|"Heart of Darkness? I dunno - I'll just check my GPS"|
I was reading somewhere how the end of Romeo and Juliet would have been completely different if they had just texted each other. And it made me think of other great stories that would have been different today: Jane Eyre could have come to Mr Rochester's side if she'd been following him on Facebook... or subscribed to the local newspaper's RSS feed. If Frankenstein's monster had blogged about how he felt, he'd have been hunted down by paparazzi and chat-show hosts, not irate villagers.
It isn't just the classics either - I know quite a few writers who have had to set their stories in the 80s and 90s because recent technology would bugger up the story. My own first novel - which currently resides both literally and metaphorically 'under the bed' - will always have to be set no later than the early 90s because the reclusive main character would never have to face the world if he could communicate freely by email and share documents over the internet.
So if good fiction means presenting your main character with problems to overcome, often compounded by miscommunication, misunderstanding and lack of information... does this mean modern technology is solving all our problems, clarifying our relationships and supplying us with all the answers?
I'm not sure it does, but do you think it is quietly changing the nature of the stories we tell? And how would other famous stories have panned out given access to Google, YouTube and Twitter?