Similar to Morgan, I to found the abrupt deaths written in 140 characters or less to be quite powerful. Cole’s idea to take away the hundreds of pages of back story that distinguish the infamous literary character’s resembles the process in which a drone strike would occur. You begin the first word of each tweet and seconds later someone is killed. Using twitter to highlight this global issue is possibly the closest way in which literature could mimic the unanticipated intensity of an air strike. In an interview, Teju Cole explains his reasoning to write these “Short Stories” was to get rid of the empathy gap towards these characters and their deaths. In the real world especially regarding drone warfare, there is no empathy between countries or for the thousands of civilians whose lives have been taken so quickly from an impersonal piece of technology.
On a different note, I also found it interesting that his tweets are being referred to as short stories. While a typical short story is many pages shorter than a novel, I would never think to define a short story by 140 characters. Is that all that is needed to communicate? Is a story defined by the pages of context and empathetical build up followed by an end? Or could it possibly be calculated by the impact that is left after it has been read, no matter the length?