Category Archives: books

The Goldilocks Curve – Umberto Tosi

From an article about the inception of digital publishing. Link to full article here: https://authorselectric.blogspot.com/2019/08/the-goldilocks-curve-umberto-tosi.html

“The creative energy of Mightywords’ self-publishers exceeded the technological innovation of the enterprise. Some of it raised eyebrows among those looking for profit curves, not necessarily cultural ones, and had envisioned MightyWords as more of a business-to-business enterprise than a retail portal — B2B being Wall Streets flavor-of-the-month at the time. (Remember, this was just prior to the current era of social media whose business model thrived on clicks and user-supplied content.

I’d give author game-creator Joseph Matheny first prize for sweepingly imaginative use of the medium to play with an entirely new literary form beyond what we concieved — or, at first, knew what to make of. To this day, Matheny declines to state whether he intended his novel-length work (Ong’s Hat: The Beginning, first offered for sale in as a book form through Mightywords), as fiction or nonfiction. Its narrative structure allows it to be enjoyed as a speculative fiction. Through hyperlinks that invite readers to various online sites in which they can interact with content, it also invites readers on an immerrsive, interactive adventure. Internet scholars and critics tag it as the first of many Alternate Reality Games (ARG), a transmedia form that has evolved in complexity and popularity over the past twenty years since Ong’s Hat was first released. (This interactivity was a stretch given the limitations of supporting digital platforms at the time – but nevertheless clearly and breathtakingly feasible in terms of its promise.)

The author spun his tale around a nontoxic, benign (Remember those?) conspiracy theory that had been floating around chat-rooms for years. The conspiracy stories purported that the real ghost town of Ong’s Hat, New Jersey, had been the site of secret experiments by rogue scientists from the underground “Institute of Chaos” who opened an interdimensional portal – using a machine dubbed “The Egg” – through which of the town’s former resident’s had disappeared. This led to a loosely structured, Internet game in which participants traded information about sighting of Ong’s Hat evidence and former residents.

Matheny’s work expanded on this plot twist. It follows characters who had used the portal to escape the town after a deadly, toxic spill from a nearby chemical factory. Instead of using roads, the characters travel inter-dimensionally. Readers are invited to use hyperlinks to track the characters’ appearances in verious other locals, as well as report their own sightings, adding to the narrative. The work remains available through Matheny’s website and other venues, including Amazon.

Regrettably, unlike the myths of Ong’s Hat, Mightywords proved ephemeral. One minute it was poised for an ISP that would made even staffers like myself who had been given founders’ stock incredibly rich overnight. The next minute it fell burning like Icarus from the Silicon Valley sun. The high tech bubble burst in 2001, taking lots of startups with it. Our backers pulled away and pressured MacAskill to close down and sell the tecchnology – sans its creative content, which was owned after all by the authors. Barnes & Noble, which had also invested in the venture, stepped forward and took away what was left of both Fatbrain and Mightywords. Ironically, this could have given B&N a competitive advantage over the then still fledgling Amazon. But B&N remained wedded to its brick-and-mortar, trad-publishing business model and let Jeff Bezos eat its lunch, as we all know now.”

Later

“One can be too far ahead of the curve. Timing is everything when it comes to technological innovation. Your new idea has to appeal to Goldilocks and be neither too hot and nor too cold. It might be different for creative ideas like Matheny’s opus. Often the greatest ideas show up in the early days of a form — like Cervantes’ Don Quixote, which remains unchallenged as the first major Western European novel and still among its greatest. Maybe if I had read Matheny’s instructions carefully enough, I could have found that interdimensional egg machine back to the some alternative future where things would have worked out differently.

There is a parallel between the mythical interdimensional disappearence of Ong’s Hat, New Jersey, and of the now vanished Mightywords, of which hardly a wisp remains onlinr. The enterprise – which had taken up two floors of a large, Silicon Valley office park building, disappeared as quickly as it had appeared all shiny and bright with its millions in venture capital loose change. I nearly forgot the plac myself as I continued on my quotidian path meanwhile, using my vaunted founder’s stock certificates as birdcage liners. Nonetheless, I’m happy to be able to say that I was there at the birth of indie digital publishing in any case. It’s also worth noting, that as far as we have come since Mightywords’ early, online book delivery system, we’ve yet to equal the creative scope of how digital storytelling could evolve online. The current platforms, however efficient, don’t allow for much Ong’s-Hat-style interdimensionality, or for inserting a modest hyperlink, or a video clip, or sound, or such that is available to me right now in writing this modest blog, even. Perhaps moving forward will involve checking back for stuff we’ve left along the curve we’re always trying to get ahead of.”

2014 Literary References to Ong’s Hat in Other Works: A Collection

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A few collected Ong’s Hat literary references from 2014. Other references pre-2014 can be found on the Reviews page. I only include the ones which directly relate to the legend as told in my works, not the historic references about the lost town itself.

Notice: Inclusion in this list in NO WAY IMPLIES AN ENDORSEMENT 

Ong’s Hat spin off novels by other writers:

Other references (non-fiction)

News and Popular Media

  • A political post from Salon, , AUG 26, 2010 which has the quote: “The summer of 1963, then, was marked by graduation from the liturgical approach of loose, liberal Christianity to the crazy quilt Moorish Orthodox Church of America, my natural next home. An offshoot or perhaps incarnation of the Moorish Science Temple, the MOCA comprised a group of jazz musicians, poets, artists, improvisational comics and a few deeply weird people like the guy with the mustache and cape (that’s all I ever knew of his identity — he much resembled Brian Stack’s “The Interrupter” from the Conan O’Brien show decades later). As an acolyte of Salvador Dali (along with one of my close friends from school, who also taught martial arts and built explosive devices), the MOCA was a natural magnet for someone like me. It’s served me well off and on over the years as it has waxed and waned as a force. The nominal headquarters still operate in Ong’s Hat, N.J., in case anyone might conceivably be interested.”

The Chromos Kids: DNA Wars! Christopher Hyatt interviewed by Joseph Matheny from the Black Book Volume III…

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Christopher Hyatt
The Chromos Kids: DNA Wars!
Christopher Hyatt interviewed by Joseph Matheny from the Black Book Volume III Galts Ark Vol 01- Joseph Matheny talks to Christopher Hyatt and Hyatt opens up to his friend  taking us all on a rollicking ride through his mind. This is one of the last interviews Hyatt did before his untimely death in 2008.

 

ScribdThe Chromos Kids: DNA Wars! Christopher Hyatt interviewed by Joseph Matheny from the Black Book Volume III…

Archive.orgHyatt Christopher Joseph Matheny The Black Book Volume III Galts Ark Vol 01 (January 1, 2008)

Full book, with more contributions from me along with other Black Books I contributed to available from Amazon and other book sellers.
Excerpt: 

Matheny: What is the cuberoot of Intelligence?

Dr. Hyatt: Mutants:
  • Leary
  • Lindner
  • Francis
  • De Sade
  • Fuller
  • Wilson
  • Matheny
  • Agents of change
  • Experimenters
  • Risk takers

Ong’s Hat eBook Now on iTunes

Ong’s Hat: The Beginning is now available on iTunes for your iPad, iPhone and other ePub compliant readers. It is reasonably priced at$4.99 USD.

I will also be releasing an official audiobook through Audible.com later this year.

All this is in preparation for a new Ong’s  Hat spin-off novel (a sort of meta-sequel) that is in the works for release early next year.

In the meantime, enjoy the “beginning” in your favorite format.

Get it here

Beats In Time: A Literary Generation’s Legacy

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My interview with legendary beat writer, Diane DiPrima is included in Beats In Time: A Literary Generation’s Legacy.

See info on Goodreads or Amazon

Robert Anton Wilson: The Lost Studio Session and other titles

51k5t+1ylpl._sy355_ Robert Anton Wilson: The Lost Studio Session

By Robert Anton Wilson
and Joseph Matheny

UPDATE: All RAW audio and video titles now available for free on Archive.org

First recorded in Chicago in 1994, this previously unreleased audio session with the renowned Robert Anton Wilson has been stored away for fifteen years…and almost lost entirely. If Bob knew how many synchronicities surround the rediscovery and release of this “lost” studio session, he would be chuckling in that half jolly, half mischievous way of his. If you believe in any kind of afterlife, maybe you can imagine him laughing right now. I like that image: Bob the laughing Buddha, still having one over on us from the great beyond. -Joseph Matheny (from the liner notes)

Continue reading Robert Anton Wilson: The Lost Studio Session and other titles

Black Book Omega: CIRQUE APOKLYPSIS

Black Book OmegaBlack Book Omega
CIRQUE APOKLYPSIS

by Christopher S. Hyatt, Ph.D. Joseph Matheny, Nick Pell, Calvin Iwema, Wes Unruh, Antero Alli

Illustrated by P. Emerson Williams, Joseph Matheny and MobiusFrame

Product Information: 56pg Booklet

ISBN-10: 1-935150-75-8
ISBN-13: 978-1-935150-75-6

At Original Falcon

Someone put a digital copy up on Scribd.

GSpot- Falcon, Falcon, Burning Bright?

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Joseph Matheny talks to Nick Thacher and Linda Miller about Falcon Press and why there appears to be two Falcon’s selling virtually the same catalogs since the death of Dr. Hyatt.

Listen to or download the show here

Also in this episode:A new In Your Ear with Psuke, and a special bonus track at the end: James Curcio presents the first installment of the Join My Cult audiobook, and releases Join My Cult as a Creative Commons PDF that you may download at Original Falcon. Also, as a side note, we were contacted after this show was recorded by an organization calling itself the New EII. Keep an eye open for an interview with them in the future.