Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Technology and Fiction

I recently read a contemporary romance novel, Someone Else's Fairytale by E.M. Tippets, in which the college-aged characters were constantly video-chatting on their lap-top computers. If that book had been written ten years ago, it would have been science fiction.

It used to be that I could tell a book had been written in some previous decade by the technology alone. Now I can almost pinpoint the year. When reading World War Z, I could tell it was written before social media became a massive phenomenon. If there were zombies anywhere on the planet, my Facebook friends would totally have told me about it. World War Z Publication date? 2006. I thought so.

The world is changing so fast that if you write a piece of contemporary fiction, by the time it hits the shelves it's historical. Maybe this is a good thing. As author David Farland has pointed out, the biggest best-selling novels are stories that transport the reader to another time and place. Now it's nearly impossible not to transport your reader away from here and now. Even authors who write about now can't capture now fast enough. They're writing about then already. If you want to read about now, you have to go blog trawling.

Fortunately for me, I've never wanted to write about here and now.

No comments: