Thursday, February 15, 2007

Postmodernity Scorecard

The Postmodernity Scorecard:
I designed this scorecard for measuring quantitatively the level of postmodernity in a novel. Alternatively, it can be used to measure high modernism or pretentiousness.

Take a book of your choice and read each question. Score the amount shown in brackets if the answer is yes.

Here are some example books I measured, with their respective scores:

"Survivor" by Chuck Palahniuk, 56

"Slaughterhouse Five" by Kurt Vonnegut, 62

"Invisible Cities" by Italo Calvino, 76

"Catch-22" by Joseph Heller, 76

"Naked Lunch" by Willaim S Burroughs, 80

"The Sound and the Fury" by William Faulkner, 87

"The Watchman" by Alan Moore, 94

"Pale Fire" by Vladimir Nobokov, 99

"Ulysses" by James Joyce, 117


Characters: (consider "narrator" to be generally interchangeable with "protagonist")
Are there multiple narrators or points-of-view? [3]
Is at least one narrator speaking from beyond the grave? [3]
Is at least one narrator an animal or plant? [3]
Is at least one narrator inanimate or merely a concept? [5]
Is at least one narrator unreliable? [5]
Is at least one protagonist unlikable or villainous? [5]
Is at least one protagonist physically handicapped? [3]
Is at least one protagonist mentally handicapped? [5]
Is at least one protagonist angst-ridden, depressed, traumatized or neurotic? [3]
Does the protagonist(s) ever directly address the audience? [5]
Does the protagonist(s) have superhuman or supernatural powers? [4]
Do characters speak in accent or dialect? [2]
Do characters use fictional slang? [4]
Do characters have ridiculous or symbolic names? [2]
Do characters have ridiculous or symbolic jobs/roles? [3]


Plot:
Does the book open in media res? [2]
Do fictional and non-fictional characters interact? [3]
Do fictional characters interact with non-fictional (famous) historical events? [2]
Does the plot contain any of these controversial subject matters (for its day)?
Explicit sex or sexual situations [1]
Explicit language [1]
Extreme violence [1]
Drug use [1]
Non-traditional gender/sexuality issues [1]
Does the plot show an irreverence towards traditionally serious subject matter? [3]
Is the book anti-clerical? [1]
Is the book anti-government? [1]
Is the book anti-war? [1]
Is the book anti-art? [1]
Does the protagonist see a psychiatrist? [2]
Does the plot reference at least three items from any of the following categories:
Other works by the same author but not the same series [5]
Works by other authors [3]
Famous works of art (music, paintings, sculptures, films, etc) [2]
Does the book borrow its plot explicitly from another work but change key elements? [6]
Is the plot told out of chronological order? [5]
Are multiple mutually-exclusive versions of the same event(s) offered? [7]
Is the ending unresolved or ambiguous? [4]
Does the book end with the title of the book? [2]
Does the book end with the same lines or situation as the beginning? [5]
Is there some form of an extended story-within-a-story? (subnovella, play-within-a-play, parables, recitations, flashbacks from secondary characters) [6]
Does the book recognize its own nature as a book? [5]


Writing Style:
Is stream-of-consciousness used? [10]
Are there passages described abstractly, obtusely or only partially? [6]
Is the average sentence length less than 12 words? [3]
Is the average sentence length greater than 25 words? [5]
Is the average sentence length greater than 50 words? [5]
Are significant passages inspired by drug episodes, hallucinations or dreams? [3]
Is the book undivided by chapters? [3]
Is at least one chapter a single page long? [1]
Do chapters begin with a diegetic quote? [5]
Do chapters begin with a non-diegetic quote? [4]
Are any of the following types of rules violated frequently and intentionally outside of dialogue:
Spelling [3]
Grammar [3]
Punctuation [3]
Capitalization [3]
Does the author intentionally use multiple, clearly-distinguished styles? [10]
Do portions of the book make use of verse, rhyme or heavy alliteration? [6]
Does the book contain original riddles, puzzles or philosophical concepts? [3]
Does the book include fictional footnotes or ancillary materials? [4]


Properties of the Physical Book:
Is unconventional numbering used for parts, chapters or page numbers? (e.g. reverse order, gaps, fractions, repetitions, non-sequential patterns) [10]
Is the shape of the book or dimensions unconventional? [10]
Are the properties of the text frequently unconventional? (size, color, alignment) [8]
Does the book use multiple formats? (CD, website, brochures, comics, etc) [8]
Is at least one cover image a clever reference, clue, illusion or allusion? [5]
Is at least one cover image a post-modern artistic image in its own right? [3]

Total [250]

1 comment:

Patrick said...

I love how pretentious this scorecard is. I wonder if I could find something to beat Ulysses... it's so funny to think about that book and the ways in which it pwns modernism.