July 13, 2014

"Back to School" and the Problem of Time

Bear with me on this one.

I've been thinking about the time investment of novels lately versus other media. A post by Damien Walter [http://damiengwalter.com/2014/07/13/novels-are-losing-the-narrative-arms-race/] and my comment on it
got me to thinking about the problem in terms of a movie scene. I recognize the irony.

In a scene in the movie Back to School (Starring Rodney Dangerfield), there is a conversation between the lead, Rodney Dangerfield's uneducated but wealthy Thornton Melon and Sally Kellerman's Dr. Diane Turner. Turner argues that a movie version of a novel gives you only the director's point of view, and why would you want the director to dictate that point of view. Melon on the other hand, points out it does allow you to "get in and out" of the story in a rapid fashion, without having to make the time investment.

I think, in our time-pressed culture today, Melon's point of view is winning out over Turner's, or threatening to do so. The rise of the HBO Series is a way to try to bridge the storytelling weaknesses of episodic series and movies to provide strengths novels have had to themselves. And, more to the point, marry the advantages of the visual medium to them.

And that doesn't even touch the narrative potential of videogames like the Dragon Age and Assassin's Creed series, either.

Can the novel continue to succeed in this day and age on a mass scale, when it does require such a time investment as compared to other narrative forms?

Posted by Jvstin at July 13, 2014 9:54 AM