This is my best attempt to summarize.
Recently, I've become quietly obsessed with SCP wiki. The SCP wiki purports to be the archives of a Men in Black style organization tasked with claiming, studying, and securing all the 'Wierd/Supernormal/Dangerous' shit. (Kinda like CHEMO, except a lot less killy.)
What I realized is that there are some parallels in why I enjoy and how I read the SCP-Wiki and House of Leaves. Namely, I didn't read/consume the pieces linearally so much as explored them. Because of the structure, no two people will experience a book like House of Leaves the same; in fact no two 'readings' by the same reader will yield identical paths. The SCP-Wiki, House of Leaves, and probably other works I've never heard of use explorability to add emotional power to the work, to induce existential vertigo, and to make the experience that much more interesting and unique.
Explorability in Fiction
It's not like any of this is new: people have been talking about Hyperlink fiction for at least twenty years. Moreover, mythologies are inherently explorable. I think that's one of the aspects that gives the Cthulhu mythos (and, I suspect, Slender Man) such power and appeal. We all hear about Cthulhu somewhere different (through a different entry point) and we all follow that interest into different self contained work which -nonetheless- connects into an overarching piece of explorable fiction. But I think we're going to be seeing more and more explorability even as we figure out better and better ways to reward participants and creators (even if we're not rewarding them with money, which is certainly the case with all contributors to the SCP wiki).
Nowadays, we mostly get to explore cute versions of inter-dimensional horror.
There are more techniques to infuse 'explorability:' Transmedia and Metafiction are inherently explorable as is layered fiction. Other pieces are designed to have a multiplicity of entry points (I suspect most common entry point for the SCP Wiki is SCP-173). Snippets, short segments that resist efforts to place them in an exact sequence lend themselves to exploration. Links, footnotes, fascinating sidequests, and anything else that throws the 'reader' off the obvious path.
Shared worlds seem to be the perfect place to experiment more with fiction that possesses explorability.
Explorability lends itself to a number of uses: it can give a work of fiction a sense of existential vertigo (like House of Leaves), or can simply allow for a framework where more people can contribute (like a mythos), or even give a versimilitude (which, despite its own best efforts, SCP-Wiki has in spades).
variance in interpretation, a traditional novel has a discrete path: you read one page after another until you're done. You watch one frame after another, you beat one world after another, moving forever from left to right. Increasingly however, creators are eschewing linerality in favor of explorability; and I think this will only increase as we move forward.
PS As I mentioned in my last post, I'm participating in the Trick and Treat blog event. I just want to share a fellow blogger with every post. You should check out M. Todd Gallowglas and especially enjoyed his World Con wrap up.