cinema.

“Exploring” delves into things like: multiplicity in superhero comics, Lost and Long-Term Television Narrative, Long Narrative in World of Warcraft and Buffy, The Wire, serial storytelling, and procedural logic.

As here defined, the premise of “vast narratives” includes ideas like “narrative extent”, “world and character continuity”, “cross-media universes”, “procedural potential”, and “multiplayer interaction”. I love the idea not only of critically engaging storytelling strategies, but of using the lens of vastness — extremes of size, scale, length, duration, immersiveness — as a tool for narrative creativity.


Additional information:

  • ISBN: 978-0262232630
  • Publisher: The MIT Press

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* Independent online book marketplaces. While these sites are often lighter on data / reviews, and thus not the first place to go to learn about a book, they're a great place to actually purchase!


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