Are the geniuses who brought us the internet (not counting Al Gore’s contribution) working on the next big thing? You bet. And that will spawn some incredible fishes in the Sci-Fi word of Real Life. Just think about it, a revolution in reading has already taken place. Yet, we are still holding our Kindles, Nooks, and Kobos in our hands – like books. It is a step but, indeed, a baby step.
Where will we be reading next is the question. On the rim of our glasses? (Already working on that aren’t you, SyFy geeks?) Why not any glass surface? The breakfast table would be so cool – well, if we can read around the spilled milk and Cheerios. The bathroom mirror – have to work out that steam problem. Our flying car’s windshield? Absolutely!
Two years ago Untreed Reads published one of my short stories, The Clarent Pin. In an effort to get some local buzz going I called my Cleveland, Ohio library system. It took time to locate the right person as Digital Distribution was not even a personnel classification then. It took even more words to convince the librarian that she could purchase a short story. She was still in the mode of ONLY looking at books. She was still thinking of inventory that she could put on a shelf. I talked fast and furious. There was, after all, no reason for short stories to only be included if they were in anthologies. The short story could stand on its own as an eRead. It did not matter that its thirty pages were too flimsy to remain vertical on a shelf. The shelf was no longer there. She saw the light. The Clarent Pin was the FIRST short story the library added to its eReading program.
Since then, Untreed Read’s authors (and other ePublisher’s) have worked hard and made great strides. Essays, short stories, novelettes, novellas, and flash fiction find their way into eLibraries. Full-length novels, non-fiction, and self-help are making a comeback, all due to eReading.
Even these are toddler steps. Go beyond glass as a reading surface. It would be so much handier to read on the palm of my hand. No more looking around for my eReader. No more testing my brain to discover where I left my charger. Let’s start to run with ideas, not scissors.
Oz is the place to be, not back in Kansas. I agree with the six words Steven Meretzky would have chosen as an end to the screen play, Dorothy: “Fuck it, I’ll stay here.”