Laurence Scott

Picnic Comma Lightning
  • Picnic Comma Lightning

  • **A BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK**

    'Clever, funny and deeply moving... an engaging and thought-provoking journey through the fakery of modern life.' Mail on Sunday

    'A stylish, playful exploration of what digital life is doing to the way we find meaning in the world.' Guardian, 'Book of the Week'
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    In Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, the narrator offers a memorably brief account of his mother’s death: 'picnic, lightning'. Picnic Comma Lightning similarly opens with the death of Laurence Scott's parents, and the definitive ending of their deaths raises for him one fundamental question: how much of what we live through is truly real?

    With humour and insight, Scott transforms this personal meditation on loss into an exploration of what it means to exist in the world now. It used to be that our vision of the world was rooted to reasonably solid things: to people, places and memories. But today, in an age of constant internet debates, online personas and alternative truths, reality feels more vulnerable than ever before.

    Picnic Comma Lightning looks at how digital life is distorting, echoing and magnifying our age-old preoccupation with what is real and what isn't. Where do we draw the line? How is technology shifting these boundaries? And how do we maintain a sense of reality in an increasingly unreal world?
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    'A report from the front line of the digital generation by someone superbly well-equipped to read and decode the signals.' Sunday Times

Laurence Scott's book The Four-Dimensional Human: Ways of Being in the Digital World (2015) was shortlisted for The Samuel Johnson Prize, won the Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Prize, and was named the Sunday Times ‘Thought Book of the Year’. His writing has appeared in the New Yorker, Guardian, Financial Times, New Statesman, Boston Globe, Wired and the London Review of Books. In 2011 he was named a ‘New Generation Thinker’ by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the BBC, and now regularly writes and presents documentaries for BBC radio, as well as presenting and contributing to the Radio 3 arts and ideas programme, Free Thinking. He is a Lecturer in Writing at New York University in London, where he lives.