I have been watching Faulk on Fiction (BBC2, Saturdays, 9pm, part of the BBC's season of programmes leading up to World Book Day in March). I did note, on his first outing, SF did not mention any female writers, though since he has some in the coming three episodes, maybe I can forgive him.

The hero is dead, he says, at least in the modern literary novel. I am continually fascinated at how literature follows society following literature. The novel is the mirror, but, in seeing itself, society - or the individual - is transfigured. So have we come to a place, perhaps, where heroes are no longer welcome?

It is also interesting how great creative explosions are also dependent the more prosaic. Van Gough needed the development of the paint which could convey his imagination. Novels required the printing press, higher levels of literacy, people who saw a business opportunity in bringing bound pages of tales to the masses. What will the invention of our age, the internet, ultimately mean?

And when the oil which turns the turbines which creates the electricity which lights our computer screens runs out, how will we tell our stories then?