Wednesday, Aug 17, 2022

These Ticket Vending Machines Can Print You A Short Story

Here's a novel project that encourages you to put down that phone, stop your doom scrolling, and read a story instead - while travelling on a train or metro

Stories are available on printouts from vending machines
Stories are available on printouts from vending machines Shutterstock

We have heard of vending machines in metro and train stations in cities which don't just give you tickets - some also hand out stories.

Some years back, people in France could print out stories from one of several vending machines at train stations with the tap of a few buttons. The stories were free. The project hosted by short story publishers Short Edition was a huge success. Story vending machines cane up in airports too. Soon, other countries were taking it up. A variety of genres was represented - from fairy tales to horror and humour. 

The best thing about the short stories is that you do not have to stare at a screen to read them. They are printed on long, thin paper. 

Now we hear that the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system in San Francisco is launching a contest for riders from June 1. One can submit short stories of 7,500 characters or less with the theme of 'motion'. The entries chosen as finalists will be dispensed widely across their public transit network. Budding writers are dying to bring out the O. Henry in them. The contest will be part of BART’s 50th anniversary celebration and is meant to highlight the literary voices that make the Bay Area unique, diverse and creative.

People are being invited to write about what 'motion' means to them. How it changes them. Whether it’s a journey that made a lasting impact or an (e)motion(al) tale of struggle and triumph.

We think this is just brilliant - detox from your phone on your ride and get a story published. Win-win.

Here's an idea. How about something like this in India?