The Time Traveler’s Wife: Hypertext Commentary

The Time Traveler’s Wife: Hypertext Commentary

‘Hourglass’ is a digital adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife. It is a hypertext, which focuses on the individual narratives of the two main characters, Henry and Clare. I have chosen to adapt The Time Traveler’s Wife because, although there is the 2009 film adaptation of the same name, directed by Robert Schwentke staring Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams and an eBook, there aren’t any other adaptations of the book.

This adaptation was influenced by my research into hypertext. I believe hypertext can provide another dimension, which is lacking from book. For instance, the addition of audio making the characters realistic and the inclusion of interactivity with the user making choices leading to different narrative outcomes.

One inspiration for my project was mémoire involuntaire no. 1 where hypertext was used to explore a poem. It had live changes that made the text fluid rather than static and distorted/changed the user’s experience of the text. For example, the poem was a memory from a child’s perspective, but the words changed mirroring the idea that, as time goes on, when recalling a memory, words are altered and details are forgotten and then remembered when retelling. This provides a multiple experiences for the user because, each time you entered the hypertext, the narrative would vary.

This hypertext offers choices of experience in that the user can decide to experience Henry or Clare’s story with the additional extra for audio as well. The user clicks on either Henry or Clare’s profile and is then provided with diary entries that are detailed, first person, chapter summaries that I have written.

I decided to create a hypertext because this enables the users’ experience to be varied. In doing this, the amount of options/path ways is increased compared to the book’s narrative. Clare’s narrative will be linear and in chronological order. This is so the user can understand the time aspect of the book in that there are long periods of time where Henry is absent. In contrast, Henry’s narrative will be non-linear and dependent on the user’s choices. The user has three buttons at the end of each diary entry all of which lead to different diary entries. Therefore, it depends which button the user selects as to the narrative journey they experience. This is my attempt at digitally simulating ‘time traveling’.

Many people have criticised the film adaptation because ‘it misses the point of the book’. Therefore, my intention is to create an experience that allows the user to understand the unpredictability of time travel and the hardships Clare experiences always ‘being left behind…the one who stays.’