a novel for the Internet about London Underground in seven cars and a crash
253 – this is how Geoff Ryman conceived the story on Bakerloo Line.
Each strand of the Tube has such unique names, appearances and characters with their similarities and differences.
253 travels from Embankment station to the Elephant and Castle on January 11th 1995 with 252 passengers taking up all the seats and the driver. Bakerloo line employs the 1972 stock composed of 7 carriages each with 36 seats.
36 x 7 + 1 = 253
The formula is also applied to describe those 253 people each in 253 words.
This carefully calculated 253 provides a structure and an order which temporarily shelter those 253 passengers from the urban city life outside.
You hop on the Tube. While we are comfortably seated, our eyes won’t stay still. They go on a voyeuristic adventure. Do you feel the eyes upon you? Do your eyes meet with others? Did you just look away?
The original hypertext of 253 created in 1996 has granted the readers the power of omniscience and authorship to create a narrative of their own choosing.
As if you could be one of 253, you decide where to sit on the train and engross yourself in your world. Look at #23 Miss Yoshi Kamimura, London and Japan. If I were one of 253, I would probably have a label of Japanese and Union Jack. If I could sit elsewhere in the carriage, I would sit right next to the door as I like having one side to myself without worrying about my allocated space and the boundaries between me and others on my sides.
253 became available in 1998 with an index still allowing the readers to start their journey however they wanted.
This is your journey. You may acquaint yourself with a few passengers at a time. You may flick through it like a catalogue.
253 represents an illusion of those passers-by who we encounter in our lives. Those fleeting people in the passing moments. The others vividly remain in our memories.
Where would you start? Are you one of the 253? What is your journey going to be? Care to share your journey?
Welcome to 253.
Enjoy your ride.