Joyce's afternoon, a story, 1987, was among the first literary works of hypertext fiction to present itself as undeniably serious literature, and experimented with the short-story form in novel ways. It was created with the then-new Storyspace software, deployed the ambiguity and dubious narrator characteristic of high modernism, along with some suspense and romance elements, in a story whose meaning could change dramatically depending on the path taken through its lexias on each reading. For instance, a hard-to-find series of lexias presented a new set of facts about the narrator's actions which affects the reader's judgment of the narrator. In The New York Times, Robert Coover called afternoon "the granddaddy of hypertext fictions", while The Toronto Globe and Mail said that it "is to the hypertext interactive novel what the Gutenberg bible is to publishing." His Twilight, A Symphony (1996) was his second hypertext novel.
Joyce's published books include War outside Ireland: a novel (1982), Of two minds: hypertext pedagogy and poetics (1995), Othermindedness: the emergence of network culture (2000), Moral tales and meditations: technological parables and refractions (2001) and Foucault, in Winter, in the Linnaeus Garden (2015). He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop. He has been a Professor of English and Media Studies at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie.