Ambient Literature

Facebook and the End of Literature is a short essay about the internet's effect on writing. A download is available here.

The essay is informed by a number of things, such as my PhD studies, Kenneth Goldsmith and the KLF, but most of all by Warren Ellis. Ellis coined the term ‘ambient fiction’ on his Bad Signal Mailing list, and the essay’s format and tone are explicitly inspired by his short book Spirit Tracks.

I wanted to talk about how literature might be changed by social media as well as the idea of ‘ambient literature’. This focusses on texture above plot and characters, and direct progression is less important. The essay is therefore divided into a series of short sections, each independent but building with the others to create a larger experience. The order of these sections should be unimportant so I wrote some software to shuffle them each time the PDF is downloaded. The argument would be less effective if presented in a single, static version of the text.

It will be fairly obvious that this isn't intended as an academic piece of writing – there's a lack of clear citation for a start. Quotations are obvious, however, and all accessible through a decent search engine.

I may make changes to the document in the future. Any significant alterations will be noted at the end of any future versions.

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