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


“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 appeared in Best Sex Writing 2013, Buzzfeed, PankGuernica, Lunch Ticket, Gertrude, and elsewhere. His Rumpus piece "Notes from a Unicorn" was listed as a notable essay in The Best American Essays 2013. He will be a 2014 Lambda Literary Emerging Voicing Fellow and was a 2013 Jentel Arts Residency Program Fellow. He also teaches at Antioch University Los Angeles and Writing Workshops Los Angeles. Find more writing of his writing at, or reach him @sethfischer. More from this author →