Sunshine 69 is a digital work written by Bobby Rabyd, published in 1996. Sunshine 69 is self-defined as "the Web's first interactive novel". This work was made using HTML coding, as well as hypertext links in order to aid the navigation of the reader. It is a work of historical fiction, as it is set in a specific period and follows characters that could have existed (ignoring the character of Lucifer who acts as an all-knowing and controlling being throughout the story). The work tells the story of the summer of 1969, carrying, from June to December. This story is set in the Great Bay Area of California and follows 8 different characters through their experiences. These experiences center around the use of psychedelics, the Vietnam War and the rock 'n' roll scene of the Rolling Stones. The work is set to a white background with red links that turn yellow once they have been clicked on. Even if a read link has been referenced in a later passage, the link will still be yellow, indicating that it was read earlier. This work involves images that correlate to the different characters, allowing the reader to infer the speaker of each individual passage. This example of an interactive online novel is revolutionary through its unique navigation.
In order to begin the journey through '69, the reader has for choices to begin with: the calendar, the people, the 8-track and the map. The graphics of these options exist at the bottom of the page. Each option of navigation gives a different form of following the story, but still uses the same passages that will show up in each navigation mode. This aspect of the work differs it from other pieces of hypertext. While the hypertext aspect still causes a linked and nonlinear reading experience, the multiple navigation routes further changes the experience of the reader. Through the calendar, the reader is able to follow the story in chronological order. Beginning with the people, the reader is able to begin the journey using a single point of view. The map allows the reader to follow the story based on the eight different locations. Using the different songs on the 8-track, the story gives specific starting passages. From there the music continues to play in the background as the reader journeys through this novel. It adds ambiance to the story, making it more immersive as music specifically made for this story plays.
Overall, these multiple options in navigation allow for many different perspectives, adding on layers of meaning and interpretation as well as allowing the reader to discover the story in their own way.
Created for Digital Literature ENGL 693 Fall 2021