About

Dead SULs

What happens to your data when you die?

Siberian hackers trade data for dollars. A Mary Kay saleswoman pushes mascara online. Silicon Valley’s genius seer claims to have developed an “intelligence instrument” that can predict the future. This is the world of Dead SULs, a novel that reimagines one of Russian literature’s masterpieces. An exploration of identity in the Internet era, Dead SULs considers the meaning – and value – of our constantly logged-on lives.

First published in 1842, Nikolai Gogol’s novel Dead Souls was a darkly comic look at Russia’s social structure during the time of serfdom. Translated to the present day, Gogol’s “souls” have been replaced by SULs – Suspended User Lists – from social networks. And one desperate entrepreneur, determined to make his way in the high-altitude scene of tech startups and paper millionaires, will do anything to collect as many of them as possible.

By turns manic and deadpan, absurd and yet all too familiar, Dead SULs is a picaresque journey across present-day America – a spirited interpretation of Gogol, for the age of Google.

(For more background, have a look at this site’s first and third blog posts. And if you’re looking to get in touch, email me at kirstinbutler [at symbol] gmail [dot] com or through my personal website. Thanks for stopping by!)