Hint Fiction — Short Evocations of Larger Stories

Sunday November 14 14:54

I found this story on NPR that I heard this morning on this topic of “Hint Fiction” — fictional stories done in 25 words or less — to be quite intriguing. It’s less because it seems like the evolution of story telling in the era of 140 character Tweets and all that. That angle is quite boring, but it seems that this was not the motivation. These are like compelling little provocations that are small moments suggestive of a larger narrative. Take these examples:

J. Matthew Zoss
Houston, We Have a Problem
I’m sorry, but there’s not enough air in here for everyone. I’ll tell them you were a hero.

David Joseph
Polygamy I miss her more than the others.

The reasons I think I’m drawn to this idea is because it appears to be a provocative form — one that requires speculation about what surrounds the the larger context. Small moments that are incomplete but nonetheless highly suggestive. This is something that I feel is related to a genre convention of design fiction, especially in the forms that it has been done here in the studio — for better or worse, confidential work that I couldn’t share here. These are intimations of what might be — perhaps unexpected experiences that occur around the contours of a larger set of circumstances. Like — seeing a curiosity, something that is suggestive and evocative but not necessarily the *whole story. Rather than emphasizing the main “through line” we just show the things around the edges and allow the rest to be filled out by the imagination and shared histories and shared expectations of the audience.

Why do I blog this? Looking for new and interesting ways to design unexpected but relevant and provocative things. Being plain and straightforward may not always work in the art and practice of seducing people into a peculiar possible future.