We write frequently about the way in which technology alters and enhances the way we do business, communicate and conduct the countless, banal tasks that make up our daily lives. Last week I discovered a conversation between prominent contemporary writers on how technology has altered storytelling on the New York Times.
This is a fun piece and doesn’t require that you read in sequence or totality. There is some great stuff here. I particularly like Marisha Pessl’s complaint, backed with some good examples of classic novels that would not have worked in today’s tech world. She states;
The trouble with technology is that it eradicates a character’s ability to be lost, and it’s the state of being in the dark and the journey toward understanding that has given rise to the greatest stories ever written.
Omaha’s own Rainbow Rowell feels that cell phones have hurt plot structures for the same reasons. Either the absence of cell phones needs to be explained up front so that intrigue can be had in a romantic meeting or missed encounter or, worse, your characters need to be “luddite” technophobes. My 70 year old mother now texts with carpal tunnel inducing ferocity on her new iPhone. It would seem that the days of characters who don’t possess modern communication devices are extremely numbered. However, this can also open up story-telling opportunities and help shade in characters with information you might see on a text message or e-mail. Frederick Forsythe, who wrote the espionage thriller “The Day of the Jackal” comments that the ‘illegal abstraction of classified information’ is in and of itself transformative and opens doors for the spy thriller genre. You need only to read the newspaper headlines and check in on Edward Snowden to understand this phenomenon.
Douglas Coupland talks about an idea worth exploring; that there is a moral in the fact that this technology did not simply appear. “They were created by human beings and, having been made by human beings, can only help bring about manifestations of ourselves which until now haven’t been possible.,” Heeeaaavvvy right? That’s a three beer conversation. A.M. Homes said that she was taught by a writing teacher not to use brand names or products that would date your story. This is almost unavoidable today as technology changes by the month. Watching moves from 10 years ago does this to me, especially when the characters are apparently utilizing the modern technology in their lives. I love the scene in Wall Street when Michael Douglas is on the beach and heaves the ultimate 80’s status symbol over his shoulder, a primitive cell phone that resembles a World War II radio for calling in air support.
I’ve always thought that whether you’re talking about genetic engineering or the weapons industry, our technology has far exceeded where the debate is at on the ethics and existential efficacy of these “advances.” But I suppose previous generations thought the same thing. The interesting thing here regarding fiction writers is that they aim to tell truths about the human condition by manufacturing characters and stories. Basically lying. Have we made it harder for our storytellers to shine some light on us because of our penchant for innovation?
January 19, 2021
Software development is a team-based endeavor because of the complexity involved in launching a new system. Gone are the days when one developer can be point on the whole back-office software stack. It now takes multiple specialized roles to (appropriately) fulfill the software delivery lifecycle. A typical software project requires: Leadership Product management Project management […]
January 13, 2021
One definition of rot is the process of deterioration. Something that decays over time. By this standard – software rots like food in the Nebraska heat. It’s true. If your software isn’t regularly updated, it deteriorates and breaks down. Consider this – software is written to work at a moment in time…but time marches on. […]
January 4, 2021
OMAHA, NE, January 4, 2021 – In late 2020, Volano Solutions announced it has changed its name to Volano Software and launched a new website: www.volanosoftware.com. The name change was made to more accurately reflect what the company does, and the website was designed to be more informative and user-friendly to clients and prospective clients […]
June 2, 2020
According to LinkedIn technology (software) has a higher overall turnover rate than retail. With that, it isn’t a matter of if, but a matter of when. Volano has engineered a culture of “by developers, for developers” and this helps our retention. In fact, most of the folks that work at Volano have been here +5 […]
June 2, 2020
It is hard enough to build a successful business, and few want to invest time and resources into worrying about an Intellectual Property Assignment. But alas, you must do your homework. Fortunately, we make it easy for Volano customers. When asked – “Who owns the software and IP for my project?” – it is an […]
May 28, 2020
Many of us remember the grade school game Telephone. It was funny to see how a simple message would get garbled as it was passed along from person to person. But it’s not as funny when that message is a critical business requirement that will be turned into software that will power your business. Yet, […]