What kind of new narratives will 21st Century storytellers create for our changing world?
Brain Games host Jason Silva tackled that question in a two-minute video called "Lucid Dreaming," outlining the tremendous opportunities (and challenges) facing 21st Century storytellers. As our relationship to technology evolves, the stories we tell each other will change as well.
It’s always fun to imagine what the future will look like and how we will tell stories in this new world.
Silva used culture writer Erik Davis' description of immersive storytelling, a way to create a sort of lucid dream for the reader or viewer:
Immersive works of art or entertainment are increasingly not content to simply produce a new range of sensations. Instead, they often function as portals into other worlds."
— Erik Davis
Silva also quoted Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace by Janet H. Murray, a scholarly book looking at the future of storytelling. Silva explained how readers and viewers interact with a story:
So powerful is our desire to be immersed that it's not just that we suspend disbelief, but that we actually create belief--using our sophisticated intelligence to reinforce our belief in the story world, rather than to question it. We actively metabolize belief through story ... The narratives of the future have the potential to transform what it means to be human to employ landscapes of the mind and turn subjective experience into a living, breathing painting; a wake-walking dream.”
— Janet H. Murray
Murray's book was published in 1997, but it is still very relevant for readers, viewers and creators. She raised questions that still need to be answered as technology evolves.
Here is an inspiring passage from her book:
I find myself anticipating a new kind of storyteller, one who is half hacker, half bard. The spirit of the hacker is one of the great creative wellsprings of our time, causing the inanimate circuits to sing with ever more individualized and quirky voices; the spirit of the bard is eternal and irreplaceable, telling us what we are doing here and what we mean to one another. I am drawn to imagining a cyberdrama of the future by the same fascination that draws me to the Victorian novel. I see glimmers of a medium that is capacious and broadly expressive, a medium capable of capturing both the hairbreadth movements of individual human consciousness and the colossal crosscurrents of global society.
What do you think? Who are the writers leading this storytelling revolution?
The wonders of narrative immersion possible through new tech advances are truly amazing. My only worry is that as with every other academic subject our youth are slipping in due to disuse, the intellectual muscles that created the worlds in which we as young readers had suspended disbelief are beginning to atrophy.
Children’s stories, or for that matter stories for any age group, should not rise or fall on how well the illustrators and animators built the backgrounds I see in my 3D virtual reality wraparound glasses. At a certain point, pure storytelling (great writing) is going to begin becoming just another element in the overall narrative, and with its primacy reduced, become all the weaker and mundane.
Have you ever had a favorite novel spoiled by a bad TV or film adaptation?
Have you ever watched a movie before reading the book, only to find the adaptation more exciting and thoughtful and satisfying than anything in the original source material?