When literature becomes reality – a scary cell phone short story

What would you do if someone you didn’t know send you a message on your phone, letting you know that they had followed you that morning and didn’t you notice them? And later you receive a text saying that someone had stalked you every day the last week. Would you be scared?

This is happening in Denmark right now. Three people so far have called the police because of such texts.

But the thing is – this is a short story you receive on your phone. You sign up by sending a text to a number and then you receive these texts about a man stalking a girl named Emma. And apparently, they feel so real that people forget they signed up for this scary novel and instead call the police.

The novel is written by the Danish author Steen Langstrup who never before has experienced that people reacted that strongly to his work. He thinks it’s because these cell phone novels are a rather new phenomenon and that people therefore are not prepared for them. And he has a point. There is something more direct about getting text on your phone instead of picking up a book and sitting down with it.

I think this is rather funny. That you sign up for something like this and then forget it so that when it actually begins, you get so scared that you call the police. I also think that this is a wonderful example of the power of words! I love when the boundaries for literature are tested and when these new ways of telling stories are having such a huge impact. And I can really see especially these cell phone novels having a huge impact because they take place in real time and you can read them on the go. Even though they of course are written a while ago, it feels like they are happening now.

I haven’t read any cell phone novels but I’ve read a twitter novel that my friend Henrik wrote but that kind of got lost in all the other tweets I receive – and I think I didn’t even get some of them so I’m not sure if twitter is the right media for short stories. But sending texts to people’s cell phones, that could really work. Well, it works. When people call the police because of your words, it works!


Buy it here: I morgen skal du dø (Tomorrow, you will die) by Steen Langstrup, published by SMSpress.

7 thoughts on “When literature becomes reality – a scary cell phone short story

  1. Thais is an incredible story, thanks so much for sharing it. Very intersting. The idea of the text message novel and that people forgot about signing up. Realities blend easily it seems.

    • I thought it was so interesting that it appears so frightening that even though you have signed up for a scary short story about a woman being stalked, you totally forget it and becomes an active part in the story. Some people have actually responded to the texts (sadly, I haven’t been able to find out what people have written back!).

  2. I saw a Twitter site which will send you a section of a book each day – you choose which time you want it delivered. Sounded ideal for someone who has a regular lunch break at work and wants to enjoy a few minutes of peace with their sandwich.

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