Robin Sloan made up a new kind of story called a tap essay. It's a story in an iPhone app that you push along by tapping it. You read at your own pace. His first tap essay, "Fish," is available for free today.
It's about the good flood of things to read and watch on the Internet. It's also about the difference between liking and loving. Best of all, it's a reminder to slow down and look very carefully at things, even when they're gnarly.
Tap essays are a great way to read. The writer controls the rhythm, but the reader controls the tempo. It works especially well with the subject matter Sloan has chosen. "Fish" considers how we respond to the unstoppable streams of stuff to see on the Web. The tap essay allows us to pause and think, but there's no going back.
"Fish" lets you tweet out the really big lines. When you do that, amazing eddies of conversation happen, because you're injecting great reminders of realness right into the Twitter vein. Here's what happened as I read "Fish" for the first time:
I'm not giving away any more of "Fish." Sloan refers to a bunch of other great works in the essay, but he doesn't give those away, either. You have to tap to the end, get the secret password and type it into his website. You should go to robinsloan.com/fish, download this essay and tap it for a few minutes. I bet we'll all come back to it again and again.
You should also read Robin Sloan's story, "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore". It's special.