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“There is nothing outside the hypertext?” says Corwin dubiously.

“See, you’re underlining my point–”

“Har har.”

“–by using a multiply referential statement in everyday conversation,” says Burnside. “That sentence could have footnotes. And what’s HTML? A footnote automation device.”

“No, it’s a device for pouring Google juice into spambots.”

“You’re not even a little excited by this paradigm? All text is hyper! Great books of the future could be theme-tagged and intertextual, not just cheaply linked and shuffled–”

“I already bought version 1.0 of this browser,” says Corwin, “and it cost fifty thousand dollars and four years of my life.”