Thursday, December 4, 2008

Attack of the Cellphone Novels!

Not since the beginning of time has the world beheld terror like this!

Terrifying monster ravages mankind!

Amazing! Startling! Shocking!

Of Japan's 10 best-selling novels of 2007, five were originally cellphone novels!


So I'll admit that I'm finding out about this phenonemon a little late, but I still feel it's relevant as it's sure to explode in the United States in about nineteen nanoseconds. That's right, I'm referring to the Attack of the Cellphone Novels!

Essentially, they're exactly what they sound like--novels written (generally by high school girls) on cell phones. They often lack plot, character development, or anything else that might make them have any value beyond morbid curiousity or very cheap entertainment. Be that as it may, however, they've virtually taken over Japan's publishing industry. For example,

"Love Sky," a debut novel by a young woman named Mika, was read by 20 million people on cellphones or on computers, according to Maho no i-rando, where it was first uploaded. A tear-jerker featuring adolescent sex, rape, pregnancy and a fatal disease — the genre’s sine qua non — the novel nevertheless captured the young generation’s attitude, its verbal tics and the cellphone’s omnipresence. Republished in book form, it became the No. 1 selling novel last year and was made into a movie. [1]

And this one:

"A writer who goes by the single name Yoshi wrote 'Deep Love', a series of stories about a Tokyo teenage prostitute. He began by posting them on an obscure
cell-phone site he started and made reader payment voluntary. Deep Love, which uses erotic language and violence to create a page-turner despite a preposterous plot line, became a hit, mainly through word-of-mouth among young adults. It went on to become a movie, TV show and manga, or Japanese-style comic book. It's even been turned into a real book, with some 2.6 million copies sold." [2]

Sadly, neither Sky of Love nor Deep Love are a joke. I suppose it's difficult for the fans of this stuff to recognize bad writing and cliches when "many cellphone novelists had never written fiction before, and many of their readers had never read novels before, according to publishers." [1]

Far be it for me to judge the literary taste of millions of Japanese, however--especially when it's not limited to their little island. There's plenty of short, choppy sentences and poorly chosen rhyme schemes written on cellphones right here in the good ol' US of A. Check out, where members can send their novels via text message. Quillpill then collates the text messages and publishes them online.

I should add that, though there seems to be some people who are only familiar with single-syllable words, there is also the possibility of finding real poetry or novels. Unfortunately, most "real" poets or novelists use pen and paper or computers, so you'll have to sift through a lot of "Unsufferable Idiocy" to find it. Best of luck to you.

(To give the author his due, I sort-of liked "Insufferable Idiocy," which is why I linked to it. But there is a lot of garbage on that site.)

Works Cited:

[1] Onishi, Normitsu. "Thumbs Race as Japan's Best Sellers Go Cellular." The New York Times. 20 Jan., 2008.

[2] "Cell Phones Put to Novel Use." 18 March 2005. Wired.


Daniele said...

All I can say is wow...and that I still judge people when they don't spell out their words or use correct punctuation in their text messages...

Lindsay-with-an-A said...

Me too! I even take the time to use apotrophes and commas, while a lot of people can't manage more than a period here and there.

Chatty Cathy said...

Wow...thanks for letting me know about Cellphone Novels and keeping updated in the world of technology. I had no idea they existed...but who am I kidding I don't even have text messaging.

Lindsay-with-an-A said...

Yes, somehow I don't think you'll be writing the next Great American Cellphone Novel.

Homero said...

Next think you now, those crazy Japanese are going to make touch phones, and phones with internet! (Yes, I am mocking you... this is so 2002)

Lindsay-with-an-A said...

Dude! They're BOOKS! Written on CELLPHONES! That's just crazy.

And besides, if anything, it's so 2003. How did I not hear about this?

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