I love the 19th century novel-in English, French, Russian. I love how big and physical these novels are, and admire how the novelist can move people around, from lovers to armies.
Often the plot hinges on a lost letter, the vagaries of travel, sudden appearances and disappearances. And no one has the capacity to send a text and just work out the misunderstanding.
I don’t have a cell phone in real life, and I’m having trouble with them in fiction. If you can just call ahead, why hit the road on the hero’s quest?
I’m so happy my new novel, Shadow on the Minotaur, is launched. But I can’t help noticing that even though it takes place in the 1990s there are no personal computers. I don’t think it jars, because my characters are just a bit behind the times and it isn’t relevant.
But starting a new novel, I can see the problems ahead. During a time of chaos (roughly now) a commune in central New Mexico shuts its doors and withdraws from the world, banning most communications technology. A generation is raised not knowing there is an outside world. Of course this is the start of the plot–what happens when a half dozen teenagers decide to leave. And find a world healed after a civil war, back to business as usual–freeways, cell phones, the internet.
As a writer, I think I can handle the emotions, the characters, the conflict. But if I want my characters to trek from Mountainair to Albuquerque, what keeps them from figuring out how to call Uber?
What do you think?