Bound to be Mobile

It was bound to happen. But I don't have to read the final product to decide how I feel about it.

The first "novel"--let's call it a novelette, shall we?-- has been published via mobile phone. Not extraordinary so much as about time.

The Italian Roberto Bernocco publishes Compagni di viaggio via Lulu.com, after working from his Nokia
6630 phone (with T9 typing) for 17 months on his daily bus commute. Here is a lop-sided translation of the description of his science fiction work (aided by the broken crutch of Google language):

Adrenaline. Cold sweat. When the body produces them, it ignites the senses to the maximum intensity: it opens wide the eyes on every imperceptible shadow, stretches the ears to pick up the smallest noise. It is mysterious. You feel the noises. You feel that you move, but do not know where you are going. Where they are carrying to you. The only end: to produce fear.
And what do I think of this moblog cum novel? (Please, do not say movel!!!) Quality is up to the writer. But art can come from anywhere. I like his innovative idea of writing paragraph by paragraph. If done well, the format could be not just "novel" but also help with creating suspense and mystery for his piece. In a piece with an unreliable main character, the forward-only momentum could be useful in establishing the evolution of the character's perspective in a realistic way.

Here now for the two-cents moment. Still, I often wonder if our fast-paced and highly-integrated civilization allows for the cultivation of the kind of brash genius of a magnum-opus that requires high investment of time-- such as a classical symphony or a fundamental theoretic treatise. Academia was intended to be that store-house of high-minded slow arts; but, as my academic friends assure me, it is overrun with politics and the burning need (if not desire) to publish, publish, publish. I think we're turning down the chances (the circumstantial possibility) for another Adam Smith or Locke. Would they have survived under such excruciating deadlines-- (except perhaps if they were independently wealthy, which would have been another matter all together) --or is it more likely their attention would be drawn away from larger, systemic studies? There's too much ahistorical tinkering required to make the argument. But I do think the broader theoretic work has declined (in part because of the increase in the amount of knowledge and its segmentation into disciplines). And I don't think the need for larger interdisciplinary work has decreased, if anything it has increased, while the ability (or proper environment and support) for that kind of intellectual undertaking has been not just become more rare but directly undermined in favor of diverting talent into a more directly monetarily compensated production. OK, rant over.

All this to say, perhaps this is the trend rather than the exception. Tumblr blogs, mobile novels, and electronica. (yay, the future.) Can we can have both: sectionalize to have our bytes and pieces, but retain our

Novels are uneconomically optimal productions. And you don't need Tolstoy to tell you that.

(via Silicon Valley Insider)