The future of the novel

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-19341965

The future of the novel is clearly a hot topic, and has been for some time. This report from the Edinburgh Book Festival highlights some interesting opinions, particularly with reference to my post on the idea of interactive books a few days ago. The connection between new and ever changing technologies and the fact that retailers are apparently taking fewer risks seems to cast a shadow over the future of the novel, interactive or otherwise, and as reported here, it also makes the future work of writers more difficult, as those who don’t already have a fan base may struggle to make enough of a living to continue. There clearly needs to be a balance, but really we are only at the beginning of this new way of thinking so perhaps can’t predict trends so accurately. Time will tell.

Something else picked up on here is the rising phenomenon of the reader becoming the author and the use of the internet as a platform for such work. I’m not particularly against this, but there has always been something unsettling to me about books like Fifty Shades of Grey topping the bestseller list. I think this report hits the nail on the head with author Ewan Morrison’s point – when the reader becomes the writer, we end up with a situation where new ideas aren’t being generated. They are just re-writing something that a lot of people already liked anyway.  This may sound harsh, but to me, this seems just a little bit like cheating…

 

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