Plato’s Nightmare; or: Wake me when the Singularity is Here

I just started a book about blogging called Say Everything by Scott Rosenberg. He has compiled a history of the user-based phenomena that has defined the internet since its inception. It is a chronicle of its prime movers, the self-appointed emperors of small universes everywhere.

A story is told of one of the first people to use email to create networks, a software entrepreneur  named Dave Winer. The book has reproduced snippets of his original community emails, which happened to include Bill Gates in its original network. One line caught my attention:

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Does my plan get Candide?

A few years ago in Japan someone started writing a text-message novel that was transmitted directly to the cell phones of the curious and the way too busy. It worked in Japanese and it made waves, but didn’t quite catch on among English writers and readers. In no time, however, ┬ácell phone screens began to break through their boundaries and extend to a space adequate for multi-level reading.

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Critical Mass and the Slush Pile from Hell

In a recent article on, Laura Miller expresses a sincere anxiety felt by everyone involved in publishing today. The fear is that unlimited digital freedom will lead to saturation. The overwhelming surge of independent publishing could drown the market in abundance, and – I’ll risk sounding condescending here- mediocrity. Another risk, of course, is that I am merely contributing to the din by posting my opinion on it at all. But the game is up- the din is here. The question is what to do with it.

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All About E’s

Although I spend a good amount of time visualizing the future of writing, reading, and publishing, I have yet to invest any real money into an e-reader. I’ve played around with all of the them, but have yet to find one that I like.

I see more people scanning their e-readers every day, but I have yet to join their ranks. My reasons are simple: I cannot write in the margins, which is a natural and lifelong habit that I refuse to break. I enjoy feeling how much I have read, or how much I have to go. I also stare at screens for most of my weekday hours and a bit of my leisure time, and any chance to discract myself from the various interfaces of digital life is refreshing and necessary.

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All the News that’s Fit to Upload

As writers and editors scramble to stake their claim in the open frontier of web publishing, the platform specialists are stepping in to change the game. The question of who will dictate the content and mediums of this virtual landscape has yet to be answered, which presents an exciting but sometimes confusing challenge for the writers and publishers of tomorrow. Continue reading

Novel Ideas on Boing Boing

Is the future of writing and reading fiction being revealed in a tech blog?

Writers have always adapted to their cultural environment. The era of poets dependent on aristocratic sponsors evolved into the age of mass production of entertainment fiction. At one point in history, the piers of New York harbor were crowded with devoted readers impatiently waiting for ships from London to deliver the fate of Little Nell. In time, the composed novel- and later, the short story- came to define writing and reading for the general public.

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What to expect from the NextGen e-readers

Consumers have lots of choices in the e-reader market, but the cycle of technology enusres that some will survive, while most will be mothballed. Call it techie Darwinism or just plain capitalism- either way, we need to figure out how and what we want to read.

Leaps into the future are already underway. Check out this e-reader concept recently featured in Inhabitat.

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