While browsing through the collections of electronic literature, I opened several various works often based on interesting titles or intriguing images before finally choosing, “Like Stars in a Clear Night Sky” by Sharif Ezzat. Being very new to Electronic Literature and in the process of learning, I was drawn by the description stating that this work is a “simple and playful interrelation of form and content” – seeming like a safe place to start.
Upon entering the work, an introductory flash video begins, spoken in a foreign language with english text presented on screen. Ezzat’s bilingual speaker eagerly invites readers in to the piece, asking if they are interested in hearing a series of stories. As the narrator speaks, the black screen gradually fills with stars.
When the narration ends, the viewer is left with a filled starry night sky, the sound of wind chimes and an occasional chirping bird coming through your speakers. The smaller stars are not clickable, but upon hovering over the larger blue stars, text regarding the story associated with the individual stars will appear such as, “Shall I tell you about my love? She is near to me always.” After choosing a star such as this one and clicking it, a poem that tells each story fills the screen. This is presented basically, in simple text that pairs well with the dark night sky, the flickering and glowing stars, and the sounding chimes.
The text scrolls down easily on it’s own as you move your mouse to the bottom of the screen to continue reading. Each of the stories that are chosen and presented are beautiful and intriguing, presented in an easy to understand interface that adds ambiance and dimension to the works in a way that might not be present if they were simply printed on paper. The stories tell of love between people, places, and the environment – all of which are beautiful and moving in different ways.
Overall, it is a beautiful collection of writing that I think everyone should check out if they get the time. Especially if you are new to the concepts presented in this course, like I am, and can be easily frustrated with the more complicated games, this will simply come across as understandable, and relaxing. After reading all of the stories, I decided keep the window open and continue listening to the wind chimes and birds chirping. The calming sounds are a nice touch not only within the work paired with the author’s words, but also as a soundtrack for typing this now.
If you would like to check out and enjoy “Like Stars in a Clear Night Sky” by Shariff Ezzat like I did, click here.