Does It Count As a Tearjerker if the Book Punches You Until You Cry?

multilightsA Boston Magazine article describes an MIT Media Lab project that aims to enhance the regular reading experience via a wearable vest.

Sounds super cool already, right? 😉

The project is dubbed “Sensory Fiction”, and while the invention of this vest is an awesome exercise in creativity for MIT students, I will risk going down as one of history’s naysayers to say this—not gonna happen.

The vest is designed to bring a regular novel to life by allowing the reader to experience the physical and emotional reactions of the book’s protagonist. It apparently can inflate pressurized airbags, vibrate, and induce anxiety by constricting.

Thinking of using this vest is giving me anxiety. Imagine reading in bed, trying to get ready for some Zzzzs, when all of a sudden your pajamas are trying to kill you.

Consider the enhanced reading experience of Game of Thrones, [vague spoiler ahead]  in which a key character gets decapitated. Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to physically experience decapitation? I sure haven’t.

Also, the book becomes a giant Mood Ring, with lights changing in response to the protagonist’s feelings.

Please don’t sign me up for this, cruel future. I use e-books, I swear, and I like social media. But I firmly believe the unenhanced, regular book experience is the whole point of books. If I want to see the story without my imagination involved, I’ll watch a movie. Audiobooks are perfect for the car.

My imagination, and well-written words on a page, make me feel sometimes-scary emotions without any strange vest involved.

Do you agree? Or do you yearn for an enhanced book?


Filed under Adult Fiction, Publishing news, Thoughts, Writing

2 responses to “Does It Count As a Tearjerker if the Book Punches You Until You Cry?

  1. Currently, a bad writer can only bore or confuse the reader. In the future, an author can perform the Heimlich maneuver on you? I’ll skip this “feature”.

  2. Yup, this belongs in the category of the Onion’s USB toaster. Not needed.

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