Updated Aug 17, 2015 at 10:13PM EDT by Brad.

Added Sep 06, 2014 at 01:21AM EDT by John Quiggin.

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Shorter refeers to the practice of substituting a short snarky summary for a lengthy and (in the opinion of the user) pretentious or intellectually dishonest piece of writing. Though the idea originated with political writing, it quickly took off on literary blogs. The concept is similar to tl;dr.


Shorter X originated with Daniel Davies.[1] The original target was Steven den Beste, a blogger notably for lengthy posts in support of war with Iraq.


On April 14th, 2009, the blog Post Modern Barney[10] published a list titled "Uncomfortable Plot Summaries" featuring short, funny plot summaries of popular books and movies such as:

"DOCTOR WHO: Elderly man serially abducts young women.
DONNIE DARKO: Hallucinating teen crushed by airplane engine.
DRACULA: Immigrant clashes with locals.
E.T.: Out-of-control pet causes mayhem, sadness.

On April 28th, that blog post was used as inspiration for a thread on one-sentence book summaries on a message board on I Like Books[11] created by user Lynda X. On June 14th, 2013, the Tumblr blog 1sent[9], which summaries the plots of books, movies and video games in one sentence, was created. Some examples include Catching Fire:

"A girl’s voice gets progressively more annoying until you can no longer read it anymore."

as well as Jaws:

"A country with nuclear weapons can’t figure out a way to stop a shark."

External References

[1] BlogDanielDavies – Related Article

[2] EschantonBlog – Shorter Tom Friedman

[3] SadlyNo – Related Archive

[4] CrookedTimber – Shorter Eugene Volokh

[5] CorrenteWire – Shorter R E H I

[6] Nielsenhayden – Archives

[7] SadlyNo – Related Archive

[8] Lewrockwell – Shorter Obama War Speech

[9] Tumblr – 1sent

[10] Post Modern Barney – Uncomfortable Plot Summaries

[11] I Like Books – One-Sentence Book Summaries

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