On May 26, I received a text from my wanderer in Boston of just this image. No explanation.
What?? Free short stories on the corner? How was this possible? I found an article about it here. Originally developed by a start-up in France, the machines contain thousands of stories in the one-, three-, and five-minute category. Bringing the stories to the people was the idea. Currently, all the stories in Boston are translations from the French stories, but stories written originally in English will come next.
I pressed my wanderer for details, to find out the user experience. After pressing all of the buttons, it was decided that the stories, sadly, were not very interesting. The stories issue out on a long scroll like toilet paper, the five-minute stories yielding a long galley, indeed. They were genre-specific: romance and sci-fi were two of the samples. These were stories voted on by readers, so they were popular in some circles. Maybe the stories got lost in the translation. Or perhaps novelty is the point.
While it is neat to "Put a story where the people are," with the people bringing internet access everywhere, the better thing to do would be to steer those that wish it toward e-books, library access, and quality online literary magazines. Ahem. ; )
But WriteBoston, a youth writing program, is looking into this more carefully and hoping to partner with Short Edition, the French company, and contribute stories by students. Now, that's a cool idea!