In a previous post (January 6th) about the future of the book, I mentioned a few articles I had read that suggested novel writers might have a greater chance of fighting off the distractions of computer games and movies if they wrote stories that did the one thing that movies and games can't do as effectively: explore the inner working of their character's mind. There seemed some logic to doing this: why read an action adventure story if you can play an action adventure game or watch an action adventure television program.
In Japan a new phenomenon suggests that novelists might be more successful if they don't explore the inner workings of their character's minds at all. Novels written and read on mobile phones have become all the rage. Five of the top ten selling novels in Japan last year first made their appearance as mobile phone serials. These mainly romance novels use pauses to indicate that a character is thinking. What they are thinking is obviously up to the reader's imagination.
I may also have been wasting my time reading many science-fiction, fantasy and literature short stories and novels as the writers and readers of these Japanese text novels have little or no knowledge of what novels and stories have gone before. But, I will continue to read my favourite authors and award winning novels and short-stories. If I am wasting my time it will have been enjoyable waste of time.
I did like a remark by Ethan Hawke's character in a film that distracted me the other night. In Fast Food Nation he said something like: people who follow their passion, even those who are not the successes they set out to be, die happier then those who quit their passion or have no passion.