Friday, October 5, 2007

Fiction on the Net

I had intended for this blog to focus on books I've read, but I am coming to realize that there is an abundance of material on the net for me to comment on.

In fact, I am only now starting to see the web really begin to display the sort of revolutionary fiction you'd expect out of such a revolutionary medium. Keep in mind that the internet is the first medium for communication that is both a true mass medium and genuinely interactive. We're seeing a rise in egalitarianism as a result (the very fact that you are reading a blog is evidence of this.)

I see two main innovations in fiction on the net (so far). The first is that writers who appeal to a quirky, small, or otherwise non-mainstream audience are able to reach readers on a wide scale, and in a way that is not possible with the traditional print media. This is true of any successful writer with prose (or poetry, though I have less interest) on the net. However, someone who has caught my eye is Jeff Harrell, who, in a Vonnegut-esque fashion has titled his collection of stories "Lies that are true". His stories are here. I particularly suggest "When Alone Was Forgotten," "Cheshire Smile," and "The Slow Ones."

The other innovation I see is very similar to what many webcomics have been doing for a while - that is, using lengths and formats that would be inappropriate for print. A prime example of this is Lexy Erin's writing, particularly her superhero serial Star Harbor Nights, as well as the superior (and currently updating) Tales Of MU. Lexy's writing is certainly an example of an author reaching a readership largely unavailable through print, but she is also writing serials. Each "chapter" is roughly the length of a short novel chapter, but she is in the third book of "MU," and, while the writing would occupy three volumes, the pacing is quite different from that of your average novel. The day to day narratives that get lost in a novel are fully explored here, and, while I have no inside knowledge, I can easily imagine the entire arc of a novel-length plot, but with each smaller sidestory fully developed. I think the format lends itself to empathy with the characters, because it is easy to feel like you are living their lives alongside them.

Again, check out Lies that are true and Tales Of MU.

PS - Tales of MU can be a bit... involved, particularly in the more recent chapters - to the point that they're nsfw. I would say that if you're easily offend you should avoid it, but, frankly, if you're easily offended, I'm not sure why you're reading this blog.


Anonymous said...

I see the internet more as a test run for ideas in fictions. To see how different forms and ideas for works are received, as well as a place for new writers to test the waters. Then when that’s figured out I’d hope they’d try to get published. But now that I say that, it seems silly for someone to limit themselves to paper. The internet reaches a much wider audience… Any way I read Tales of MU and it was well done and I’ve never thought to think of its format playing any role in it. But thinking back on it, it dose doesn’t it?

2 Floors up said...

I haven't read much fiction on the web because well... I don't have the time. But for a more conversational reason. Though very good works may exist they can be challenging to find in the vast sea of stuff floating around. It requires a great invenstment of time to find something worthy of greater attention.

this problem is prevelant in books as well, but because there is such a long, hard production cost and broad audiance its not as hard to find good books to read once you know what you like. This i where the internet has really helped me. Searching for authors or seriers liked by people who have similar taste to me. might list similar books to lift sales, but those lists supply a starting point.

Xeno said...

2 floors:

I understand the difficulty of wading through less than savory prose during the search for something better. In fact, that's one reason I started this blog. I've already seen a lot of the muck, and I'll continue to see more - I'd like to share the gems I've found in the process. That way, folks like you can read the good stuff without slogging through the crap.