Will Self has announced that the novel is over, or at least there is no business model that encourages anyone to start writing. The emphasis on books in the Saturday review is not new but the scope of Will Self's view seems to be narrowing.
I've no intention of writing fictions in the form of tweets or text messages – nor do I see my future in computer-games design. My apprenticeship as a novelist has lasted a long time now, and I still cherish hopes of eventually qualifying. Besides, as the possessor of a Gutenberg mind, it is quite impossible for me to foretell what the new dominant narrative art form will be – if, that is, there is to be one at all.
Not so long ago he was prepared to write about the hipsters in East London. See my previous blog post for a video link. There was at that time some open approach to new forms.
What seems to be happening is that the "digital first" policy only applies online. The print version of the Guardian is designed to keep a print audince of Gutenberg minds in the same solid state for as long as possible. The tech and media pages midweek are much reduced so it is mostly on a Saturday that the issues around print are reported. It seems to me quite possible that even when midweek has moved online the Saturday Review will appear to travel back in time to a world that started with the hardback book.
Meanwhile the spaces for advertising are filled with yet more masterclasses that seem mostly variations on professional writing. Will Self claims that the creative writing courses in universities are "a self-perpetuating and self-financing literary set-aside scheme purpose built to accommodate writers who can no longer make a living from their work. " Could this also be true for a course in print journalism? Offering a course on how to blog like a professional seems to me to be losing track with what each medium is about.
There may be a connection with why the Guardian is so opposed to the MOOC. Mostly ignored this year but lots of opposition during 2013. King's Cross is a sort of campus where experts offer personal guidance.
Maybe there is an online version somewhere with links to free resources and discussion. I would just like to be able to imagine some coherence with this when reading the print.
Meanwhile I am going to imagine the future through a fiction device borrowed from Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut. Not sure when the next Timequake will start but it may not take ten years, probably closer to five but it will appear to repeat in different locations at slightly different stages. In the early years the closure of print mid week and the growth of weekend magazines. Later the move of business to business magazines entirely online. Eventually a rethink by editors on how to relate to an audience. More detail later. current tag #TQ15