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'Cloud Atlas' Author Releases New Short Story Entirely On Twitter

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MATT SAYLES/INVISION/AP
MATT SAYLES/INVISION/AP

Cloud Atlas author David Mitchell has released an original short story entirely on Twitter in order to promote his new book, The Bone Clocks.

Mitchell, who rarely uses the Twitter account, started tweeting the story on July 14. Throughout the course of six days and roughly 270 tweets, he released “The Right Sort,” a short story that takes place in the same fictional world as his upcoming novel.

The short story follows a young boy who takes some of his mother’s Valium and narrates the resulting drug trip. Mitchell notes that, in a way, Twitter is the perfect medium for the character's jumble of disjointed drug-fueled thoughts.

“The story is being narrated in the present tense by a boy tripping on his mother’s Valium pills. He likes Valium because it reduces the bruising hurly-burly of the world into orderly, bite-sized ‘pulses’. So the boy is essentially thinking and experiencing in Tweets,” the author told The Guardian. “My hope is then that the rationale for deploying Twitter comes from inside the story, rather than it being imposed by me, from outside, as a gimmick.”

(Read the rest of “The Right Sort” on David Mitchell’s Twitter page. )

Mitchell admits that releasing a short story on Twitter is a bit of a marketing scheme.

“I’ll be doing some events to promote [The Bone Clocks], and my publicist persuaded me of the logic of having a Twitter account so at least we could tell people of these events," he told BBC Radio 4. “But it somehow bothered me, a little bit, that I was using this Arab Spring-size technology just to say, ‘Hi, I’m going off on the road, please come see me and buy my book.’ It seemed a bit cheesy, really. So I thought, how can I sort of find a use for it? And this led me to fiction.”

The Bone Clocks, due out in September, is about a young woman and her adventures involving psychic phenomena and "dangerous mystics," as well as the effects her decisions have on those close to her, according to the book's description on Amazon.