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Under Odysseus
Jamais Cascio, 14 Mar 06

Blogging has become firmly-entrenched as a form of journalism, as well as a tool for self-revelation. As a medium for telling stories, however, it's still finding its footing. Part of the problem is that the challenge of the new medium can compound the inherent difficulty of creating compelling literary art. Under Odysseus side-steps this issue by re-telling a story that's nearly 3000 years old, and is a welcome step towards understanding how the blog structure can serve the world of fiction.

Under Odysseus presents itself as the journal of the Greek officer Eurylochus (who plays a more prominent role in the Odyssey), and more-or-less follows the plotline of Homer's Iliad. The language is modern -- less jarring than one might expect -- but there's no other effort to translate the emotions or setting to a more familiar context.

Although we are fighting this damned war because Menelaus’ wife left him, we don’t see very much of him. –Truth be told, he isn’t really the kind of guy that inspires men to action. In fact, it’s a common belief that we are actually fighting this war on Agamemnon’s behalf, trying to save face for his brother.

I haven’t personally talked to Menelaus face-to-face, but from what I have seen, the guy is somewhat of a sap. –Menelaus’ demeanor kind of reminds me of a dog that gets hit too much.

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Comments

>it's still finding its footing

Blogging's just serialisation on the web, and literature found its footing with serials a long, long time ago. I think the reason we don't see more fiction in blogs is more to do with the perceived value of blogging, rather than its difficulty as a literary form. Writers tend to need some recognition after the long hard graft of writing fiction, and that means getting published in hard-to-get-into literary magazines, winning competitions, possibly even getting paid. Maybe blogs still feel like vanity publishing to fiction writers. Perhaps, with the demise of traditional publishing apparently imminent, it's time for writers to change their mindset from 'I wrote it, who will publish it for me?' to 'I wrote it, I'll sell it'. A micropayment mechanism for RSS would be a start!


Posted by: Richard on 15 Mar 06



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