Literary journal Electric Literature has put out a wonderfully weird animation based on one sentence from Jenny Offill’s short story “The Tunnel,” from Electric Literature No. 3. It reminds me of a mix between Alice and Wonderland and Monty Python, both whimsical and serious, but take a look for yourself:
This video is actually the latest in a series: lots more are available on Electric Literature‘s website. But the videos aren’t just a gimmick; they’re an integral part of the journal’s mission. The editors write:
Electric Literature’s mission is to use new media and innovative distribution to return the short story to a place of prominence in popular culture.
We are a quarterly anthology of five top-notch short stories, delivered in every viable medium. […]
We’re tired of hearing that literary fiction is doomed. Everywhere we look, people are reading—whether it be paperbooks, eBooks, blogs, tweets, or text messages. So, before we write the epitaph for the literary age, we thought, let’s try it this way first: select stories with a strong voice that capture our readers and lead them somewhere exciting, unexpected, and meaningful. Publish everywhere, every way: paperbacks, Kindles, iPhones, eBooks, and audiobooks. Make it inexpensive and accessible. Streamline it: just five great stories in each issue. Be entertaining without sacrificing depth. In short, create the thing we wish existed.
These animations certainly sparked my interest in these short stories. It’s like reading a great first sentence: how can you not keep reading after that amazing intitial line pulls you in? I especially love that the videos aren’t intended as a replacement for the written word; they’re a way to catch your attention and pull you into the strong writing that follows.