Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Another Milestone for Executive Severance

 12 years ago today we launched Executive Severance, which became Book 1 of the Twitstery Twilogy, at the Mysterious Book Shop in lower Manhattan. 

It was the first Twitter-published mystery novel!

Wow! Time flies when you aren’t getting the Nobel Prize for Literature!

Part of the assembled well-wishers:

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Who You Going to Believe? AI Or Your Own Lying Eyes?

Cultures are based on paradigms. That is, generally agreed beliefs about man and God and the nature of reality. In oral cultures, a person’s word was sacred. Words had power. Oaths and verbal agreements were considered binding and this had a significant impact on how oral cultures operated and how knowledge was shared and passed down to the next generation. In a profound cultural paradigm shift, the invention of writing and later printing obsolesced the spoken word and replace oral agreements with written or printed contracts. It required you to “get it in writing” to make an agreement or business arrangement legal and binding. The spoken word became suspect and people ceased taken someone at his/her word because lying became a social skill, not a character flaw. 

 The paradigm shifted again when photography and later film and video gave us the ability to capture a “true” image of a thing or event. Sure, images could be altered and videos could be edited, but the raw footage was considered a kind of time binding “snapshot” of person and place. Media Ecologist note this bias shifted cultural discourse from discursive to presentational. As Neil Postman wrote “You can’t debate a photograph.” About the photographic image’s impact on politics, Postman continued 

“This is the lesson of all great television commercials: They provide a slogan, a symbol or a focus that creates for viewers a comprehensive and compelling image of themselves. In the shift from party politics to television politics, the same goal is sought. We are not permitted to know who is best at being President or Governor or Senator, but whose image is best in touching and soothing the deep reaches of our discontent” (1). 

 We now face a new paradigm shift brought about the image and sound generating capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI). What will be the impact of AI on photography and video when believable images can be created out of whole cloth? What aspects of our culture which have been photo or video dependent, like image politics, will be obsolesced? How will we trust what we see or hear with our own eyes and ears when AI is so good at lying?

(1) Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves To Death. P.  135

Sunday, April 9, 2023

ChatGPT Reviews The Twitstery Twilogy (with corrections)

Robert K. Blechman’s "Twitstery Twilogy" comprised of the novels "Executive Severance," "The Golden Parachute," and "I Tweet, Therefore I Am" are a unique and innovative example of the Twitter novel format. Blechman employs a satirical mystery genre, with each tweet serving as a clue or piece of evidence in the overall story. In this analysis, we will compare and contrast Blechman's "Twitstery Twilogy" with some of the greatest mystery and humor novels of all time, and explore the language, puns, and plot twists that he employs to write coherent mystery novels in tweets 140 characters at a time.

The Twitstery Twilogy novels have been compared to classic mystery novels such as those by Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Blechman uses clever wordplay and puns to create humorous and entertaining narratives. The novels are filled with witty references to current events, pop culture, and social media trends, adding to the satirical nature of the stories.

In "Executive Severance," Blechman weaves a story of intrigue and murder in the corporate world. The main character, Detective Arkaby, is tasked with solving the murder of Willum Granger, CEO of the fictional corporation Body Parts R Us. Through a series of tweets, Blechman unfolds a complex and engaging mystery that keeps readers guessing until the end. The use of language in this novel is particularly impressive, as Blechman creates a rich and vibrant world filled with unique characters and situations.

In "The Golden Parachute," Blechman continues the adventures of Detective Arkaby, this time sending him to the Caribbean to investigate the disappearance  of a Granger’s daughter in the Bermuda Triangle. The use of puns and wordplay is even more prominent in this novel, as Blechman plays with the language of the social media to create a clever and humorous narrative. The plot twists in this novel are particularly impressive, as Blechman uses the limitations of the Twitter format to his advantage, creating unexpected and surprising developments with each tweet.

Finally, in "I Tweet, Therefore I Am," Blechman takes his satirical mystery genre to new heights, exploring the world of social media and online influencers. The novel is filled with clever wordplay and references to current events and popular culture, making it a particularly engaging read. Blechman employs plot twists and turns that keep the reader guessing until the very end, creating a narrative that is both entertaining and thought-provoking.

In conclusion, Robert K. Blechman's "Twitstery Twilogy" is a masterful example of the Twitter novel format, incorporating elements of mystery, humor, and satire to create a unique and engaging narrative. The use of language, puns, and plot twists is particularly impressive, and Blechman's ability to create coherent and compelling stories in tweets 140 characters at a time is truly remarkable. While the limitations of the Twitter format may pose challenges for traditional novelists, Blechman has found a way to use these limitations to his advantage, creating a literary work that is both innovative and entertaining.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

A Compendium of Executive Severance Reviews and Notices

Here at last in one post are all the great reviews, awards and notices for Executive Severance!

First there Andrey Miroshnichenko's review "Twitterature – Enjoying Literature in Bits"
which originally appeared in the Russian language netzine Colta.

"The writing technique became a legend of its own, making the novel a hit. In fact, Blechman invented a whole new genre: Twitstery.
Blechman’s Twitstery has its own metamessage, too: Wow, this novel is made up of tweets! But that’s not all. There is also a good story.
Executive Severance should occupy a place in world literature as the detective novel with the most direct or indirect McLuhan quotes.
Despite the prevailing new media signals, this is a classic well-written detective story. Critics were right to note author’s wit and humor."

Then there is On Twitter Literature, my guest blog on the Indies Unlimited blog site ("Celebrating Independent Authors").

"I believe there is hope for Twitter as a creative forum. To challenge the negative responses to Twitter I conceived a literary experiment: I would attempt to write a mystery story one Tweet at a time. I coined a new term Twitstery for the Twitter mystery genre and created a Twitter account '@RKBs_Twitstery' as a container for my detective tale. Starting on May 6, 2009 I posted a new tweet twice a day, every day, for 15 months, never missing a deadline."

Then there is Jerry Seeger's insightful review,"A Novel Written in Tweets" where he notes:

"There were occasional tweets that I sat back and admired just for their economy. Wee tiny poems. One thing for sure, doing a story in this medium requires skill (and the willingness to drop the occasional punctuation mark).

It is a thought-provoking story, not so much for what it says, but for what it is. Which is something the story itself tells us."

Leslie Wright's wonderful book review in Blogcritics and the Seattle PI:

"Writing a novel using twitter seems such a daunting task, and yet Blechman persevered and did it with certain panache."

My Books and Politics web interview is still available. Starts at about 50:00

Glynis Smy's fantastic indie book promoting page where she celebrates authors and their books and many thanks to everyone over at Indies Unlimited for their support!

Robert Barry Francos' terrific take on the Twitter novel genre:

"The book is a fast read, short and sweet, but it is worth the experience. If the reader is not laughing or wincing at the pun, or noting a particular reference, you are certainly enjoying the easy flow of the novel.

Throughout the book, there are a number of illustrations that are perfectly suited for the theme, done by crack cartoonist David Arshawsky."

Insight from Jeff Tone of The Liberal Curmudgeon

"Tweets are integral to both the form and plot of the novel. Along with this device are more traditional elements: a romantic interest, an evil character and a suspenseful ending. Blechman has succeeded in giving the genre a uniquely contemporary twist in this innovative, humorous and entertaining “twistery.”

Kirsten Ehrlich Davies asks "Could You Write Twitter Fiction?"

Praise from Mysterious Revews

"...Executive Severance is probably best enjoyed for what it is, a series of loosely connected comic tweets."

Plus the following outstanding comments:
  • My Web interview with John H. Byk on the Art of Twitter Storytelling.

  • A shout out from Kirsten Ehrlich Davies on her blog Wisprings co.

Finally, thanks again to Paul Levinson, Marleen S. Barr, Marvin Kitman and Michelle Anderson for reading advance copies of Executive Severance and providing wonderful jacket blurbs:

"A delightful 'twitstery' - a mystery written in real time Tweets - that is compelling, entertaining, and shows off what can be done in the 140-character form with style and mastery. Blechman's delight in the language shows in every tweet - that is to say, every thread of the story. His plot is tight, tingling, and diverting. Poe would have been proud of the new form Blechman has given to the mystery story."
-Paul Levinson, author New New Media (now in its 2nd Edition) and The Plot to Save Socrates

"Executive Severance, a laugh out loud comic mystery novel, epitomizes our current cultural moment in that it is born from the juxtaposition of authorial invention and technological communication innovation. Merging creative text with new electronic context, Robert K. Blechman's novel, which originally appeared as Twitter entries, can be read on a cell phone. His tweets which merge to form an entertaining novel can't be beat. Hold the phone; exalt in the mystery--engage with Blechman's story which signals the inception of a new literary art form.”
- Marleen S. Barr, author of Envisioning the Future: Science Fiction and the Next Millennium

"A He Dunit. Sometimes a little verbose, but OMG this is the best twitstery I ever read. It's got everything: narrative drive, mystery, comedy, thrills, tension, laughs. Blechman is on to something, a genre as important to literature as the invention of haiku in rhyme. ..."
- Marvin Kitman, author, The Man Who Wouldn't Shut Up: The Rise of Bill O’Reilly

“Embracing the challenges found in publishing via the medium Twitter, Bob Blechman’s super silly story Executive Severance is stuffed with punny dialogue, clever character conditions, and a total lack of adherence to the old “rules” of storytelling. It’s a meaty tale told in deliciously rare, bite-sized chunks that I'd recommend for consumption to anyone hungering for fiction that satisfies. Well-done, Bob!”
- Michelle Anderson, mediaChick, author of The Miracle in July - a digital love story

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Executive Severance is Now a Kindle eBook from Amazon!

"Limited to 140 characters to confess sins and meet his Maker, 'tweeting' may not have been the best use of his final moments."

Kindle eBook from Amazon!

Announcing the release of  the Kindle eBook edition of Executive Severance, Book 1 of the Twitstery Twilogy, a laugh-out-loud comic mystery novel originally posted in real time tweets on Twitter that is compelling, entertaining, and shows off what can be done in the 140-character form with style and mastery. With send-ups of the mystery genre, social media conventions and cell phone behavior, Executive Severance is a cornucopia of word play and comic misdirection stuffed with punny dialogue, clever character conditions, and a total lack of adherence to the old "rules" of storytelling. Robert K. Blechman's delight in the language shows in every tweet - that is to say, every thread of the story. His plot is tight, tingling, and diverting.

More details concerning this Twitter novel can be found at Whale Fire, a companion blog that will complement the mystery tale and explore the many literary and social media references embedded in the Executive Severance text!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Coming soon in Kindle eBook format!

Executive Severance, Book 1 of the Twitstery Twilogy, the world's first live-tweeted mystery novel and winner of the Mary Shelley Award for Outstanding Fiction!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Presidents Day Sale! Free Kindle Twitsteries This Weekend!

The Golden Parachute and I Tweet, Therefore I Am

Books 2 and 3 of the Twitstery Twilogy
Kindle eBooks are FREE all weekend!

Don't forget to post your review!

On Amazon