17 December 2007
The Times Online today reports that in Japan the 2007 bestseller list reveals that five of the year's most successful novels were first written for downloading on mobile phones before being republished in book form. The number one seller, Love Sky, which sold two million copies last year, has recently been released as a hit film, and has made a star of its author, a woman in her early 20s known only as Mika. Maybe the eastern tradition of small-scale literary forms lends itself to delivery via PDAs? A recent BBC programme on the Chinese novelist Eileen Chang pointed out that it is still common there for full length novels to be delivered via bite-sized chunks in newspapers. But now for the not-so-good news on this story. All these mobo-novels are written in short, simple sentences using relatively few characters, featuring melodramatic plots heavy on violence, sex and tear-jerking sentiment. Love Sky, for example, tells the story of a teenage girl who is bullied, gang-raped, becomes pregnant and suffers a miscarriage. So - more like Manga comix then?