CUTTING-EDGE LITERARY NEWS FROM AROUND THE GLOBAL VILLAGE
by Guillaume Destot & Andrew Gallix
Buzzwords is dedicated to Alexandre Destoins (1968-2000). R.I.P.
Copyright © 2001, 3 A.M. MAGAZINE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
ADRIENNE EISEN’S HYPERTEXTS
Mark Amerika, who is interviewed in the next issue of 3 AM Magazine, has described Adrienne Eisen’s avant-pop hypertexts as “subversive narrative journeys into the mind of a contemporary twentysomething woman whose erotic encounters are charged with a post-feminist satirical edge that cuts deep into the American psyche.” Adrienne is the only hypertext writer to have won the New Media Invision Award and appears frequently at events such as PEN West and the Darmouth Institute for Advanced Graduate Studies. Her latest hypertextual stories , Winter Break and Other Stories, are online at: www.apc.net/adrienne. Adrienne Eisen’s first print novel, Making Scenes, is also available online. Don’t miss our interview in the next issue of 3 AM Magazine.
Read about the trAce / Alt-X Competition in the Britlit section.
ET TU, BRUTE
More sci-fi, to start with. Remember last issue, and our item on the new software that spews out verse by the dozen? Well this time it’s for short story writers to start worrying about their survival. Brutus, a computer with a mildly aggressive name, can produce up to one new story every 15 seconds. Its creator, Selmer Bringsjord, spent seven years devising his creature, but it is a pretty impressive performance all the same. Many people, when asked to spot one of Brutus’s stories amid a collection of human-written ones, fail to do so. This was the case of Giles Gordon, Fay Weldon’s literary agent. For the moment, however, Brutus can only write about hate and betrayal, concepts, which can be boiled down mathematical models. The problem as we see it is: will they find an audience ready to gobble down one betrayal story every 15 seconds? And if not, what’s the use of all this? Maybe they’ll have to create a robot reader, so that human beings can go on being lazy and pursuing more philistine ends. We’re on the road to efficiency.
THE GRIM MONEY REAPER
In July, Stephen King released the first instalment of his new story, “The Plant”, which you can download for a dollar (75p). King, whose first electronic publication was pirated by hackers, warns readers that the serial may be discontinued if they fail to pay up or if “response is weak.” He also writes that the story will be cancelled in the event of the author’s death! Does this mean that for Stephen King, who recently suffered injuries after being hit by a van, commercial failure equals physical death? Some 150,000 people have already downloaded “The Plant.” His short story, “Riding the Bullet,” has had more than 500,000 downloads. This should give Mr King a good reason to go on living and writing.
Stephen King is only riding the swelling wave of internet book publishing. Two of the world’s biggest publishing houses, Random House and Time Warner Trade Publishing have recently announced that they were starting their very own e-book imprints. Random House is to launch @Random in early 2001. @Random will publish new work by famous writers (such as Elizabeth Wurtzel of Prozac Nation fame). Random House will still publish paperback versions of their e-books, however, for a dog-eared palmtop is not as easy to get as a dog-eared paperback, and boy do we like to destroy our books as we proceed through them. Don’t we? These paperbacks, however, will only be printed on demand and will not be available in bookshops. Time Warner’s e-book imprint will be called iPublish (therefore I earn). It goes online in May 2001.
TROLLOPE ON VIDEO
Acorn Media are releasing the BBC’s adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s The Pallisers on home video.
Dave Eggers’ A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, the best book published this year, has made it on to The Guardian’s First Book Award long list . . .
Current Buzzwords favourites from the USA:
—Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (Simon & Schuster, 2000).
—Aleksandar Hemon, The Question of Bruno (Doubleday, 2000).
£1000 FOR NEW MEDIA WRITING
The deadline for entries for the Second trAce / Alt-X Competition for New Media Writing is September 30th 2000. They are looking for work that stretches “preconceived notions of what writing is.” The competition will be judged by Shelley Jackson (writer and multimedia artist) and the winner (to be announced in December) will pocket £1000!
After the first competition in 1999, Mark Amerika, (Director of the Alt-X Online Network) stated that the submissions proved that “a new form of narrative art” was “emerging in cyberspace,” one which “equally borrows from the literary, performing, conceptual and visual arts, but that is also experimenting with the Net as a unique medium with its own compositional potential.” Sue Thomas (Director of trAce, interviewed in 3 AM’s third issue) spoke of “a new breed of artist” combining “science and art to the highest advantage”: “It’s thrilling to see just what can happen when writers become programmers and vice-versa.”
For more info: http://trace.ntu.ac.uk/comp.html
The trAce Survey into Writers and the Internet closes on October 1st. Let them know how you use the Internet as a writer:
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO ALISTAIR GENTRY?
One of 3 AM’s favourite young writers, Alistair Gentry talks to us about NonAmbient, the digital sound installation commissioned by New Media Scotland which is at the Changing Room gallery in Stirling between 30th September and 18th November: “I think it’s going to be quite unusual in that there’s a reading room attached to the show/gallery, so visitors can read my websites and books - or just sit for as long as they like - while they listen to the work. I suppose in a way I’m installing myself.” Another one of his projects, 100 Black Boxes (see 3 AM Magazine2, June-July 2000) is one year old: “it’s remained popular and gathered readers from every continent on the planet, with the understandable exception of Antarctica. It’s now got an index of first lines for all the people who emailed me about not being able to find their favourite death.” Watch out for Alistair Gentry’s The Nothings. More about that in the next issue.
FIRST BOOK AWARD
The Guardian’s First Book Award long list also includes, among others, Zadie Smith’s White
>> Next Page