The Interactive Book (MacMillan 1997)

2007 was the ten-year anniversary of my first book, which came out the same year as my colleague Janet Murray’s Hamlet on the Holodeck (MIT Press), although it has had a much smaller following. It was a grand experiment to create a hypertext book that links historical, personal and critical insights about interactive media, and traces my experiences dating all the way back to the Schlossberg days (see Twentieth Century). My own criticism of the book is that its scope is way too large. Students who take my classes will recognize consistent themes. One of my friends sometimes introduces me as having written a book about “well . . . everything.”

Judith Lewis of L.A. Weekly (Winter Literary Supplement, 1997) called The Interactive Book a “long overdue meditation on the whole meaning of the word,” and described its format, which creates a complex web of links between small, alphabetized chapters, as “a playful way of absorbing information.” She continues: “By the time you’ve delved into most of Pearce’s chapters, you realize that all the principles of interactivity are as old as Aristotle’s Poetics, and that despite the pronouncements of pundits to the contrary, the age of exclusively linear reading can’t end, because it never really happened in the first place.”