Richard Powers speculates about the narrative complications of the digital
age. By invitation of an anonymous e-mail, his narrator tests a computer
program, DIALOGOS, which weaves its stories from bits of data around the web,
without any central authorship. He sends out e-mails into the DIALOGOS
void–to Emma Thompson, to an estranged friend, to Goethe, to Emily
Dickinson. Each missive is returned with implausible accuracy. In time, the
narrator gets lost in DIALOGOS, and wonders if he has lost touch with reality or
if the reality of narrative has in fact been changed.
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