The Virtues of Getting Lost
In case you miss Janice Walker's point, she writes at the end of the first page, "I hope my reader gets lost." If you click on this link, you find the following text:
Lost? Good. Part of what I hope for is that my readers will come away with questions about how hypertext and paper texts translate, the awkwardness of using textual features (such as notes) in hypertextual "documents," questions about the effectiveness, or frustration, of "getting lost."
Cindy Wambeam, in reviewing this hypertext for Kairos, noted that the buttons pointing in different directions are meaningless in hypertexts. This is precisely my point in using them. As you may have discovered, there is no logic whatsoever to where the buttons will take you and, often, the <-- and -- > buttons lead to works entirely outside the text itself. And the "Back" button is "not connected yet."
However, at the request of the Kairos editors, I offer the reader a choice. On the bottom of each "page" I have included a "chicken" button. If you are having trouble navigating, and in order to ensure that you have found all the links that make up this hypertext, this button will take you to a traditional hypertext table of contents. I hope, however, that you will use it only as a last resort. ("Fanning the Flames")
Walker here is deliberately critiquing (and making fun of) linear forms of organizing hypertext. I confess to having chickened out several times while reading her webtext.
For what it's worth, my experience over the years has been that exploratory forms of hypertext are much more amenable to creative writing than to academic articles or technical communication documents. I once taught a Storyspace unit in a hypertext class of creative writing and technical writing students. The former slid easily into the software, while the latter struggled. We found that we could follow the links through Storyspace collections of poems or fictions in a seemingly random manner and get a lot out of the experience. The same sort of wandering was much more difficult to put to use in a Storyspace-built tutorial or reference guide.