Conventionally, one thinks of the author as a creator of text. The driving force behind a literary work, and in particular the narrative, is the author. The traditional narrative utilizes a linear structure, and the author writes in the order that he percieves the reader to follow the text. While we have discussed agency extensively in class, it is undeniable that the the narrative empowers the author as the dictator of fiction. The writer determines structure and form, and the writer leads the reader through the text. While the reader may be responsible for taking away meaning from the text, the groundwork is layed by the author. As we enter the age of digital technology, however, we must start to think about the function of the writer that produces digital texts. As we saw in Daniel's "Public Secrets," the linear model of the typical narrative all but dissapeared, and the author was reduced to an organizer. The author simply serves as the individual that compiles the relevant substance of the work, and the reader is the one that determines how to navigate the intricate web of information. Of course, "Public Secrets" is not a typical narrative, but it is indeed an example of hypertext.
Landrows "Hypertext and Critical Theory" discusses the role of the author quite extensively in relation to hypertext. Borrowing the term from Barthe, I would like to propose that hypertext, especially in the digital realm, may indeed by the death of the traditional author. Hypertext is the end of the hiearchial and linear organization of text, the depletion traditional frames and even inviting in endless possibilities of influence within. Derrida's influence in hypertext theory is of importance, as Landrow states that he "understands that electronic computing and other changes in media have eroded the power of the linear model and the book as related culturally dominant paradigms" (pg. 470). But what does this mean for the author, and his function within the narrative? More and more, it seems to point to the direction that digital media is heading...No longer are narratives bound to the physical limitations of pages, reliant on the author for structure. Digital media and computing can empower the reader with this task.
While it is somewhat of a stretch, I would like to use videogames as an illustration. Today, many games follow storylines. The videogame designers (the authors) construct the story line and provide the arena for the players to follow the story through gameplay, but the player (the reader!)is ultimately the individual that decides how to navigate the game. The game is not bound by a linear structure. I use this analogy because I feel that the role of the author in hypertext merely works to organize and produce a loose structure of narrative, but ultimately has little to no say in how the reader interprets or navigates the text.