A few days ago I saw Reality Hunger: A Manifesto on a bookstore shelf, and I thought, wow yeah, that sounds good. Reality, I'm on board with that. Who wouldn't be?
So I downloaded the book off the internet. As some astute Goodreads comments remark, the author David Shields should have just posted or blogged this manifesto online, readable for free.
Reality Hunger is a waste of time, a ripoff "collage" collection of quotes, passages, and aphorisms, mostly from other writers. But I want to try and salvage the idea, the title.
"There are times when it’s worth putting aside the endless myopic
navel-gazing that occupies so much literature, in order to look out at
the universe itself and value it for what it is."
- Greg Egan
Generally, reading fiction to gain insight on life is like watching Tron to learn about computers.
I thought Reality Hunger would be about reality-based writing. I thought it would be about posting, blogging, tweeting. The bastard offspring of gonzo journalism and cyberpunk, as practiced by William Gibson, Cory Doctorow, Bruce Sterling, Neal Stephenson. Or even Spider Jerusalem. Note how Gibson's gradually shifted from writing about the Blade Runner Future to writing about the world post-9/11.
Isn't this world enough?