During repeated lockdowns, the phrase “the internet is taking over our lives” feels less like a metaphor and more like a statement of fact. Even before the pandemic, though, the proportion of time we spent on the internet was on a steady incline. And the distinction between real life and life online was already getting vague—increasingly, it’s all just life.
For a long time, novelists depicted the internet only in passing, or avoided it altogether. Maybe it felt too frivolous to render artistically, like doing an oil painting of a PlayStation. Or else it was too difficult to write about in a way that wouldn’t date horribly. Websites go offline, social media companies rise and fall, even the words we use for the internet go out of style at a perilous rate. The New English Library Book of Internet Stories, released in 2000, features such dorky outdated titles…
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