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October 31, 2002

Ophelia Z

I assume (and hope) Ryan has saved all the Ophelia Z material and think he should make a serious effort to find a publisher (the old fashioned book kine) for it. Not only is it a fine work of fiction, the fact that it was such an enormously successful hoax adds extra newsworthy value.

The Internet Archive has a 1997 web page of mine, The Diary Keepers and I gotta say, Ryan surely did look a lot more glamorous in those days. :) (That photo of the sleepy Jay T remains one of my favorites in web history.)

Posted by Albert at October 31, 2002 07:25 AM


Posted by Albert on October 31, 2002 8:55 AM:

I should add that the link on that page does work. There's a considerable amount of the Ophelia Z material still available on that incredible Internet Archive, maybe even all of it.

Posted by NemesisVex on October 31, 2002 10:03 AM:

Ophelia Z's site is still online.

Not sure what kind of arrangement Pamie struck for Why Girls are Weird, which is her forthcoming novel based on her online journal writing (from what I understand), but since Ophelia's writing has already been available online, the first-time publishing rights might be something of an issue. Or not. Doesn't hurt to send some query letters.

Posted by Ryan on October 31, 2002 10:07 AM:

Gee whiz. (Cowering meekly.) I had all but entirely forgotten the possibility that there were people who didn't know who the true author of oZ Diary was.

When the truth "came out" in May 1999 on the infamous DIARY-L mailing list, it caused quite a stir. While many folks said they should have figured (given how both Kat and I were so community minded about online journals), and others were merely tickled, quite a few people were downright pissed.

I made a lot of folks angry, and many felt betrayed... some of them equally esteemed veterans in the online diary world, and people I admired and had fostered quite real friendships with.

It's amazing what time does, though. At the time, I was quite sick over it all. Now, it all just seems so quaint.

As for publishing, while I'm flattered, I doubt it. It wasn't that good, and it's an unfinished story at that! What would be more interesting would be everything that went with it, like the interactions with fellow webmasters, admirers and detractors, and the media, and quite possibly the reaction to the truth.

The revelation caused quite a bit of analysis and introspection: What is real? What matters? The same questions that were prompted by subsequent hoaxes in the journaling and blogging community. Anyone remember Kaycee Nicole?

I collected links to some of the reactions at the bottom of this page, which, I think, I've never publicly linked before posting this very comment.

Sadly, though, the aforementioned correspondence and suchlike is most assuredly off limits. Legal implications notwithstanding, I came to treasure a lot of the relationships I built as Kat, fake as she turned out to be.

Posted by Albert on October 31, 2002 12:10 PM:

"It wasn't that good"

I disagree, Ryan. But I do agree a more expansive treatment would also be an interesting book. Not necessary though.

I enjoyed reading your "confessional"page, but many of the links at the bottom no longer exist.

As for something being publishable even though it exists on the web, I don't think that is an issue. The new copyright law gives the writer the rights to the work no matter how it first appears.

Posted by NemesisVex on October 31, 2002 8:02 PM:

That's not quite the issue I was addressing. Some publishers would rather be the first to have a crack at piece of writing. If something has appeared previously in another publication, they're less likely to pick it up. Others might be willing to re-print, so it's a matter of querying the right publisher.

Posted by macpro on November 1, 2002 9:37 PM:

I remember this Ophelia Z name being quite prominent on several old BBS's before many of us made it to the internet. Perhaps Ryan, you may want to dig that old Mac IIsi out of your brother's closet to see if any of your old files regarding this fictitious person exists.

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