Jonathan Lethem: “My Internet” from The New Yorker, June 4 & 11, 2012

New Yorker art by Dan Winters

New Yorker art by Dan Winters

Yet lately I’ve felt the urge for a deeper foray, the need for a more profound exclusion, and it is this which has led me to the creation of an Internet entirely of my own.

Let’s face it – without Jonathan Lethem’s name on this, it’d never get out of a slushpile. It’s a first-person explanation to the reader by a slightly cracked (to use the term Lethem uses in his interview) narrator, giving the history of his own private Internet. Which is a subset of the exclusive 100-person Internet set up back in the day in anticipation of Amazon and LOLCats. Then our crackpot discovered the 100 persons were, just like on Facebook, not really 100 persons. Wow, does that sort of thing really happen? 😉

That’s an interesting concept, exclusion leading to isolation .And a bit of a mind-fuck, since an internet of one isn’t an internet at all. And it’s just a two-page story (TNY has made it exclusive to subscribers, but an anonymous blogger has posted it anyway; I’m curious to see what will happen if TNY or Jonathan Lethem ever catch on), highly readable. So I guess I can’t complain too much.

But the story is told, the idea covered, in the first paragraph, and there’s precious little development or supporting detail to hang your hat on. Is it a story, even a flash, to say “One day I did this because of that, and here’s a sketch of how and why, ain’t I clever?” Especially when the this and because of that aren’t all that controversial, in this era of spam filters and content-blockers.

I’ll think of this as the amuse bouche for the Science Fiction issue. Next?

One response to “Jonathan Lethem: “My Internet” from The New Yorker, June 4 & 11, 2012

  1. Pingback: Jonathan Lethem–”My Internet” (New Yorker, June 4 & 11, 2012) « I Just Read About That…

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