TOC, a new-media novel according to its author Steve Tomasula, is available for sale on a DVD. It is a collaborative work with Tomasula listed as author, Stephen Farrell, design; Matt Lavoy, animation; Christian Jara, programming among many others (see http://www.tocthenovel.com/crew.html).
TOC blends written and spoken word with still and moving images, sounds, music, video clips, animations, graphics; the catalogue of various media could be made long. Thematically, it is a work concerned with time: with the representation, conceptualization, and fictionalization of temporal registers of various kinds. Its visual, verbal, and auditory registers are full of temporal metaphors and representations that intersect, blend, mirror, confuse, support, and reject each other. TOC works through various ways to measure time: through the flow of water, the ticking of a machine, the growth of hair, pregnancy. The different strands of the story appear to be allegories of our own world, but slightly out of sync. The parable of two brothers, Chronos and Logos, and their struggle for domination and the people that are borne out of their timeless fight form a framing story, and the two terms also act as visual placeholders for accessing other parts of the work. In the Chronos-section, we find the story of a woman who in various ways struggles with time and the decisions that she needs to make concerning a pregnancy, her work as a model (as she is getting older) and her husband who is in a vegetative state after an accident, and whose body is kept alive by artificial means. The Logos-section consists of short texts and videos relating short stories full of inventors and scientists, philosophers and dreamers who are all engaged in how to understand and measure time, how time relates to us as cultural practice, conjecture, idea, dream, and as personal time.
The multimedial in TOC is evident in all its various sections: there are several voices that read texts, animated images and texts that create intertextual and intervisual allusions to literary works and art. Interaction is minimal; this is not hyperfiction that offer various paths and multiple stories. The temporal registers are represented visually with the spinning, ticking wheels of a mechanical clock, or images borrowed from the medieval Book of Hours that appear simultaneously as the story about The Vogue Model and her conundrums concerning individual time vs. world time. The images augment, illustrate, and conflict with the story that is orally conveyed. Together, the voices, images, and slowly animated sequences of moving images, occasional text, and graphic elements form a multimedia work that reaches out towards other cultural practices, historical moments, and to other media forms.
TOC borrows from print novel conventions (experimental or genre fiction alike) while also alluding to audio books, literary readings, film, installation and mixed media art, and, perhaps even the more commercial languages of music videos, web design, advertising, and DVDs.