Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Web Fiction


Last night I went to a reading by this week's Clarion instructor, Elizabeth Bear, author of the haunting and Hugo-winning story "Tide Line." I loved that story and was curious to see what Elizabeth would read at the University Bookstore. Her choice was unexpected, entirely different from what I've seen from her before, and an intriguing experiment for fiction on the Internet.


Seven writers are collaborating on the stories for a mythical TV series, with one "episode" going up the first Sunday of the month at http://www.shadowunit.org/. The "show" is in its second "season." The writers are Elizabeth, Emma Bull, Holly Block, Sarah Monette, Leah Bobbet, and Will Shetterley (although Shetterley has since dropped out), with artwork by Amanda Downum. The on-going story, offered under Creative Commons, concerns an FBI unit not unlike THE X FILES but more interesting. The show's self-description:

"The FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit hunts humanity's nightmares. But there are nightmares humanity doesn't dream are real. The Behavioral Analysis Unit sends those cases down the hall. Welcome to Shadow Unit."

Elizabeth read from a forthcoming episode, and it was great fun. Judging from the raucous reaction from some of the audience, there is already a fan base for Shadow Unit. It is funded by whatever fans choose to send, through the PayPal button right on the website. Elizabeth told me that donations, though not huge, are steady. Here she is, reading a witty episode set in the Hoover Building:

Is this where SF will end up going, to take full advantage of the Internet? It will be interesting to find out.

1 comment:

annie said...

There are many opportunities on the web for those with a little imagination.