The typewriter rebellion is here!

Now here’s something an old hack would never have dreamt could happen: A typewriter revolution – typewriters reverentially dusted off from their obsolete past, and ushered into a welcoming  present, wreathed with terms like  the  ‘typosphere.’

Perhaps it’s because for former  (okay older) journalists like me, typewriters were our work horses. In Newsrooms we heard the  hurried clickety-clack of Underwoods, Imperial 66s and Adlers all around us as we yelled ‘copy’ and young cadets would rush our typewritten copy to the Newsdesk. But then came the Digital revolution and the keys fell silent. That newsroom culture vanished along with typewriters.

Now  typewriters been rehabilitated by a generation weary of  computers  and the intrusions of the Net. It’s understandable.    This very morning my  laptop insisted I  perform a  range of upgrades before I could  write and  simply writing without these technological nudges  is what  many of us want, even as we concede that the computer has its own advantages.   The  cold type movement seems  like a joyful revolt by alternative thinkers and it’s finding its voice partly  through futuristic  literature. Here’s a brief for  stories written by typewriters for another time:

Imagine that digital civilization collapses, and that some people adopt typewriters as their tools of choice. What will their adventures be? These are the tales of their struggles, defeats, and triumphs as they try to bring back typewriters from the grave of “obsolete” technology and restore them to their rightful place in the sun. All contributions to COLD HARD TYPE will be set in the future and will involve typewriters as an essential part of their content. The final versions of the texts will also actually be typed on typewriters.

The basic premise allows for many possibilities: there are different scenarios for the partial or complete breakdown of digital technology and culture, various reasons for the collapse in different parts of the world, different stages of the process, and many possible results. The theme could be called “dystopian,” but maybe the new Age of Typewriters would be a utopia. It could be called “post-apocalyptic,” but the end of digital civilization does not have to come in a single, apocalyptic event. Stories can be set early in the process or centuries later. They may be funny, dark, violent, light, ironic, or profound. They can be suitable for an adult audience, but should not be out-and-out pornographic or sadistic. They can range from short-shorts (1 page) to a maximum of 5000 words.

Submissions should be sent to Richard Polt. Drafts of fiction and poetry may be digital or typewritten, but the final version must be typewritten. Submissions will be reviewed by Polt (author of The Typewriter Revolution: A Typist’s Companion for the 21st Century, novelist Fred Durbin and Broward College English professor Andrew McFeaters.

Initial deadline for submissions: February 1, 2019. Submit a draft of your work by this date, at the latest. The editorial panel will consider it and may suggest corrections or revisions. In some cases, we may decide that the work does not fit this volume. However, we hope for wide participation and want this to be a fun, inclusive, and diverse project.

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Paul Smith

Paul is a veteran journalist, non-fiction author and writing mentor. He has also served on boards ranging from TVNZ to UNESCO.