Fictional Internet

Haven't you always wondered what reality shows would be like if people could use their iPhones? Movies too, right? Sometimes I'm sure Geocities exists in the cinematic world. Says Laura Miller in the Guardian, "We spend hours on the web, but you wouldn't know that from reading contemporary fiction."

With the exception of Jonathan Franzen's Freedom and Chris Ware's Lint, I haven't read much fiction that deals with the complicated speed of life with Twitter. Granted, there are some works that are more futuristic, speculative, and that consider digital technology... but more as a metaphor for some existential or political argument.

Miller's piece must be one of the first that finally says, Hey authors, stop trying to kid us.
"High Fidelity, with its once-hip record-store setting, has been transformed into a nostalgic artefact by the advent of downloadable music files. (Where do guys like that congregate these days?) Some vast number of people now meet their partners through the rationalised sifting of online dating services rather than haphazardly, at parties or bars. Smartphones prevent us from ever getting lost, unintentionally or on purpose. Social networking routinely returns long-gone friends, lovers and enemies into the unfolding of our present-day lives. People we've met in person once – or never – start to seem like bona fide pals, and unlike the "friends" we once fantasised TV characters to be, these people friend us right back."
What makes the medium different than say, television?
It is what the internet lures out of us – hubris, daydreams, avarice, obsessions – that makes it so potent and so volatile. TV's power is serenely impervious; it does all the talking, and we can only listen or turn it off. But the internet is at least partly us; we write it as well as read it, perform for it as well as watch it, create it as well as consume it.
Miller's piece does a wide survey of how recent American and British fiction has begun to acknowledge the irresistible pull of online shopping, and the guilt and pleasure of Facebook creeping.

I wonder how, though, fiction writers approach the job of representing and fictionalizing young people's lives in the world of endless Internet when a million tumblrs (arguably) already do it better.

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