Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sensory Fiction

Every once in a while I pick up a book so good, that I literally start to feel whatever the character is feeling. Fear. Anger. Happiness…. ahem… lust. (Don't give me that look, hypocrite!) The last book that grabbed me by the hair and DEMANDED that I read was Angelfall, by Susan Ee. The writing… wow… incredible. And without even getting into Raffe's totally gorgeous angel body, lets discuss the intensity of her scenes.  

Have you read it?… And do you REMEMBER that scene in the woods? Ya know what I'm talking about…. when all those creepy pigmy people are bumping up against her "like piranhas" and start taking bites outta her? 


I mighta had nightmares that night. Just sayin'.

Page turners. They're the best. Arena… Forbidden Forest… Chucky-infested dystopian town… you name it, you're there. But what if you didn't need good writing anymore to do it? 

Well MIT's new "Sensory Fiction" vest might be doing just that. Super smart MIT peeps have come up with a type of vest that lets you not only READ what you're… ahem… reading, but EXPERIENCE it as well. According to the article: 

The reader straps on a high tech-looking vest equipped with a compression system, localized body temperature control and heartbeat and shiver simulator. As you read, they vibrate, change temperature and alter pressure while the cover’s 150 LED lights put on their own show.

The book takes care of the atmosphere with ambient lighting that sets the mood of your character’s journey. Subtle changes on the vest are meant to make you feel what that protagonist is experiencing — physically and emotionally. It might vibrate to speed up your heart rate during an angry fight scene. Pressurized airbags could constrict when your leading lady is afraid. The personal heating device at your collarbone might warm you during a love scene.

Truthfully, I'm not sure how I feel about this lil' gadget. I mean, on the one hand, it could take an already grip-you-by-the-eyelids-and-MAKE-you-read kinda book and make it even better.

On the other?

Couldn't it be a crutch for authors who juuuuust can't quite seem to get their writing where it needs to be? And what would happen to the quality of our dear books then? Would it simply dumb down the craft of writing?

Either way, ya gotta admit… its a pretty freakin' sweet idea!


Empty Nest Insider said...

Is this for real?! By the time it would take me to strap it on, I'd probably be fast asleep on the first page. Then I would almost be shocked into waking up. Though it's a clever idea, it should come equipped with a large warning label.


Julie Tuovi said...

Haha! I know, right? Mebe someday they'll come up with something a little more user friendly ( :