Today in publishing and literature: Freedom author deems Twitter 'the ultimate irresponsible medium,' new short fiction from Margaret Atwood confirms life in the not-too-distant-future is still bleak, and one of the mystery genre's great forgotten masters could be getting new life on the big screen.
You can read an excerpt from "I'm Starved for You," the just-released piece of short fiction by Margaret Atwood, for free at Byliner. The full story -- which involves the dystopian future, a walled city that's also a prison, and one man's growing obsession with an unseen woman -- is available to download for $2.99 at Amazon, Apple's iBookstore, and BarnesandNoble.com. The excerpt isn't long, but fans of Atwood's brand of speculative fiction will be delighted to hear about the concept of "the Alternates," who live in your house and touch your things while you're off participating in the mock prison portion of life in the walled city. [Byliner]
In a speech Monday at Tulane University, author Jonathan Franzen briefly shared his thoughts on Twitter, which were not particularly positive. Author Jami Attenberg was there and jotted down Franzen's comments for a blog post, in which the Freedom author delivered this roundhouse kick to the Twitterverse's solar plexus.
"Twitter is unspeakably irritating. Twitter stands for everything I oppose…it’s hard to cite facts or create an argument in 140 characters…it’s like if Kafka had decided to make a video semaphoring The Metamorphosis. Or it’s like writing a novel without the letter ‘P’…It’s the ultimate irresponsible medium."
We'll give him irritating, but only during award shows and on election nights when everyone makes the same joke. We're unsure what the Kafka metaphor has to do with anything, other than allowing Jonathan Franzen to use "semamorphing" in a sentence. As for Twitter being an "irresponsible medium," that's sort of true, but a bit like calling fire "the ultimate irresponsible process of combustion." Most people on twitter -- or at least people in positions of influence on Twitter -- wield their 140 characters in a responsible manner. Which on Twitter, can mean starting a parody account for a notable person or building, getting into a spat in a highly public manner over a minor issue, or noting silly things said by girls and/or your elderly father. Mischief is part of the fun, but there are also things even Jonathan Franzen would find interesting, like the @CornellBirds, the official Twitter account for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and @DerSpiegel, the non-English version of Der Spiegel newspaper, and @St_Louis_News, which details the various happenings in the 27th city.[Jami Attenberg via Galleycat]