Sunday, April 12, 2009

Connectivity and literature

There is a lot of debate, at least in Denmark, about what it means for people to live in an age where they are always connected. No matter where you go, it's possible for other peoples to get hold of you. All of this is very interesting, relevant, and certainly something I might write about in a future blogpost.

This blogpost, however, is about what the connectivity means for literature. New York Times has an interesting article on the subject.

If Only Literature Could Be a Cellphone-Free Zone

Technology is rendering obsolete some classic narrative plot devices: missed connections, miscommunications, the inability to reach someone. Such gimmicks don’t pass the smell test when even the most remote destinations have wireless coverage. (It’s Odysseus, can someone look up the way to Ithaca? Use the “no Sirens” route.)

Of what significance is the loss to storytelling if characters from Sherwood Forest to the Gates of Hell can be instantly, if not constantly, connected?

I hadn't thought of this problem, but it's true. In this day and age, you'd have to be pretty selective in location, or make some pretty plausible reasons for someone to avoid technology, for such old plot devices to work.

Go read the article, and see what the different authors have to say about this.

Entirely in spirit with the article, I found it through facebook, where M.J. Rose linked to it.

Labels: , , ,


Anonymous Dark Jaguar said...

Heh, if all this singularity nonsense actually managed to come true in the distant future, I'd like to see how writers worked around a lack of things like death and conflit as plot devices.

April 20, 2009 1:02 PM  
Blogger Kristjan Wager said...

Marta Randall actually did a good job about describing possible problems in a world with immortality in her book Islands. I highly recommend that book.

April 20, 2009 1:12 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home