Technology and literature – the two have become closer and closer acquaintances through the use of apps and e-books. However, that’s not what I’m really talking about here today. I want to focus my attention upon the use of technology within novels. Much like before the release of BBC’s ‘Sherlock’, I feel like we’re stuck the literary equivalent of awkward cuts to phone screens or weird voice-overs. Many recent novels use texts and emails – two that spring to mind are ’50 Shades of Grey’, and Jonathan Franzen’s ‘Purity’. However, no matter how high-quality the novel and how good the author, I think it is a struggle to use them well.
I don’t know, but to me this is such a static way of reading such an interactive form of communication. It’s different to using letters in a novel, I think, because there’s (usually) less of a waiting period – it’s fast, it’s modern, and I want it done properly, dammit!
I think that we need to look less formal ways of reading in order to solve this problem. Early 2015 there was quite an experimental Sherlock fan fiction (yes, yes, I know, bear with me) that was purely made up of emails and texts. It updated in real-time, so subscribers to the story could be inundated with a flurry of emails one day, and only receive one the next should the characters be busy. Although it is perfectly readable now that the real-time updates are over, many subscribers to the story said it kept them on tenterhooks for days at a time, as they, just like the characters, waited for the next message.
I think that it could be an interesting experiment for those reading e-books in particular. Hook up your email or phone to the e-book, and once you reach an exchange of messages, opt whether to receive them in real-time or not. I think that could vastly increase the appeal of e-books to those of us who are still clinging onto our little paper darlings, and create another marriage opportunity for literature and technology.
What do you think? Let us know! Happy reading xx