Thursday July 16th, 2009

A New Kind of Serial

forecast_icon_coverToday marks the beginning of an experiment in 21st-century publishing. A little while ago, writer Shya Scanlon, frustrated by his attempts to find a mainstream book publisher for his work, had posted his novel, Forecast, on his web site. But after a few weeks, Scanlon wanted to find a “more dramatic” way to present his work, not least “because it seemed unreasonable to ask people to read 105,000 words straight-through online.” Indeed.

Starting today, the novel will be serialized on 42 different literary sites, with a new installment appearing every Monday and Thursday. Scanlon calls the participating sites “a fine mixture of well-established literary journals, avid bloggers, and otherwise supportive literary-minded folk.” The first chapter is up now over at Juked.

The idea of serialization, which Henry James and Charles Dickens would understand perfectly, even though the web might spook them, doesn’t mean Scanlon has given up on the idea of seeing a bound book. “[I]t’s impossible not to yearn for that lucrative book contract,” Scanlon said. “[But] my main concern is to get my work read.” In a blurb for Forecast, Brian Evenson compares it to the work of Jonathan Lethem and describes it as “part [science fiction], part noir, part road narrative and part love story.”

You can follow the novel’s progress as it goes up on this page.