Web Fiction and A Couple of Digressions

CAAF gives us the heads-up on this Slate article about Clubbo.com, “a just-launched site for a faux indie record label” that “demonstrates that it is possible to weave a story out of hyperlinks.” The article posits this most obvious and excellent question:

Why hasn’t anyone figured out how to use the Web to tell a story? Hypertext, with its built-in cross-references and interactivity, was supposed to change how we read and write fiction. After that hype faded years ago, online narrative pretty much stagnated. It’s not that Web-based fiction doesn’t present opportunities for astounding creativity. For one, the kind of density you can pack into a Web site — layers upon layers of HTML pages, photos, sound and video clips, and downloadable files — can’t be matched on the printed page. And the do-it-yourself production tools just keep getting better.

I say it’s just a matter of time. We may have to wait for the generation of kids raised with the net to grow up, though. There’s still a silly, extremely short-sighted, and pervasive snobbery about web-publishing in this generation. I can’t stand reading interviews with editors of esoteric literary magazines, particularly magazines devoted to poetry and shorter fiction, complaining that they don’t have enough money to publish a few hundred copies of their print journals. The solution is obvious — put your stuff on the web. If it’s good, it’ll reach a much wider audience than you could ever afford to reach with paper. It’ll even reach people living in the wilds of Nova Scotia! But I digress.

Speaking of digressing, you must go over to Tingle Alley right now and read the (brilliant, not to mention incisive) CAAF’s reaction to DFW’s essay “Consider the Lobster” in the current issue of Gourmet. Do NOT miss the Chile’s Disclaimer.


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