I noticed that Barry Yourgrau [the first American author to write 'thumb novels'] explains over at The Independent about Japan's craze for reading fiction on electronic devices. It made me wonder if a technological solution maybe the way forward for diversification of publishing from print to screen - especially crime and thriller fiction which lends itself to this medium.
To me, most interesting aren't the micro-tales and poems, but the attempts at an ongoing narrative in short bursts, particularly hard-boiled crime thrillers – not surprising since the genre is conventionally lean and staccato. Take the "Twiller" (for Twitter thriller), by New York Times reporter and crime writer Matt Richtel (@mrichtel). "Think Memento on a mobile," says Richtel, as his hectic little saga of amnesia and peril unspools using text lingo and real-time posting:
"I'm just outta the hospital myself, AS PATIENT. i'm walking home with JD's chip and some asshole... Tackles me near an alley, punches my face, rips my earring, rifles in my purse, screams: where is chip?! (in broken english). I reach for... my penlight in my pocket and stab his eye"
So far, book publishers haven't been tempted by Twitter fiction. What has stirred them is clever tweets (the forthcoming Twitter Wit) and business advice from wine blogger Gary Vaynerchuk, whose now 300,000-plus Twitter following got him a million-dollar deal. But the Twitter-to-book route is still in its infancy.
Will route become highway? For fiction, I doubt it. Twitter narrative strikes me as a curio amid the insider updates and celeb-following. It lacks the urgency of cultural release that has driven keitai shosetsu in Japan. And Twitter may prove something of a curio itself: 60 per cent of new users fail to return the next month, a grim augury.
Read the full piece here
Photo : Tom Cain proof-reading ‘Bloodsport’ on his Mobile Phone with [Ali Karim’s youngest daughter] Miriam acting as Cain's telecoms security and technical advisor [Harrogate 2009]