Shadows in the Void
“Literature is dead. Nobody reads when they can just watch the DIVE adaptation.”
-Olga Chelyabinski, from an interview with the Geliphan News Network.
Literature is NOT dead. It is, however, on life support. It is true that the popularity of DIVE programming far surpasses the readership of the most popular written novels. It is also true that market forces tend to dictate that an aspiring writer would do better financially to write scipts for DIVE operas than constrain himself to the written medium.
The last bastion of literature has for several generations been the upper classes. Only the idle rich have the resources to spend learning the archaic vocabulary used in novels, which is so different from the vernacular used in text messaging. Again, only the idle rich have the free time to spend reading a book for multiple hours. The vast majority of mortals can afford the limited luxury of perhaps a half-hour of DIVE entertainment between a 14 hour work day and bed.
Ironically, by far the most successful work of “popular literature” owes its success to being outlawed. “Ceramic Composite Ships and Men of Titanium: the Jovian field miners strike of Coalition Year 76.” by Olga Chelyabinski was a historical fiction narrative based upon a composite of several real miners strikes of that era. The RPC immediately and several of the smaller mining conglomerates sued Ms. Chelyabinski for libel because of the unflattering image of Mining Corp. depicted in the novel. That lawsuit effectively prevented the e-publishing of any further electronic editions of Ceramic Composite Ships. However, the subversive message of the strength of downtrodden workers standing up to a greedy corporation resonated, and underground copies of the work proliferated. In response to efforts by CPG and the RPC to enforce the ban on this book by automatically deleting personal copies, chapters of the work have been encrypted and incorporated into the source code for certain applications by activist programmers. These chapters can only be read if the user has the correct decryption key, turning the novel into a true “Roman a Cyber-Clef”.