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Short stories dispensed via vending machines

Short stories dispensed via vending machines


The news has been so grim recently that I offer up a light story for diversionary relief. Apparently the French city of Grenoble, situated in the Alps, has installed eight vending machines that dispense free short stories for anyone interested. My novelist friend Rachel Kranz alerted me to the article.

Writing for the blog Mental Floss, James Hunt reports, 

The strange, screen-less contraptions are the brainchild of Christophe Sibieude (the co-founder and head of Short Édition) and Grenoble’s mayor, Éric Piolle. The pair hope that commuters and bystanders will make use of these stories to expand and enrich their minds while waiting around, rather than tapping their way aimlessly through Facebook or Twitter. Stories are dispensed according to how much time you’ve got to spend reading (one-, three-, and five-minute options are available), and the stories are printed out on long receipt-like paper.

The vending machines can be found in the various popular spots throughout the city.

Of course, I now want more details. Are these classic or contemporary short stories? Do new authors get a chance to introduce themselves through this venue? Could the vending machines be further refined so that you can choose the genre you are interested in?

But maybe it’s better to keep patrons guessing. At any rate, I like the message that gets sent: fiction is just as important to us as food and drink

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  • Literature is as vital to our lives as food and shelter. Stories and poems help us work through the challenges we face, from everyday irritations to loneliness, heartache, and death. Literature is meant to mix it up with life. This website explores how it does so.

    Please feel free to e-mail me [rrbates (at) smcm (dot) edu]. I would be honored to hear your thoughts and questions about literature.

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