Is the Great American Novel Possible Anymore?
That’s part of what my new column at the Internet Review of Science Fiction is about. It’s also about the internet, social networking, and cool reading devices. Check it out at http://www.irosf.com/q/zine/article/10567.
I remember when I set up a blog — of sorts — in late 2001, after the 9/11 crisis. Like a lot of Americans, I felt I had something to say on important matters, and I periodically updated the page until perhaps 2005, at which time I just stopped updating the thing. And eventually took it down.
My sense was this: the number of blogs across the Internet had exploded to such a huge degree, mine felt utterly and totally lost in the “noise” so why should I bother? It wasn’t like I was getting a lot of traffic anyway. The “noise” won.
I agree 100% that the diversity of information and entertainment available these days is, overall, a good thing. But like you, I find myself profoundly annoyed that I don’t have the time or the energy to properly absorb and digest it all. There is simply too much. Way too much. And it’s all being pushed at us so fast now!
Lately my instinct is to run away from it all and try to go back 20 years and erect a bubble wherein I can pretend that there are still only a handful of television channels, there is no internet, and things seemed both simpler and more common among lots of different people.
This is probably an unrealistic approach and I am unsure of my ability to remain disciplined enough to not check blogs and read the web as much as I’ve grown accustomed to doing.
But I do wonder at how bad things will get — in terms of social myopia — before we stabilize. Or will the funneling continue forever? People channeling deeper and deeper, down into little micro-cliques via the world wide web and texting and chat rooms and so forth?
My wife already teases me that I’m more comfortable being social on-line than I am in person. I suspect she is correct, and that I’m just part of what’s happening all over the world: a new kind of isolated socialization where nobody is ever face to face: it’s all aliases and blogs and MySpace and Facebook.
Sometimes I suspect that if civilization ever does fall — electronically — it will be the defeaning silence of the cyber-medium that will hit people the fastest. People simply won’t know what to do with themselves. There will be massive cyber-withdrawal. Depression. Suicides?
Scary, but it does seem like once a person “plugs in” on a certain level, it’s very difficult to “unplug.”
Sorry to rant. Not sure where I am going with this now.
Very good — and somewhat saddening — article, KKR.