Ergodic literature is a term coined by Espen J. Aarseth in his 1997 book Cybertext—Perspectives on Ergodic Literature to describe literature in which nontrivial effort is required for the reader to traverse the text. The term is derived from the Greek words ergon, meaning “work”, and hodos, meaning “path”. It is associated with the concept of cybertext and describes a cybertextual process that includes a semiotic sequence that the concepts of “reading” do not account for.

can be paper-based on electronic; medium does not dictate whether a piece of work is ergodic or not.

Cybertext vs Ergodic

cybertext is a PART of ergodic literature according to Aarseth. Cybertext is a sub category and refers to “texts that involve calculation in their production of scriptons”. He said that ELIZA could be considered cybertext as it calculates and produces responses on the fly.

Simple hypertext fiction is not cybertext but is ergodic

Notable examples

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

see also: Concrete Poetry hypertext interactive fiction