The Year in Words and Wires: Reflecting on 2023's Literary Tech Scene

The Year in Words and Wires: Reflecting on 2023's Literary Tech Scene

As we embark on a new year, let’s take a look at 2023 and what happened at the intersection of writing and tech.

AI-Powered Writing Tools

Advancements in AI have introduced tools that assist in creative writing, editing, and publishing, making the process more efficient and accessible for writers of all levels. These tools offer capabilities such as automated grammar and style checking, content generation, and even plot or character suggestion. However, there’s an ongoing debate about the impact of AI on originality and the essence of human creativity in writing.

Link: 6 Best AI Writing Tools in 2023 (Free and Paid)

Have we reached peak e-reader?

2023 brought developments to e-reader technology and devices that were mostly incremental. There weren’t many new models in 2023, but they featured slightly improved battery life, marginally better screen resolutions, and minor design tweaks. These updates haven’t significantly revolutionized the e-reading experience. Perhaps the new non-kindle options will bring about a 2024 with more exciting developments on this front, as the industry appears to be in a holding pattern, awaiting the next big innovation.

Link: The best ereaders for 2023

Virtual Reality Literature Experiences

2023 saw a continued exploration of Virtual Reality (VR) in the literary world, though the journey remains nascent and somewhat experimental. This year, we witnessed VR applications that attempt to immerse readers into narrative worlds. Users can experience a setting in 3D, potentially enhancing comprehension and engagement. However, these advancements prompt questions about the depth of literary appreciation in VR. Does experiencing a story in a virtual environment enhance understanding, or does it detract from the personal interpretation that traditional reading offers? The line between interactive entertainment and literary depth in VR literature is still blurry, leaving us to ponder whether these innovations are transformative breakthroughs or mere technological novelties.

Link: A promising, award-winning, but yet-unreleased work of VR narrative entitled Penrose Station

Books in 2023

2023 has been a remarkable year for books that bridge the gap between humanities and digital technology. Here’s a sample of three standout works.

The Archived Web: Doing History in the Digital Age ” by Niels Brรผgger

This book delves into the complex world of digital historiography, exploring how the web is archived and the implications for historical research. Brรผgger’s work is a must-read for those interested in the intersection of technology, history, and the evolving nature of web-based information.

Paper Machines: About Cards & Catalogs, 1548-1929 ” by Markus Krajewski

Markus Krajewski offers a fascinating look at the history of cataloging and classification systems. This book takes readers on a journey from early paper-based methods to the precursors of the digital age, shedding light on the evolution of information organization.

Between Humanities and the Digital ” Edited by Patrik Svensson and David Theo Goldberg

This collection of essays provides an in-depth examination of the ongoing convergence between humanities and digital technology. Edited by Svensson and Goldberg, it features contributions from various thought leaders, discussing how digital tools and methods are reshaping humanities research.

Literary NFTs?

2023 continued to test the waters for Literary Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), yet it seems the concept hasn’t quite taken the world by storm as some had anticipated. Initially touted as a revolutionary way for authors and publishers to monetize digital works while maintaining control over copyrights and royalties, NFTs faced significant challenges. Skepticism about their environmental impact, issues with accessibility and digital rights management, and a general lack of understanding or interest from the broader reading public have hindered their widespread adoption. The literary world may not be ready for a leap into the blockchain-driven marketplace, but you can sample the small scene at Poetry NFTs or The Verseverse .

Innovative Storytelling From 2023

I hadn’t noticed this before, but somehow the term “interactive book” has mutated outside the realm of “digital narrative” and the term has come to define a category of children’s books: pop-up books and the like. Loveable though they are, these aren’t the exactly same thing as digital, or new-media narratives .

Let’s ignore the categories, though. For an excellent overview of “innovative storytelling” with or without digital media, try the New York Times’ roundup of “ Innovative Storytelling From 2023 ”.

For the best interactive eBooks published in 2023, especially those pushing the boundaries in digital storytelling, here are a few notable examples from the New Media Writing Prize , which gave awards in 2023 for works produced the previous year.

This year has been a testament to the ever-evolving synergy between literature and technology. As we look forward to the next chapter, we remain excited about the endless possibilities that lie at this crossroads.