Vibrant animations, oscillating words and bursts of tremulous music all perform to the click of a mouse as children interact with the multimedia surfaces of electronic fiction. The inheritors of a vast range of diverse media through which to investigate narrative – such as picture books, songs, films, plays, audio-cassettes, novels or comic strips – children are well equipped to explore the narrative environments presented to them through advances in computer technology. While the entire range of this inheritance should be valued, many media are overlooked by official hierarchies that tend to value the printed book over all other forms of narrative. In a recent newspaper article, James Naughtie refutes the notion that contemporary children read less because they are provided with more attractive options:
… sometimes it feels as if there is a conspiracy of pessimism. Computer skills? They surely mean that the machine will supplant the book. Television? It’s the enemy of literacy. None of this need be true. Anyone who looks at the volume of good writing for children and teenagers … will realise that the urge to read is still there, and it’s being fed.