Relevance of Metafiction in the Age of Information

We are flooded with narrative, drowning in astronomical numbers of stories from paperbacks, movies, newspapers, television, magazines, fan fictions, computer games, and, most of all, the Internet. How can we cope with these stories? What do we do with them?

Meta-awareness is more important more than ever, if we are to understand our storied universe. Yet how can we know what is real with reality TV on every channel? Most of us are smart enough to know that the presence of a camera always causes people to act differently than they would otherwise. Although reality TV is realer than a sit com, we recognize that it is not as real as a news broadcast.

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Dangerous Editors: Choderlos de Laclos’ “Les Liaisons dangereuses”

Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclos may not be what first comes to mind when you think of metafiction, but the the book is metafictional because it troubles the distinction between fiction and nonfiction. The book is told through a series of letters — the epistolary method — a device which gives a novel the illusion of being a collection of historical documents, as in Samuel Richardson’s Pamela (whose title page pronounces the book to be “A narrative which has its foundation in truth and nature”) and Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (“written by himself” — as with Pamela, the real author’s name is not included on the title page).

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Futurestates: A Metafilm

This short film is very meta as it plays with and blurs the distinctions between the fictional and the “real” world. There is no real distinction, you know. We filter all of our experiences of “reality” through a web of fictions and fictions are inarguably part of reality. Stories and films exist. Virtual reality is reality. Enjoy!

Futurestates (ITVS)