Janet H. Murray

Janet H. Murray is Ivan Allen College Dean's Professor in the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture at Georgia Institute of Technology. She is the author of Inventing the Medium: Principles of Interaction Design as a Cultural Practice (MIT Press).

  • Hamlet on the Holodeck, Updated Edition

    Hamlet on the Holodeck, Updated Edition

    The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace

    Janet H. Murray

    An updated edition of the classic book on digital storytelling, with a new introduction and expansive chapter commentaries.

    I want to say to all the hacker-bards from every field—gamers, researchers, journalists, artists, programmers, scriptwriters, creators of authoring systems... please know that I wrote this book for you.”—Hamlet on the Holodeck, from the author's introduction to the updated edition

    Janet Murray's Hamlet on the Holodeck was instantly influential and controversial when it was first published in 1997. Ahead of its time, it accurately predicted the rise of new genres of storytelling from the convergence of traditional media forms and computing. Taking the long view of artistic innovation over decades and even centuries, it remains forward-looking in its description of the development of new artistic traditions of practice, the growth of participatory audiences, and the realization of still-emerging technologies as consumer products. This updated edition of a book the New Yorker calls a “cult classic” offers a new introduction by Murray and chapter-by-chapter commentary relating Murray's predictions and enduring design insights to the most significant storytelling innovations of the past twenty years, from long-form television to artificial intelligence to virtual reality. Murray identifies the powerful new set of expressive affordances that computing offers for the ancient human activity of storytelling and considers what would be necessary for interactive narrative to become a mature and compelling art form. Her argument met with some resistance from print loyalists and postmodern hypertext enthusiasts, and it provoked a foundational debate in the emerging field of game studies on the relationship between narrative and videogames. But since Hamlet on the Holodeck's publication, a practice that was largely speculative has been validated by academia, artistic practice, and the marketplace. In this substantially updated edition, Murray provides fresh examples of expressive digital storytelling and identifies new directions for narrative innovation.

    • Paperback $24.95 £20.00
  • Inventing the Medium

    Inventing the Medium

    Principles of Interaction Design as a Cultural Practice

    Janet H. Murray

    A foundational text offering a unified design vocabulary and a common methodology for maximizing the expressive power of digital artifacts.

    Digital artifacts from iPads to databases pervade our lives, and the design decisions that shape them affect how we think, act, communicate, and understand the world. But the pace of change has been so rapid that technical innovation is outstripping design. Interactors are often mystified and frustrated by their enticing but confusing new devices; meanwhile, product design teams struggle to articulate shared and enduring design goals. With Inventing the Medium, Janet Murray provides a unified vocabulary and a common methodology for the design of digital objects and environments. It will be an essential guide for both students and practitioners in this evolving field.

    Murray explains that innovative interaction designers should think of all objects made with bits—whether games or Web pages, robots or the latest killer apps—as belonging to a single new medium: the digital medium. Designers can speed the process of useful and lasting innovation by focusing on the collective cultural task of inventing this new medium. Exploring strategies for maximizing the expressive power of digital artifacts, Murray identifies and examines four representational affordances of digital environments that provide the core palette for designers across applications: computational procedures, user participation, navigable space, and encyclopedic capacity.

    Each chapter includes a set of Design Explorations—creative exercises for students and thought experiments for practitioners—that allow readers to apply the ideas in the chapter to particular design problems. Inventing the Medium also provides more than 200 illustrations of specific design strategies drawn from multiple genres and platforms and a glossary of design concepts.

    • Hardcover $60.00 £47.00
  • Hamlet on the Holodeck

    Hamlet on the Holodeck

    The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace

    Janet H. Murray

    Stories define how we think, play, and understand our lives. In this comprehensive and readable book—already a classic statement of the aesthetics of digital media, acclaimed by practitioners and theorists alike—Janet Murray shows how the computer is reshaping the stories we live by. Murray discusses the unique properties and pleasures of digital environments and connects them with the traditional satisfactions of narrative. She analyzes the dramatic satisfaction of participatory stories and considers what would be necessary to move interactive fiction from the formats of childish games and confusing labyrinths into a mature and compelling art form. Through a blend of imagination and techno-wizardry, Murray provides both readers and writers with a guide to the storytelling of the future.

    • Paperback $35.00 £27.00