Fiction incorporating internet interactions?
July 16, 2014 1:55 PM   Subscribe

What books and short fiction successfully incorporate internet communication, specifically web communication, into the narrative? I'm interested in writing a novel or novella that would switch between traditional omniscient third-person narrative and the descents into utter madness that can be found on, for example, Tumblr, and other web forums. The only piece that I can think of that uses forum posts to tell a story is "Candle Cove," but I am sure there must be many more. I'm particularly interested in novels.
posted by Countess Elena to Writing & Language (24 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
The biggest example i can think of is Homestuck, where all dialogue is almost entirely via instant messenger.
posted by Lorc at 2:10 PM on July 16, 2014

Tao Lin does this a lot, though I have never read him - Richard Yates and Taipei both rely heavily on gchat conversations, if I remember the reviews correctly.
posted by Think_Long at 2:13 PM on July 16, 2014

It's a game/visual novel, but don't take it personally, babe, it just ain't your story does exactly what you're looking for.
posted by kagredon at 2:16 PM on July 16, 2014

posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:18 PM on July 16, 2014

I hated Night Film by Marisha Pessl, but it does use forum posts and other internet communication to tell a story.
posted by Ziggy500 at 2:19 PM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think Super Sad True Love Story does a good job of this!
posted by chatongriffes at 2:31 PM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

There's a lot of this in Fire Upon the Deep by Vinge, heavily influenced by the madness found in USENET.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 2:35 PM on July 16, 2014 [4 favorites]

Archer Mayor's Chat does this, and it's primarily aimed at a non-internet audience so it's very low key but there are interstitial chat transcripts between the regular chapters and as the story progresses, you learn about what is going on with them. I seem to recall that WWW Wonder did this but it's been a while since I've read it.
posted by jessamyn at 2:43 PM on July 16, 2014

The conversations between ships in Iain M Banks' Culture novels are a lot like message boards or group emails. If I remember right, Excession has the most/best examples of these.
posted by Lorc at 2:45 PM on July 16, 2014

William Gibson's "Pattern Recognition" uses this quite a bit.

Matt Beaumont's hilarious "E" is told entirely through a string of emails. The sequel "the E before Christmas" adds in IM and SMS.
posted by Thistledown at 2:52 PM on July 16, 2014 [3 favorites]

There's a YA retelling of Dracula that's told entirely through blog entries and IMs.
posted by spunweb at 2:56 PM on July 16, 2014

Nick Hornby's Juliet, Naked involves web site and email communication.
posted by Jahaza at 3:20 PM on July 16, 2014

The book adaption of Densha Otoko (Train Man) takes place on the Japanese bulletin board 2Chan. It's based on a real life posts to the board.
posted by poxandplague at 4:17 PM on July 16, 2014

I was going to post Pattern Recognition, which I see already got mentioned. Then let's try Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl instead.
posted by suelac at 4:25 PM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ex Machina by Adrian Van Young involves posts in Reddit AMAs.
posted by spaet at 4:30 PM on July 16, 2014

It's been at least a decade since I read this, but if I recall correctly, As Francesca does what you're asking.
posted by janey47 at 4:35 PM on July 16, 2014

Gossip Girl uses a blog posting to smartphones for extra gossipy value. Books are by Cecily von Ziegesar.
posted by goo at 7:42 PM on July 16, 2014

All About Lily Chou-Chou includes intertitles with interaction from a web forum devoted to the titular singer. Figuring out which character in the film is which character on the forums leads to some interesting realizations. It's pretty dated at this point, though, in terms of Internet Culture.
posted by Alterscape at 8:47 PM on July 16, 2014

You might look at The Bug by Ellen Ullman. It's more bits of code and symbols, but might fit the bill. Maybe a "see also" is Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. Incorporates a lot of technology (some fantasy) into its story.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 11:02 PM on July 16, 2014

Oh, I forgot Persimmon Blackbridge's Prozac Highway. Goes between email and narrative.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 11:03 PM on July 16, 2014

Meg Cabot does this in The Boy Series (Boy Meets Girl, The Boy Next Door, and Every Boy's Got One).
posted by SisterHavana at 11:31 PM on July 16, 2014

Another epistolary novel told with emails: Rainbow Rowell's Attachments. It's a romance, but seemed realler, more moving and more down to earth than many romance novels I have read.
posted by Ziggy500 at 3:19 AM on July 17, 2014

Dan Chaon's Await Your Reply does a version of this, creating a set of gothic interrelated stories of obsession, identity theft, and fraud around how people present themselves online and off. The intimacy and narrative rhythms of things like IM and gaming and social media stalking are a significant part of the plot.
posted by deathmarch to epistemic closure at 8:11 AM on July 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

On my phone so I can't link easily, but there is a YA novel from the mid-90s called that is definitely the type of book you're looking for.
posted by augustimagination at 4:02 PM on July 17, 2014

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