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Thumb novels: Mobile phone fiction

Check out this article about keitai shosetsu, an emergent literary form in Japan, with stories being specifically created for mobile handsets. It’s written by Barry Yourgrau, supposedly the first American author to write “thumb novels.”

thumbnovelGetty_229043tA quote from the article:

As for my keitai shosetsu experience, I learnt another lesson beside interactivity’s impact. I re-educated myself in the weight of individual words, and the power of cutting, and cutting more. Writing on a computer tends to encourage flow and verbal sprawl. I actually found myself ransacking old notebooks from the days when I first tried short (when I even embraced the term “prose poem”, quickly abandoned as unwise). The irony, and exercise, of salvaging faded pithy poetical scraps for new life on cutting-edge cellphones was a rich one.

  • John Madera is the author of Nervosities (Anti-Oedipus Press, 2024). His other fiction is published in Conjunctions, Salt Hill, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His nonfiction is published in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, New York State Council on the Arts awardee John Madera lives in New York City, Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.

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