A Modern Moral Fairy Tale
Citation: Larsen, Deena and MaJe Larsen. “A Modern Moral Fairy Tale.” Hyperrhiz: New Media Cultures, no. 11, 2015. doi:10.20415/hyp/011.g05
Abstract: A Modern Moral Fairy Tale is, on the surface, a simple story of a boy tempted by the internet and then left to the worst fate possible in the 21st century — that of being left unconnected to the net. Under this surface lurks a very structured work, with two parallel lines of 18 (chai) nodes. Each node has four parts: text/image, metatext description, keywords, and a secondary story using the alt text of the navigation links within the graphic. So be sure to look under the hood for the (un)revealing of the code.
To aid the reader and, in the full spirit of accessibility, most of the text is inventoried in two nodes, one for the boy and one for the salmon. The boy's stories are designed as a warning about the use/overuse/abuse of the internet in cybersecurity, pedagogical, ontological, and lacustrine environments. Deena thought this was a fine cynical commentary and enough was said. However, MaJe thought that was just too dark, and she wanted to temper this warning with a comparison to the beauty of a spiritual, salmonic path that needs no electronic connections—as reflected in the Official History of Salmon in Clear Water Ravines.
In 2006, Deena took MaJe to her cramped and messy apartment on their first date. MaJe walked in, declined tea or anything else, and immediately started to unravel the three-dimensional structures and meanings inherent in Disappearing Rain. Of course, after that, they had to get "married."
As a writer and stargazer, MaJe eagerly took to the intricacies of electronic literature. In a paroxysm of energy, she outlined an ambitious hypertext on spirituality, tying the entire universe together with a Gordian knot of wisdom. Her favorite hours were spent planning that work. Grappling with her returning cancer, she had to put this work on the shelf. Modern Moral Fairy Tales was supposed to be a very simple exercise, one she could do with Deena during the woes of chemotherapy. Unfortunately, it got very complicated very quickly, and Deena and MaJe had to wait for the worst of the chemofog to clear. In August 2010, they had a mountain retreat at Strawberry Hot Springs, Colorado, and discovered that the cancer had returned. MaJe would need to return to the horrors of the drip. During the two weeks they had off-grid and off-meds, they wrote and polished the eighteen simultaneous and parallel story threads with merely a crumpled and stained printout of an excel spreadsheet to guide them.
In anticipation of this publication's request for a bio, MaJe wrote in A Modern Moral Fairy Tale:
Starsea Starsinger, denizen of the deeper depths
left us last night.
She listened to the voices of the stars,
who shared their vast store of nurturing love
learned from their own migrations
from generations both old and new.