Is it a Book, or a Story?

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been following the escalating war between Apple — which, with the iPad, really threw down — and the forces of You Can’t Do That:  Adobe, developers, the Maker Movement, Google, and almost everyone I know on Team Geek.

Every day brings news:  The iPad will kill the Kindle.  It will kill Adobe.  (No:  Adobe killed itself.)  Join the Team Adobe Facebook GroupSteve Jobs is brilliantSteve’s gone mad.

It’s the end of open-source web development, the beginning of advention, and the end of reading.  I’m watching all of this, thinking … Wow.  It’s clearly the beginning of something, isn’t it?

I think it is.

This blog post — not elegantly written, but compelling — asks the best question of all.  Why would the end of the old way of doing things be such a bad idea?  Why not shake things up?  Can we imagine stories as something other than books?

So I started thinking this way.  I have not been able to stop.

Imagine a version of The Catcher in the Rye that actually puts you inside the moral universe of Holden Caulfield.  Imagine going into the cave with Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, or a poet showing you what she means instead of merely telling you.  We will be able to do all of that now:  without content authors doing all the work.

The “readers” of this new form would have to bring even more critical thinking to each work they’d select. They’d spend more time with each character, they’d work out the plots themselves — or the narrative would simply not advance.  And they would most likely retain more of what they read.

Why?  Because we remember what we do better than we remember what we read.

Think that writers won’t do this, won’t adapt to the new technology?

They’re already on their way.

Somebody pass me that bottle:  the one that says “Drink Me”.

Let’s go.  I’ll do it.  And I have a bunch of test readers who I believe would love to help Evil Stepmom (or Auntie Annie) work out the bugs in her beta versions.


3 responses to “Is it a Book, or a Story?

  1. Scott Donohue

    Ah, so there it is! Writers as producers, too? I think you should get on this one – there is an industry dying out there for something new. The trick, of course, is to avoid having say Hollywood “repurpose” their visual material into a bad realization of this idea.

    It’s waiting to happen…


    gives a feel for what Myst is like.

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