My quest to find the great tech novel — something sprawling and social and occurring inside the Teach-Up and outside the restaurant and around the home of the displaced shopowner and the H1B-visa programmer — is in itself a kind of solutionism. Novels are captured social data. You want a snapshot of nineteenth century French provincial bourgeois life? There’s an app for that: it’s called Flaubert. And that’s before we consider the novel as an aggregator of human data of the biggest, most nebulous kind. You want a map of the human heart? Whose heart? What century? There’s an app for that too.
“If you’re looking for a link to this GIF, you won’t find it here. That’s because, mid-laugh, I considered this [person] as an actual human being, moving through the world somewhere, possibly embarrassed that documentation of [their] genuine enjoyment had been repurposed into a nutty-looking punch line. I felt clammy.”
- When laughing at an epic fail is no laughing matter by Rob Walker
I want to conduct an experiment.
We often think of written fiction as timeless, crafted for history. I want to write extremely timely fiction, nearly ephemeral. I want to write a story not just set in the present, but set in this very week. Almost real-time. A serialized narrative that keeps up with the events of our world and weaves them into its tale as it goes.
But also, I want to conduct an experiment with you.
It’s not always technical walls that stop change in its tracks. Sometimes, innovation is limited by language itself. When metaphors start to die, or when we forget that they’re only tools, they can become some of the most powerful forces against innovation.