Jonathan Lethem and David Gates Talk Facebook, Internet, The Future

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“I have no idea how to handle this new mode of living (I guess “living” is the word) in fiction. I probably spend more time e-mailing and reading online than I do having non-virtual human contact—and I bet I’m not that unusual. If my characters were like that, would their lives be eventful enough to write about? On the other hand, if I write about people for whom the internet is—as far as the reader can see—peripheral or nonexistent, am I not essentially writing historical fiction?”

— David Gates

PEN American has published an absolutely wonderful email exchange between Jonathan Lethem and David Gates in which they discuss reality, David Shields, the future of fiction, Facebook and Twitter, the importance of writing on a computer without an Internet connection, and lots more. (via Book Bench)


Seth Fischer’s writing has twice been listed as notable in The Best American Essays and has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize by several publications, including Guernica. He was the founding Sunday editor at The Rumpus and is the current nonfiction editor at The Nervous Breakdown. He’s been awarded fellowships and residencies by Ucross, Lambda Literary, Jentel, Ragdale, and elsewhere, and he teaches at the UCLA-Extension Writer’s Program and Antioch University, where he received his MFA. More from this author →