PERSONAL: Female. Education: Attended graduate writing program at Boston University.
ADDRESSES: Home—NY. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Eastgate Systems, Inc., 134 Main St., Watertown, MA 02472. E-mail—[email protected].
CAREER: Writer. Taught creative writing at Boston University; former editor for Artcommotion.com.
AWARDS, HONORS: New Media Invision Award.
Making Scenes (novel), Broadvision, 2001.
Also author of hypertext novels, including Six Sex Scenes, Alt-X Press, and What Fits, Eastgate. Contributor to online publications, including Alt-X, Iowa Review Web, and Eastgate.
SIDELIGHTS: Even before the popularity of e-novels on the Internet and other electronic media, author Adrienne Eisen had become an innovator of the hypertext novel for which she is now well known. Beginning her excursion into electronic publishing in 1992, Eisen explained to Jeffrey Yamaguchi in a Bookmouth.com interview that she started writing for CD-ROMs even before they were called CD-ROMs: "They were actually called CD-i back then, and no one could think of something to put on them. I had all this writing that didn't work as a linear novel, so I went to Philips Media—they invented CD-i—and said, 'Look, I wrote stuff for CD-i.' After that, I went to Boston University's graduate program for creative writing, and I wrote hypertext." Eisen's writing professors at the time did not seem to grasp the concept, and kept telling her to write in a linear form. However this practice proved beneficial, Eisen explained, because it "taught me how to adapt hypertext to print," which she eventually did with her first print novel, Making Scenes.
In a hypertext novel, readers can make decisions about where a story's plot goes by clicking on hyperlinks at certain points in the novel where the author has inserted them. Thus, a story can veer in unexpected directions depending, in part, on the whims of the reader. This type of writing is reflected in Eisen's Making Scenes, which can be approached linearly or non-linearly by the reader. As Beth Warrell explained in her Booklist review of the novel, "The story makes sense read front to back, but skipping around won't cause much confusion" because the story is a collection of scenes that can be read independent of each another. The basic plot of Making Scenes involves a young woman's adventures—often sexual—after she graduates from college. Suffering from bulimia and a troubled childhood during which she was the victim of incest, the heroine explores her identity and sexuality. Enjoying the "genuinely funny treatments of sex scattered throughout" the story, Curve reviewer Rachel Pepper found the vivid descriptions of bulimia and the "incestuous overtones" about the protagonist's past to be "disturbing." Nevertheless, she enjoyed the "character's smart-aleck, wise-girl tone." A Publishers Weekly contributor felt the scenes suffer from repetitiveness because of the nature of the book's background in hypertext. Although this results in a story that "isn't really going anywhere," the critic praised Eisen's "short, pithy scenes anchored by clever observation."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 1, 2002, Beth Warrell, review of Making Scenes, p. 1089.
Curve, August, 2002, Rachel Pepper, "Reads for Road-Trippers," p. 41.
Publishers Weekly, February 18, 2002, review of Making Scenes, p. 72.
Adrienne Eisen Home Page, http://www.adrienneeisen.com (July 6, 2005).
Alt-X Press, http://www.altx.com/ (July 6, 2005), review of Making Scenes.
Bookmouth.com, http://www.bookmouth.com/ (June 28, 2002), Jeffrey Yamaguchi, "An Interview with Hypertext Novelist Adrienne Eisen."