After Bob Dylan’s groundbreaking Nobel Prize for Literature win last year, critics are expecting new “left field” choices by the Swedish Academy that grants the prestigious award, with Sydney’s bus timetables widely considered to be a front-runner for 2017.
“There is a very strong case to suggest that Sydney’s bus timetables could be the greatest work of fiction this nation has ever produced,” Sydney University English Professor Jeff Wheels told The (un)Australian.
“In particular, its use of suspense and key tropes such as red herrings in the form of large trucks that sound suspiciously like a bus coming round the corner really set the bus timetables out from other examples of the form.
“For instance, Sydney’s train timetables all-too-frequently have a loud voice interrupts events to announce when the next late running train will arrive, destroying the sense of mystery and unease that pervades a reader of the bus version.
“And, indeed, even when a late-running bus arrives, the timetable’s mastery of the narrative structure means the reader remains uncertain as to the true development: is this actually a very late running bus or is it instead the next bus, running early? This refusal to offer pat solutions, but keep the reader guessing long after the drama has unfolded, means the bus timetables are long overdue to be acknowledged by the Nobel committee.”
But not all critics agree. La Trobe University Professor Jenny Choo-Choo says Melbourne’s train timetables were actually a far stronger contender for literature’s highest prize.
“Melbourne’s train timetables must surely rank among the greatest-ever works of absurdism,” Professor Choo-Choo suggests. “Forget waiting for Godot, you try waiting for an all-stops to Frankston on a Sunday.”
In other news, Perth’s respective public transport timetables are considered strong contenders in a host of this year’s short story competitions.