A lengthy, intelligent discussion, via blog, on the issues surrounding the serial novel as a contemporary form (springing obviously from Denis Johnson Playboy). I think you read bottom-up.
I may have become addicted to instant narrative gratification. I love the magazine One Story because it’s just one story, to be read and finished, neat and quick. On the Internet, don’t ask me to click through 10 pages of self-absorbed prose â€” if it doesn’t grab me early on, see ya, I’m out.
Getting just Part 1 (of four) of “Nobody Move” is a tease. We DO have to wait a whole month before we get the next piece. We DO have to save space in our spilling-over brainpans for Denis Johnson’s characters and plot twists. It’s unfair. It’s painful. It’s frustrating.
And then I realize: It’s seduction.
When I hunted down my copy of Johnson’s “Tree of Smoke,” it was there in all its hefty glory, an elaborate, enormous work, and if I could just keep my eyes open and brain sharp long enough, I could consume it all in one sitting. Now I see there is something of a marvelous torture in the delayed gratification of a serial. I can’t possibly get it all at once, and that brings on a craving that’s missing when I can just turn the page to get to the next chapter.