I have a stack of underground novels to read and review (beginning with Tim Hall's). At the same time I keep receiving great zeens in the mail. The huge advantage zeens have is they're so reader friendly. Their very simplicity and brevity says, "Read me!"
For instance, Underground Crawl took less than fifteen minutes to read. A perfect, relaxing fit for anyone's schedule.
This caused me to muse: What if novels as a literary form have been superceded? There hasn't been an exciting establishment novel to hit the scene in decades. (Sorry, but White Teeth doesn't qualify.) The ULA is betting that the promotion of underground novelists like Tim and others and their more real and direct prose can save the art form.
Still-- the novel wasn't always the centerpiece of literature. Before the novel there was theater and the narrative poem.
It could be that the literary form of the future will be-- the blog! Who knows. It's why I've been trying to maintain an overarching theme to this blog (figure it out)-- and put everything into it; essays, rants, satire, exposes, poetry, fiction. The blog form has endless possibilities.
Jack Saunders's various web sites over the years have been kind of a super blog or super novel.
My favorite literary form remains the zeen. This is a personal preference not having much to do with the ULA. The zeen form simply allows me to be more expressive; more creative. (I like doing my own covers, which may explain my thinking.)
Though zeens (zines) remain today a marginal lit form, they have huge advantages which could someday be exploited. First, the affordable price (one to five dollars). Second, they're inviting, not intimidating to those who normally don't read anything-- the mass of Americans who are the ULA's target audience. Zeens' quirky colorful lo-fi look and crudeness puts off some, but welcomes those who have no interest in "literature" or in massive chain bookstores filled with long shelves of densely-worded volumes; echoes of the dread of high school and college. Anyone who has seen the excitement of zine shows knows what I'm talking about.
Just some stray thoughts!