The Future of Fiction – Spring 2017

This page is for students at Weber State University who are interested in learning more about my course:

English 3750

The Future of Fiction: Literature from Print to Touchscreen

M/W/F, 11:30 – 12:20

Course Description:

What would it be like if your favorite literary character had a Twitter account? How would stories change if you could choose the order in which you read the narrative? How does our understanding of “literature” change when we read a novel designed to be read on a smartphone, or a print novel that invites us tear it into pieces and turn it into a work of art?

This course explores how contemporary writers are using media—including print books, computers, Web browsers, social media, and mobile media like smartphones and iPads—in innovative ways. We will read texts across a wide variety of platforms as we discuss how contemporary fiction forces us to reevaluate our ideas about such fundamental concepts as reading, authorship, books (and other literary platforms), and literature itself. “The Future of Fiction” also asks students to reflect on how media shape both literature and literary analysis. 

Explore some of the texts from the Reading List below:

S. by J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

In S., two readers explore the mysteries surrounding an old novel. Their story emerges as they write in the margins and pass notes and documents to each other through the book.

Arcadia by Iain Pears:

A novel written to be read on the iPad, Arcadia allows readers each reader to choose his or her pathway through the narratives of the main characters, which intersect and diverge. Part futuristic dystopia, part time-travel adventure, and part romance plot, Arcadia spans multiple time periods and settings, but all of its narratives interweave to form a whole.

(Students in “The Future of Fiction” may borrow iPad minis to read works like Arcadia.)

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

A best-selling novel, House of Leaves plays with the visual layout of page to tell immersive stories. This Gothic narrative explores the ways that storytelling, documentary, and the written word can capture experiences that seem to defy the laws of reality.

 Galerie de Difformité by Gretchen Henderson “deformance” of the novel  — Source)

Part novel and part museum, Galerie asks its readers to “deform” it, transforming it into a work of art as they navigate the hypertextual story. What, Henderson asks, is the relationship between the body of the book and the body of the reader?

You can view a gallery of some of the book-art pieces that Henderson’s previous readers have created here.

Strange Rain by Erik Loyer

Strange Rain is an iPad app that uses images, music, and touch to create a meditative  environment, in which the user can explore the concrete poetry of the rain or a story about a character standing in the rain in the middle of a crisis.

These are just a few of the innovative literary works we will read in the course.

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