From one perspective, moving from House of Leaves to Atwood and Alderman’s The Happy Zombie Sunrise Home seems like a dramatic shift in the tone of our reading, and in many ways, it is — it’s more linear and readable, to take perhaps the most obvious point of difference. But there are similarities as well as differences: after all, this is another multiauthorial (for real this time), highly mediated novel about the emergence of something inhuman and perhaps incomprehensible. And we’re moving from a novel that uses form to think about the rise of new technology in the twenty-first century to a novel that’s by its very nature formally embedded in the technology of the twenty-first century.
So just as we close-read House of Leaves to think about that dynamic, perhaps it makes sense to do the same with The Happy Zombie Sunrise Home. So for this blog post, you should do some reflecting on how this text uses and engages with technology, whether in terms of form, of narrative, or both. How does the collaborative work between Atwood and Alderman shape the nature of the narrative? Does it make sense to consider which author is writing which pieces? Why or why not? How do those inferences change how we read the novel? How does reading this online (as opposed to in print or on an e-reader, say) change how we read it, in terms of interpretation, attention, anticipation, etc? What do we make of all the technology in the novel — both the use of digital communication and the well-placed presence of some key print books? Why use this form in particular to write a zombie novel, with all of the questions of genre and high and low culture that it raises? A number of people have started to float ideas around some of these issues on Twitter, and Atwood and Alderman have taken them up as well — let’s see how we can extend that conversation through some close attention to the text.
Reminder: your response should go in the comments section for this post. It is due by midnight on Sunday, April 14, and should be at least 250 words. If you have any questions, let me know via email or Twitter.