Fiction in the time of thumbsplints

Can fiction adequately capture how much the internet has broken our brains? I wrote an entire book of poetry about this, and it isn’t pretty. Well, the cover is. That said, could fiction do it a bit more subtly? HuffPost looks at a couple books trying.

one of the great challenges in addressing social media in fiction; it hardly sounds stimulating to read about characters strategically composing a post with the right number of question marks or considering the best dunks on the day’s Twitter main character. It reflects a part of our life that feels wasteful of time and energy, that tends to leave us feeling itchy and alienated, both from others and ourselves. In two almost mirror-image novels, critic Lauren Oyler and poet Patricia Lockwood have shouldered the task of turning the particular brain poisoning acquired online into literature.

Meanwhile, CrimeReads explores the rise of “Digital Gothic”… Like when I feel my phone buzz in my pocket and then I reach for it and realize it’s not there? Phantom Hip Buzz, I call it, but maybe it should just be called “Ghost Phone”.

We’re so used to the digital, these days, that it passes almost without notice. You’re probably reading this, after all, on a mobile phone, tablet, or laptop. Maybe you got here through a link you clicked on your Facebook or Twitter timeline, tucked in between the posts and chatter of strangers and friends.

If you’re under, say, twenty-five, you’ve always lived in a world like this. If you’re older… Well, chances are that by now, you’re used to it. For most of us, our digital devices are so familiar, they’re almost an extension of ourselves.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, they’ve even become—temporarily, at least—our only way of communicating with our family and friends: our de facto homes-inside-our-homes, the best approximation of those social spaces we’ve lost.

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