I seem to have lost the post I did about Japanese cell-phone novels after reading Dana Goodyear's article "I ♥ Novels" in The New Yorker two months ago. But here's a quickie:
The past few years have seen a boom in popularity in Japan over something called the "cell-phone novel"--novels written on a cell phone using the 140 character limit to produce chapters that are uploaded to the internet via phone-internet access. Some of these novels have even been published in print format and have done extremely well in bookstores, if not on the literary scene.
Here in the States, a couple of websites have popped up that allow the interested (cell-phone user or not) to either upload (with in-site publishing tools so you don't need internet access on your cell phone) or read one of the American-counterparts. QuillPill and TextNovel are two kind of addicting websites that you can register with to read a wider variety of stories.
Anyway, I'm bringing this up because APPARENTLY Tor recently (yesterday) blogged about Twitter-based novels that are a little different in execution, but very similar in concept. While Twitter relies on the same 140-character limit that cell-phone text message users do, Thaumatrope, is a SF-F based literary magazine that collects 140-character stories. Yes, that's right--not chapters or pieces collected in 140-character bits that, once put together, create a story, but short, short, 140-character stories.
I think this is frickin' awesome, especially after being particularly intrigued over Goodyear's article. The quality is really hit or miss, but it's entertaining.
One of the reasons I like this concept so much is that Twitter brings access directly to your cell phone with their SMS option so it's as close to the "traditional" Japanese "cell-phone novel" as you can get without actually having to pay those pricey data phone plans add-ons.
Jeff Somers took the "cell-phone" novel approach and actually wrote a short story in 140-character bursts using Twitter. If you want to read it, it starts here (although that link could expire as it's just a page number and not a specific post since Twitter operates on a Newest First, Oldest Last page view).