CyberBoz: What Would Dickens Do?

Re-visiting the serial novel in a new century

Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were just a few of the 19th Century's great authors to write novels in serial form for periodical magazines. Doing so helped some authors survive financially by reaching a larger audience than they might otherwise have been able to do through more-expensive publication of their novels in book form. However, writing novels serially was no easy task; one can only imagine the challenges and difficulties involved. 

In many ways, twentieth century authors were more fortunate; they wrote at a time when book-printing technologies greatly reduced the cost of publishing and when significantly more people were literate, the combination of which made possible a thriving book publishing industry and payments to authors that enabled many of them to make a real living from their craft. 

However, today's twenty-first century authors are faced with a challenge similar to that faced by their nineteenth century forbears: how to make a living from writing at a time when the print-on-paper publishing industry appears to be imploding and the audience of readers interested in real literature seems to be shrinking.

Perhaps the new digital media offer an opportunity for authors to reach twenty-first century netizens; but, to do so, authors will have to rethink the classic genres, including the novel. Is it time for serial novels to return? What forms might they take and can they support authors financially? 

Join us in exploring these issues: as writers, readers, and perhaps even editors and publishers. Below are some of the first serial novels to test the waters of this "brave new world."

1969: Protest, Sex, Drugs, and Rock n' Roll
by CyberBoz

An original serial webnovel that follows five central characters and their struggles during the year 1969 at an unnamed university in an unnamed university town near an unnamed city containing an unnamed ethnic ghetto. Written and produced (using free web publishing tools) in a way that enables readers to imagine the inter-twined stories of these characters taking place at any American university during the period from 1965 to 1975 when the United States was at war in Viet Nam and in turmoil at home.

Cyberfiction Features:
  • Reader-selected narrative sequences
  • Soundtrack of original period music (with playlists and embedded ad-supported YouTube videos)
  • Multi-media links to political, cultural, and historical events of the times in footnotes (some are currently broken)
  • Cyberfiction Publishers Store (an Amazon affiliate) containing hundreds of books, CDs, MP3 downloads, and videos related to each segment in the webnovel
  • Virtual reading groups and reader-author discussions
  • Available in multimedia webnovel, and soon to come audio-book and printable PDFs 
  • Readable on any digital device or on paper 
  • Content-appropriate Ads from Google 
  • A variety of reader-customization features that will be added over time
Voyages of the Veritas
By Peter Kelman
Random digital segments from the holog of the sailing ship Veritas and her crew (a family of intrepid seekers after the truth) on their voyages around the world circa 2078. These glimpses into the future pull back the virtual curtains that disguise the various micro-civilizations into which our world fragments after the Carbon-Age ends and is replaced by the Virtual Age.

Suitable for young adults and their parents

Cyberfiction Features:
  • Random access to the story-line 
  • Links to political, cultural, and historical events from the past and the future (See The People's Holopedia below.)
  • Ad-free and Censor-free
  • Coming soon: PodCast segments from the future

Edited by: CyberFiction Publishers

The successor to Wikipedia in the Virtual Age and a companion to Voyages of the Veritas

Cyberfiction Features:
  • Links to political, cultural, and historical events from the past and the future
  • Link back to Voyages of the Veritas (above)
  • Reader contributions to Holopedia entries
  • Ad-free and censor-free

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