A half-century after ARPANET created networks of computers, the “Internet novel” is coming of age at last. Patricia Lockwood’s No One Is Talking About This and Samit Basu’s Chosen Spirits take radically different approaches to depicting the unreal cities we’ve created online: the time-sucks and the comments-box arenas, the sloughs of scrolling despond and the candylands of trivia. Reading either novel will show you something about this shadow-world. Reading both together gets you even closer to understanding the experience—sometimes choral, sometimes cacophonic—of life online.
those who subscribe to my substack will soon get some of my favorite quotations from the Lockwood, including one which was cruelly axed by an editor I can only describe as “normal… not damaged… doesn’t get it”