Bullet-Stopping Books: Can Literature Literally Save Your Life?

By Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg

Literary magazine Electric Literature embraces publishing in the digital age, making short fiction available on all available platforms. Co-founder Andy Hunter explains, “We have an optimistic message at a time of pessimism. As writers, we got tired of the doom and gloom. The future is not something you acquiesce to, it’s something you create.”

It's fitting, then, that this promotional video for the magazine explores the Internet-friendly theme of shooting stuff with guns. Can any of the year's fattest novels stop a bullet? What about that wild card, the Kindle? 

Online editor Benjamin Samuel describes the inspiration for the video:

The "Can a Book Save Your Life" video came out of a conversation between one of our founding editors, Scott Lindenbaum, and Jason Diamond of Vol. 1 Brooklyn. There had been a lot of large books published at the time, and they wondered if any of them could actually stop a bullet (similar to reports of bibles stopping bullets during WWII). Rather than speculate, we decided to test it out. And film it. John, the gentleman with the gun, didn't quite appreciate the joke. Witz might be the best book to take into a battlefield, but if we learned anything, it's that editors don't belong on a shooting range. Although some writers might disagree. 

The video features spokesperson Tom Shillue, and was directed by Alex Markman. Stay tuned for more videos from Electric Literature on the Atlantic Video channel

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This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/11/bullet-stopping-books-can-literature-literally-save-your-life/248049/