Thaumatrope, twitterpunk—literature for procrastinating during your procrastination

Thaumatrope: the first (and first paying) twitterzine (@thaumatrope), a twitter-based publication for microfiction. It is an idea that may almost seem frivolous to the uninitiated—stories in 140 characters? Why bother? What can you really say in around 20 words? Literary merits aside—with Twitter as a backdrop, would anyone argue that an intriguing or witty tweet-story is less engaging than someone’s personal struggle with productivity or the details of their latest bowel movement? Just kidding, I think Twitter is pretty neat. Anyway…

Thaumatrope also remains the most innovative of the twiction-pushers, including a unique program (the Thaumatrope Fiction Relocation Project) to include its fiction on the programs of conventions worldwide (really cool) and a special theme month with multi-award-winning guest editor Sean Wallace: Twitterpunk, a series of stories in celebration of cyberpunk and its related subgenres (steampunk, biopunk, et al.).  I was honored to have my story (probably coincidentally) kick off #twtrpunk this past weekend (click the link in Sean’s intro tweet to read the actual story).

While “-punk” themed stories of this length may be an homage that only fans of the genre will appreciate, nanofiction in general has a much broader appeal, at least for those of us with a few seconds to spare in between not doing work by reading the news and not doing work by playing addictive flash games. If nothing else, perhaps someone should go edit the “cyberpunk derivatives” article on Wikipedia and add “twitterpunk” to the list.


David Shrock 08.05.09 Reply

Nice post. I agree, microfiction is fun and writing them is a challenge. The shorter the story, the bigger the challenge to make it a memorable complete story. When a microfiction tale hits it just right, it’s fantastic. Great punk story.

Ben 08.06.09 Reply

Thank you, David. I agree completely—memorable is exactly the criteria I look for in micro. A lot can work in the moment, but it’s much tougher to achieve one with “staying power.” Admittedly, not everyone is necessarily going for that effect, but my personal favorites always seem to pass that threshold.

coffee_offline 08.06.09 Reply

Nothing frivolous about entertaining your audiences in bite-sized nibblets. Hugely enjoyable, as always, for the initiated!

Ben 08.07.09 Reply

Thank you (as always)!

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