Serialized Coupland Novella to Appear in Metro Newspaper
New outlets for an author’s work are popping up all the time, and one of the recent re-innovations is the serialized book or novella. Douglas Coupland, author of Generation X, All Families are Psychotic and the recently announced (via Twitter) Worst. Person. Ever., is the latest author to travel down this road, with a serialization of his new novella, ‘Temp,’ in the subway newspaper, Metro. His letter to the newspaper gives a taste of what’s to come:
In the next four weeks you’ll be reading the daily story of a very likeable character named Shannon. You already know Shannon — everyone knows Shannon; you may well be Shannon. She’s that slightly geeky gal who temps at every office you’ve ever worked at. She’s funny, she’s got her head screwed on right, and most of all, Shannon lives in our collective real world. She lives in the year 2013 and Shannon’s world is changing and mutating as rapidly as yours.
So far, so Coupland. He’s never been afraid of change — it's one of his primary themes — and his back catalog shows his willingness to experiment and try new formats. His letter goes on to explain why he’s trying a new way of writing and his insights are quite revealing.
Why Metro? And why me writing about a character named Shannon in Metro? Two reasons. One, I always set my books in what I call ‘the extreme present tense.’ As living creatures, the present moment is all we have. It truly is… it’s freaky and messy and weird, but it’s ours and soon enough the present tense will become the Good Old Days — so enjoy it. Two, I’m no longer sure if fiction is keeping pace with life and how we live it. I’m a born experimenter and I want to try something new to address this lack. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: As a species we’ve never been smarter, yet we’ve never felt stupider. We live in a world of devices and clouds and economic bubbles. A traditional novel will always be central to human civilization, but I get the impression a new form of storytelling is being called for. I call it dépêche fiction: fast-changing fiction. (Yes, kind of like Dépêche Mode, a band I totally like.)
I have to admit I’ve been a fan of Coupland’s work since reading Generation X all those years ago — a novel which accurately (and eerily) observed and described the generation I was part, so I’m looking forward to reading this. Do you think the serialized book/novella/experiment is a good way for writers to get their work noticed? Hey, it worked for Dickens.
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