Sunday, June 3, 2012

Twitter Short Story by Jennifer Egan

I've been reading the New Yorker science fiction issue (June 4 and June 11, 2012.) Jennifer Egan has done a Twitter short story Black Box - broadcast on Twitter over a few days. Kirtley at Underwire hopes that it's the start of a return to serial fiction. I saw part of the story on the New Yorker's Page-Turner ( for June 2, 2012) and then after following @pageturner on Twitter, found the tweets. Did Twitter work for me as a way to convey this story? No... I didn't happen upon the tweets coming out in real time so I found myself reading the tweets backwards. Would it have worked if I were following the tweets in real time? Maybe. (How do I follow one person's tweets updating without seeing everyone else's tweets interspersed? I seem to be lacking some Twitter expertise.) Did the short tweets on the site at Page-Turner work for me? Not really. I had a really difficult time reading the sentences that were split in two in what seemed a extremely arbitrary way since some of the sentences were already very short. The breaks didn't seem poetic to me - maybe more like code that I was forced to break. Nevertheless I had a feeling that there was something going on with the story so I overcame my initial frustration. Once I finally saw the whole piece published in the New Yorker in print, I really got into the story!

William Gibson did a short piece in that same issue of the New Yorker about how he got into reading science fiction: Olds Rocket 88, 1950.( Now I'm trying to remember how *I* got into reading science fiction. I'm not certain! There were some Oldsmobiles in our family during the same time period. Maybe that was it! However I think it might have been Jules Verne and on from there.

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