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Old 03-15-2006, 12:19 PM   #1
Bob Russell
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The Unbinding: New online serial novel in real time

Slate has announced "a new serial novel, The Unbinding, by award-winning novelist Walter Kirn, exclusively on Slate. Installments of the novel will appear in Slate roughly twice a week from March through June." You can find the novel online here , including chapter downloads in .pdf format. You may need Macromedia's free Flash player to view the site. It is written in real time. Sort of like the tv show 24, except I assume they mean that, for example, when an installment comes in 5 days from now, it will represent things that happened 5 days later in the story.

From the original project announcement, "The Unbinding, a dark comedy set in the near future, is a compilation of 'found documents'—online diary entries, e-mails, surveillance reports, etc. It will make use of the Internet's unique capacity to respond to events as they happen, linking to documents and other Web sites. In other words, The Unbinding is conceived for the Web, rather than adapted to it.

Its publication also marks the debut of Slate's fiction section. Over the past decade, there has been much discussion of the lack of literature being written on the Web. When Stephen King experimented with the medium in the year 2000, publishing a novel online called The Plant, readers were hampered by dial-up access. But the prevalence of broadband and increasing comfort with online reading makes the publication of a novel like The Unbinding possible."

The author is no amateur. "Walter Kirn is a highly regarded novelist and magazine writer. He has written four previous books, including Thumbsucker, which became a 2005 film starring Vince Vaughn and Keanu Reeves, and Mission to America, published last year to great acclaim. He is a contributing editor to Time and GQ and a regular critic for the New York Times Book Review. Portions of his previous novels have been excerpted in The New Yorker, GQ, and Esquire."

Time to get started!

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