How to Read the Ballad

There are three navigation methods through The Ballad of Sand and Harry Soot, and the reader may combine them in any fashion. They are:

  • the Random reading
  • the Complete reading
  • the Link-Driven reading.



Choose any gray zero from the navigation bar at the bottom of the page in any order you wish. Zeroes turn white when the pages they link to are visited. If you have read through the Ballad and would like to set your navigation bar back to gray, see the instructions below in Optimal Viewing for clearing your history.



Choose begin and click on each image until you return to the beginning of the poem. Note that on the one page where an image covers the entire background, you should click on ZaumZoom.



There are two link words on every page. The only exception is in the case of ZaumZoom, a third link word. In Version 4 browsers, links will not appear underlined and will sometimes be the same color as surrounding text. Moving your mouse over the words until you see a pointing hand will reveal the links. In Version 3 browsers, we recommend turning off underlining (see Optimal Viewing); otherwise, clicking underlined words will move you around the poem. If you find yourself landing on the same pages repeatedly, choose a gray zero from the navigation bar or click on an image to go elsewhere.



Choose coda on the navigation bar to be immersed in a very broad context for this poem. Coda links, summing up the Ballad, take you to images, statements, and URLs that move into many web spaces: algorithmic art, webcams, scale-inversion experiments, hyperbolic geometry, robot wisdom/AI, ethics of hypertext, poems of science, and more. These illumine, in their own way, the Ballad’s theme of the passionate relation between silicon- and carbon-based life.


Optimal Viewing

These pages were designed to be read with your browser's font setting at either 12 or 14 points. Other sizes may affect the poem's line breaks. If you have changed your Windows display setting to large fonts, you will need to set your browser font setting to 10 points in order to make the line breaks display correctly.

Set your browser to enable JavaScript.

For a more seamless, more exploratory experience, Netscape 3 users should set the browser to not underline links. Options/ General Preferences/ Appearance/ Link Styles includes the underlining box to check or uncheck. Leave it unchecked.

To set the link colors back to their original settings, go to the Preferences section of your browser and clear your history. Returning to begin from the navigation bar will reload the links.


Begin reading the poem.