Heroes, Hypertext, and Paradox

Monday, April 30th, 2007

Heroes introduces an interesting storytelling device: a freedom with space-time as an element of plot. Taken to extreme degree, this means that the story could move an infinite number of directions and maintain consistency given the way arcs are being developed: short within long. Within any narrative system or circle time plays a role as a link out into another circle. The skill might be to keep the bubbles growing within the larger bubble of the story world without relying too much on prevention plots or plots that attempt to cancel plots

The question is: what are the story arcs and would these pattern out as tangles within cyclical structures of hypertext, to use Mark Bernstein’s terminology. More importantly, does the persistence of the structures make for interest and the kind of questions that keep people interested.

Time in Heroes is hypertextual. In Heroes, it’s possible for a story to end within a given narrative arc. It’s also possible for that arc to be split into any number of complete stories causally independent from some other development, such as Hiro dying.

Case 1: Hiro prevents Syler from killing Claire.
Case 2: P. Petrelli arrives late, stalling Hiro from preventing Syler from killing Claire.
Case 3: P. Petrelli prevents Syler from killing Isaac, leaving Hiro in the hallway.

Case sequence doesn’t matter, nor does paradox, because the story could move to the rear or to the fore of any of the cases. The cases could also be split or forked, if Hiro could fork them.


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