Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Defective Detectives, Fedora Lobby

From: a.n.smith (
Date: 02 Feb 2000

> Maybe the cellphones are so connected to the marketing and
> sponsoring world ("Hey guys! Did you notice those phones in
> Matrix? We made them!") that it's not easy to accept them as part of a
> serious piece of literature. I think they can be used, but they mustn't
> become a nuisance, as computers and medical jargon in Patricia
> Cornwell. They must be used only as a tool, like someone pointed
> out. And make it short.

Sure. Taking a cue from the last line here:

At first, people try to shoehorn technological advances into HB novels, as Cornwell, and more recently Deaver, probably others, and they make those tech things BIG. Very self-aware of the toys. The key to using this aspect of life is just that, to simply to use it as an aspect of everyday life. Not to get excited about cell phones and notebook comps and criminal forensics advances, but reflect how we all use the technology. So, a guy in a book uses a computer to check email, which could be a modern day phone call. But don't spend so much time telling us "Hey look, a computer with a screen and Internet, cool!" Just use it and move on. I think it is about reflecting our times right now. 2000.

And for marketing, commercialism, reminds me of something my boss always says, him being one of the minimalist writers from the eighties, when he used brand-names in fiction. The criticism was that it dates the work, it intrudes, it takes you out of the story, blah blah. He said it was silly because when a character poured himself a Coke to drink, these people would rather he poured "a brown, carbonated bubbly drink" or something. Big deal? Say "Coke" and move on. So, I think the advantage fiction has over movies is that when we write a product in, it's because we want it there for the character to use and no one is paying us to have "A Mitsubishi Duojet Satellite Video Digital Phone, finest one on the land" appear in our private eye's hand.

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