Monthly Archives: June 2009

please discuss

In an as yet unpublished manuscript, historian Marshall Poe writes: “A book is a machine for focusing attention; the Internet is machine for diffusing it.” I can see how he gets there, particularly if it’s a P-book rather than an E-book, but it raises a bunch of interesting questions. If true, what are the implications . . . . ?

if:book london announces Fictional Stimulus

this is cross-posted from Bookfutures, the blog of Chris Meade, the director of IF:Book London
At last an end to those bored bookgroup blues!
You love books but are interested if sceptical about what ebooks, iPhones and laptops might do for literature? Re-ignite your passion for reading this summer – make sure you get if:book’s FICTIONAL STIMULUS, an amazing experience in digital reading which will be delivered to you by email, download, webpages and post in six segments and added extra bits.
Presented by novelist Kate Pullinger, including new writing by Cory Doctorow, Naomi Alderman, Kate Pullinger and poetry from Jacob Polley, Daljit Nagra, Eva Salzman plus new media renderings of classics by Rudyard Kipling, Williams Blake, Shakespeare and more, the FICTIONAL STIMULUS is an introduction to the future of reading in the 21st Century and beyond.
Produced by if:book, featuring newly commissioned work from our groundbreaking project MOTFOTHOTBOOK (Museum of the Future of the History of the Book) and designed by Toni Le Busque, the FICTIONAL STIMULUS is for bookgroups and individual readers who know what they love about books, and want to see what might be gained from new ways of reading.
The FICTIONAL STIMULUS includes a signed limited edition handmade ‘menu’, a complete downloadable ebook and links to a range of specially commissioned litchbits from writers asked to imagine the future of stories.
The FICTIONAL STIMULUS will give you plenty of fodder for a fantastic bookgroup or discussion with friends, and there’s the chance to WIN A PRIZE by sending in your own stories, poems and opinions on the future of reading.
to sign up either leave an email in the comments section here or on the Bookfutures page

Trying to think a bit outside the box or at least change my conception of the box

There’s endless talk these days about ebook readers, Kindle and all its e-ink cousins, and future tablets from Apple and other phone makers. There’s nothing wrong with the fact that these devices are all designed to emulate the experience of reading printed material, but this is a starting point not the end point. The forms are going to evolve in ways we can’t imagine and they may not be best served by 2-D paper emulators.
Reading this description of new functionality in Microsoft’s XBox, I started wondering whether as game box evolves into an all-purpose “entertainment hub” which is thoroughly integrated into major social networks, whether it might extend it’s reach to host new forms of (social) reading. if a “book is a place” perhaps one strand of the near future will be to explore that space with a joystick. I hadn’t thought about it before, but perhaps the interview of me in This Spartan Life is a thought experiment in this direction. It would be interesting to re-imagine The Golden Notebook project which proved the viability of an asynchronous reading group as taking place inside of a virtual space where sometimes you would really be “with” other readers and sometimes on your own.
The article that kicked off this little reverie is from this morning’s MIT Technology Review is about a new camera/controller for Microsoft’s X-Box. The sentences that caught my attention:

Microsoft also debuted 10 exclusive new games and the ability to access social networking sites Facebook and Twitter as well as streaming music service on the Xbox Live service. The popular social networking sites Facebook and Twitter will be fully integrated into Xbox Live beginning this fall.
There were several announcements about the Xbox 360’s video capabilities including increased functionality with the online Netflix service, 1080p high-definition video downloads, live TV in the United Kingdom and the ability to watch movies online with friends.