A post-literate society is a hypothetical society in which multimedia technology has advanced to the point where literacy, the ability to read or write, is no longer necessary or common. The term appears as early as 1962 in Marshall McLuhan's The Gutenberg Galaxy. Many science-fiction societies are post-literate, as in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, Dan Simmons' novel Ilium, and Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story.
A post-literate society is different from a pre-literate one, as the latter has not yet created writing and communicates orally (oral literature and oral history, aided by art, dance, and singing), and the former has replaced the written word with recorded sounds (CDs, audiobooks), broadcast spoken word and music (radio), pictures (JPEG) and moving images (television, film, MPG, streaming video, video games, virtual reality). A post-literate society might still include people who are aliterate, who know how to read and write but choose not to. Most if not all people would be media literate, multimedia literate, visually literate, and transliterate.
- McLuhan, Marshall (2014). The Gutenberg galaxy : the making of typographic man. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 9781442612693. OCLC 993539009.
- Hedges, Chris (2009). Empire of illusion : the end of literacy and the triumph of spectacle. New York: Nation Books. ISBN 9781568584379. OCLC 301887642.
- The Dawn of the Post-literate Age, by Patrick Tucker, THE FUTURIST Magazine, November–December 2009. http://www.wfs.org/node/1000
- The Gutenberg Galaxy, Marshall McLuhan, University of Toronto Press, 1962
- The Empire of Illusion, Chris Hedges, 2009, ISBN 978-1-56858-437-9