Memories and the hyperlink structure
According to Ray Kurzweil in his book “How to Create a Mind”, memories are like hyperlink structure. Memories have the ability to be linked to each other and recall one another based on new memories (experiences). For-example, for 6 months you might have a neighbour with a funny looking moustache. Years later, walking down the street a man may pass you by who has a moustache. Suddenly, a memory of your old neighbour will pop into your head even though the man who passed you by might not at all look similar to your old neighbour. Oblivion explores the same notion. Through the hyperlink structure Lily’s memories (the protagonist) get recalled by one another.
What is a memory?
Our brain doesn’t hold on memories like a computer or a folder cabinet that one can open and browse through. In fact, memories don’t exist at all even though the entire functionality of the human brain is based on memories and experiences. Each time an individual experiences something new, a specific neurological pattern (neutrons passing messages to one another, think of it like a lightning pattern) takes place within the brain. It is the recalling of this pattern that we call memory. When an individual recalls a memory, the same neurological pattern assigned to that “memory” needs to be recreated/gets recreated. This means that each time you recall a memory, the whole experience takes place in your brain as if it was the first time. However, each time this pattern gets recreated it is a bit different from the previous ones. Hence, some researches believe that each time you recall a memory it becomes further and further away from what actually took place the first time that neurological pattern was created. In short, the memories you never recall are the safest. Oblivion was written based on this concept. The story forces the reader to remain in a state of oblivion through loops of recalling memories, not being able to tell which of the events or characters are real according to the protagonist (Lily).
Oblivion starts with the first page holding 7 hyperlinks for the reader to choose from. Each link is linked to a different page that unfolds a certain event in time while holding several links that repeats the same process. The only way the reader can know if they are traveling backward or forward in time is through the clocks. When the mouse is not moving the clocks are frozen in time. As the reader moves the mouse on the screen, the clocks are in a state of oblivion; some are moving clockwise and some counter-clockwise with varied speed. When the reader has to make a decision between which link to choose, as the mouse hovers over different links the clocks will ALL either go clockwise or counterclockwise hinting to the reader of the direction of time.
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