DISSERTATION: Provisional Structure

Introduction: Doing Literature as (New) Media

Fictions of Mediation and Remediation, 1759-2000

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1759-67)

Wired Love: A Romance of Dots and Dashes (1880)

Stand on Zanzibar (1968)

If on a winter’s night a traveler (1981/79)

Neuromancer (1984)

House of Leaves (2000)

Methodology: Textual Analysis in the 21st Century

JPod (2006)

Generation A (2009)


(secondary orality; network culture; McLuhan’s global village; the novel and contemporary society)

(the a/temporalities of new media; attention; neuroplasticity; moral panics about new media)

(intertextuality; paratextuality; hypertext; the Google aura; reappraising realism)

Conclusions: Remediation and the Contemporary Novel

'The book is dead ... long live the book!'

In the beginning was the Word. Then came Gutenberg, and it was good. But then came a giddy army of Japanese school girls, writing and “publishing” novels on cell phones…’

— John Barber, ‘The book is dead … long live the book!’, The Globe and Mail, 18/06/2010

ANALYSIS: Shaviro on ‘Post-Cinematic Affect’ (Shaviro, 2010: 2)

'Digital technologies, together with neoliberal economic relations, have given birth to radically new ways of manufacturing and articulating lived experience. I would like to use the (…) works I have mentioned in order to get a better sense of these changes: to look at developments that are so new and unfamiliar that we scarcely have the vocabulary to describe them, and yet that have become so common, and so ubiquitous, that we tend not even notice them any longer. My larger aim to develop an account of what it feels like to live in the early twenty-first century.’

— Steven Shaviro, 2010, ‘Post-Cinematic Affect: On Grace Jones, Boarding Gate and Southland Tales,’ Film-Philosophy, Vol. 14 (1), p. 2.

EXCERPT: ‘I stole most of that last paragraph from the internet’ (Coupland, 2009: 4)

"By the way, welcome to Oskaloosa and all the many features that make Oskaloosa a terrific place to visit. There’s something for everyone here, from the historic city square with its bandstand to the George Daily Auditorium, the award-winning Oskaloosa Public Library, William Penn University and three golf courses.

I stole most of that last paragraph from the internet. What the town’s home page forgot to mention was my father’s meth distillery (“lab” makes it sound so Cletus-&-Brandeen), which got busted by the DEA a few years back. Dad and the DEA never got along too well.”

— Douglas Coupland, Generation A (2009), p. 4. (emphasis mine)



'I stole most of that last paragraph from the internet'*: Does the representation of digital media in twenty-first century fiction constitute a remediation of the form?

It’s still clumsy, but I think I’m starting to make progress.

(*Douglas Coupland, 2009, Generation A, p. 4)

'Texts Without Context'

'THESE NEW BOOKS share a concern with how digital media are reshaping our political and social landscape, molding art and entertainment, even affecting the methodology of scholarship and research. They examine the consequences of the fragmentation of data that the Web produces, as news articles, novels and record albums are broken down into bits and bytes; the growing emphasis on immediacy and real-time responses; the rising tide of data and information that permeates our lives; and the emphasis that blogging and partisan political Web sites place on subjectivity.'

— Michiko Kakutani, ‘Texts Without Context’, The New York Times, 17/03/2010

'Nation Shudders At Large Block Of Uninterrupted Text'

'Dumbfounded citizens from Maine to California gazed helplessly at the frightening chunk of print, unsure of what to do next. Without an illustration, chart, or embedded YouTube video to ease them in, millions were frozen in place, terrified by the sight of one long, unbroken string of English words.'

The Onion, 09/03/2010


Spring 8 weeknotes (figuratively) shredded by supervisor.

Basic points:

- My comments on the remediation of fact & fiction imply that it is something new, where fiction has always been a product of its world. Important not to get snared by the “technology changed everything!” rhetoric.

- Instead, treat fiction as any other medium. Remediation of the boundaries between media, where one is the novel. BOUNDARIES. Boundaries between things. Boundaries of things.

- Remediation isn’t an answer, but a question. Bolter & Grusin’s book is old (2000) and flawed, but it’s the best we’ve got.

- So, look at continuity and change. HOW … TO WHAT EXTENT … is contemporary fiction caught up in processes of remediation?

- In which case, cyberpunk is only one strand of what’s going on. Think DeLillo, Pynchon, Calvino. Science fiction and cyberpunk may be on the front lines, due to their pre-existing textual engagement with technology, but that isn’t to say that they are all there is.

- What is at stake in the remediation of books and computers? How is the field changing in relation to computing and new media technologies?

- This is a mapping exercise. An exploration of a field of enquiry — the answers will be description / explanation as much as analysis.

My brain hurts. On the plus side, this all sounds remarkably similar to bookfuturism, so at least I’m not working in a total vacuum.

'Reading "The Caryatids" by Bruce Sterling'

'The novel is an insightful extrapolation of our present: the description of the faction (through each character in the 3 chapters) is a good example of how todays trends could evolve in the mid-term. We have networked-participative-ecofriendly Acquis, futile-wired-greedy Dispensation and Nation-State China who all have their own approaches to see the world. After Distraction and its “Moderators versus Regulators” factions, Sterling keeps exploring social and political differences of the near future. Like a foresight research report with a 3-scenarios structure, the book offer different visions of how tackling today’s world problems can be achieved through differently. Of course, these 3 responses correspond to existing forces at play nowadays.'

— Nicolas Nova, ‘Reading “The Caryatids” by Bruce Sterling’, Pasta&Vinegar, 07/06/2009

DISSERTATION: Provisional Structure
ANALYSIS: Shaviro on ‘Post-Cinematic Affect’ (Shaviro, 2010: 2)
EXCERPT: ‘I stole most of that last paragraph from the internet’ (Coupland, 2009: 4)


Notes for an MA dissertation on contemporary science fiction and the technoculture.