Shadows of the Amorous is an Arabic electronic novel and the fourth piece by the Jordanian author Mohamed Sanajleh, which together he classifies as a “Digital Reality Novel.”
The main theme of this electronic novel is to discuss the bloody history of humanity and its relationship to God since the genesis till the present moment. This piece raises strong philosophical questions such as the meaning of life and the relationship between man and God. Theoretically, this text starts in 750 BC with a war between the king of Israel, Ahab son of Omri, and the king of Moab (Jordan) Mica Ben Kmuchet and goes on till the burning of the Jordanian pilot Maaz Kasasbeh in 2015 by Daesh.
This piece starts with a cinematic and graphic introduction that the reader cannot skip. Accompanied with music, it introduces the title of the novel in addition to its genre as a digital reality novel and the name of the author. Next, a map of the old world where the incidents take place appears on the screen, interrupted by some graphic soldiers on horseback. A one-paragraph historical introduction appears on the screen before the reader gets access to the main text of this piece, which is a hypertext with many embedded notes and hyperlinks. The interface is a hypertext that can be scrolled down and on the right hand, there is an icon that gives access to three different readings or plots of the novel. The first reading represents a man fights his fears, while the second reading is a mystic contemplation. Finally, the third reading is a sad conversation between Kmuchet and another unknown voice.
The main page of the website of the novel has many links that ask the reader to correspond with some characters of the novel or the author, to write a criticism of the novel or a comment, to read an introduction by the famous digital critic Zohour Gourram, to write a different end of the novel, and many other points. What is significant about this novel is its final scene when a kid gets bored after playing a video game to the extent that he throws the remote control device from his hands and a message appears on the screen in English: “Game Over: You are defeated, play again? Yes or No?” The connotations of this scene throw their shadows on the absurdity of the human life, as if it’s a game.
The author Mohamed Sanajleh employed many different digital programs and languages such as animation, graphics, Macromedia Flash program, clips of the game Age of Empires, and clips from films such as Lord of the Rings. Shadows of the Amorous comes as a continuation of Sanajleh’s digital approach, “Digital Reality Novel,” that started in 2001 with issuing the first Arabic digital piece Shadows of the One. By his theoretical project entitled the “Digital Reality Novel,” Sanajleh means to use hypertext in the non-linear construction of the digital novel and to discuss the theme of the reality of man in his/her struggle on earth.