Prof Mia Zamora
English 5081 Intro to Electronic Literature
September 27, 2016
A Review of Tailspin
As you begin the story, there is a slow and sudden appearance of the title. You see a diagram of what the inner ear looks like briefly displayed on the background. Then you see a series of revolving spirals. You hear a consistent heart beating along with a spooky musical tone at the same time. You also hear a banging of dishes. As you press each spiral, you see a few sentences along with a moving image and additional noises that corresponds to that part of the story.
Personally the background noises gave me a comforting feeling. It probably helped me connect with the old man’s situation and helped me remember I’m alive. If you look closely at the bottom part of the screen you see a circle that has a fraction shaded in. The more pages you go through, the more complete the circle becomes. When you can go to the next page a blue spiral appears to let you know to continue reading.
In comparison to the other e-lit texts we have read, it is pretty limited in hidden areas and extra portals. Even though it is relatively simple in design, it still is highly unique. On certain pages the background looks like the sky. The completion of the circle symbolizes for me the end of the old man’s life and the heart will eventually stop beating. The last thing that you can press is a red spiral. On the last page of the reading, there is a picture of what resembles an old fashioned disco player. It perhaps symbolizes the main character holding on to the past. The disco isn’t playing any music just his own imaginings. The sentence “hang onto deafness for dear life.” It’s the last on the screen.
Upon doing some brief research, I discovered that some saw this e-lit text as an example of e-lit poetry. I was instantly astonished because I didn’t see it that way. I only saw it as an actual piece of literature to read. I saw no signs of it being poetic. The spirals to me were just parts of a short story.
The old man is described as having tinnitus and partial deafness. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, tinnitus is “a condition that causes you to hear ringing or roaring sounds that only you can hear.” Upon further consideration, one can immediately sympathize with the main character. He is hearing actual noises from his grandchildren with annoying sounds that are coming from his own head. Everyone knows that children can make a lot of noise while playing together. I can only imagine how annoying the two sounds can be in unison.
I consider this piece to be interactive fiction. You get to press different areas of the texts in any order you want. You see visuals pop up and audio effects change according to the page and the spiral.
I absolutely love this piece more than the others I have read for some reason. All the craziness of the text makes it feel and look so realistic to the reader. I think even kids can read this text and have fun exploring through the reading. I definitely look forward to exploring more e-lit texts from Christine Wilks in the future.