Friday, February 15, 2019

FROM STAGE TO PAGE, THE PHASES OF "MADE ON THE MOON"









Right now Crossroad Press is discounting my ebook novella, Made on the Moon, reducing the price to just 99 pretty little pennies. So, I thought I would take this occasion to take a look back on the long road this short piece took to get here.


I first started writing Made on the Moon ( MOTM) in the mid-seventies when I was writing articles and reviews for Neworld Magazine,




an arts publication from the Inner City Cultural Center (ICCC) here in Los Angeles. A multi-cultural center for both the visual and performing arts that came of age after the Watts riots, ICCC was an exciting place to work at with its complex of theaters, dance spaces, and galleries housed in an old Masonic lodge.



I don’t know if there were old Masonic ghosts there, but there was plenty of living actors, dancers, visual artists, and writers running around with purpose, doing important training and work, many of whom went on to award-winning careers.


MOTM started out as a short story pretending to be a journalist’s Q&A interview with the story’s protagonist, Stanley Lewis, an old man of querulous nature. He informs the journalist that he had wanted to go to the moon from the time he was an infant. A fairly early ambition, I think you’ll agree. The story takes place sometime in the near future over a hundred years from Stanley’s birth in 1949.


Much like his creator, Stanley turned out to be a loquacious chap when talking about his life and the piece soon became more a monologue than a Q&A. So I decided to turn it into a one-man one-act play. But it didn’t quite workquestions needed to be asked of Stanley. So I put the journalist back.


Eventually, the journalist morphed into three mysterious, yet very individual interviewers, asking questions of Stanley for an unrevealed purpose. They gave the play a rounder, more theatrical feel and allowed me to go deeper into Stanley’s stories of his life, both those mundanely true and those pure rocket-powered flights of fancy.


I can’t really remember where I was in Stanley’s story when I stopped working on it as other activities started to dominate my time. I had gotten involved in being the managing editor and writing for a start-up film newspaper called The Cinemaphile. That led to a job as Executive Secretary of ASIFA-Hollywood, an animation society of professionals and fans, which led to a job as a programmer specializing in animation for the 1978 Los Angeles International Film Exposition, or Filmex.



After that year’s exposition, I left Filmex (although I was a guest programmer for several years after) to set up a one-man publicity shop specializing in animation clients, such as Chuck Jones, Bill Melendez, and Richard Williams. Which led to my wanting to produce animation, which led to getting involved with a very young Brad Bird and Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz on the development of a project, which led to my joining Gary’s company, which led to a year in Tokyo. Although it was a period of intense activity, I still made time for personal writing but had switched to working on a novel, leaving the unfinished MOTM in a file cabinet.


I left Gary’s company in the summer of 1984 but stayed in Tokyo for a few months of quiet time to finish my novel. Once home, and once my wife Amanda and I were resettled in Los Angeles, I got back to work on MOTM. I didn’t get far though. I got stuck, as will happen, and didn’t know where to next take Stanley’s story. Much of what I had written was semi-autobiographical. But what was to come to take Stanley many years into the future, well past his 100th birthday, that, obviously, was unwritten in my own life so unavailable as inspiration. Besides, I wasn’t intending to map the rest of Stanley’s life based on the hoped-for geography of my own. I had far more weirdly interesting and nicely nefarious, yet vague, incidents in mind for him. It was just getting them out of mind and onto paper.


Actually, as I remember it, I had stopped this time where Stanley had become an unhappy high school teacher, which was not autobiographical at all. But I didn’t quite know what to do with it. Then, one morning, on January 28th, 1986, I was coming out of the shower when Amanda called out to tell me that the Challenger space shuttle was about to launch. I wrapped a robe around myself and went to the living room to see the launch. I had loved watching launches of huge rockets sending brave professional explorers into space ever since the Mercury program. This love was, indeed, part of the core of MOTM. It was a love that had grown out of loving the rocket launches of imagination in science fiction films. And, of course, in reading many times over the opening pages of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles in the section entitled “Rocket Summer.”


But this launch was different from all previous launches. The first civilian was being shot into spacea teacher. A historic launch, then, and not to be missed. It became tragically, horribly historic when 73 seconds into its flight, the Challenger broke apart killing everyone on board, including the teacher, Christa McAuliffe.




It was a shock. It was deeply, painfully sad. And yet, I suddenly knew what the next scene in MOTM had to be. I immediately went to my desk and recreated what I had just seen from the point of view of Stanley watching it, along with some very dull, uninterested high school students, in the Social Studies class he was teaching. The rest of the play flowed into Stanley’s very particular future from there.


Writers are vampires, you do have to understand that. We suck the blood of our experiences and the experiences of others, good or bad, joyful or tragic, whatever serves the needs of storytelling.


I was still involved in Hollywood, trying to develop projects of my own, sometimes working for film companies in various capacities. But whenever I could promote a full production or even a reading of MOTM, I would do so. I was very happy with it and felt that it would play well on stage. But if you think filmmaking is hard, try getting a play produced. Especially in Los Angeles. Nevertheless, MOTM had some readings by actors who liked it a lot, and they were always encouraging.


In 1990 I became the president of Chuck Jones Productions. In 1992, I formed my own production company with a partner. We secured a two-picture deal at MGM, which was interrupted by us being tapped in 1995 by Warner Bros to produce the animation for Space Jam, the Michael Jordan/Bugs Bunny multi-million dollar marketing attempt to extend the life, especially in toys, of the old Looney Tunes characters.


Work on Space Jam took me to London several times to consult with animation studios there that we had contracted to work on the film. At one of the studios, I met an energetic, smart, young PA, Pippa Ford, who shared my love of theater. I gave her MOTM to read. She loved it and organized a group of young British actors to stage it for three weeks at the 1996 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where it received a four-star review in The Scotsman.




Amanda and I and our young daughter, Miranda, went over to Edinburgh for the final week of the run. It was, as you might imagine, a wonderful experience.


We returned to Los Angeles, hoping that MOTM would have more productions in the U.K., but, alas, that never happened.


In 1998 Amanda heard of a play-reading program at the Coronet Theater in L.A. and suggested I submit Made on the Moon. I did so and they picked it up immediately. The director cast comedian/actor Paul Provenza in the role of Stanley. From the first table read I was thrilledPaul played Stanley exactly as Stanley had always played in my head. It was a very successful reading. Paul decided to get involved in trying to secure a full production of the play for him to star in. He sent it out to a lot of people he had worked with in theater. Eventually, a producer in New York who loved Paul decided to produce a limited run of MOTM in an off-Broadway theater on 45th Street in midtown Manhattan.


Just as things were about to start on this production, Paul got cast in a new Showtime series, Beggars & Choosers, which was starting filming almost immediately in Vancouver. Without Paul, the producer pulled out. It was deeply disappointing. But then I didn’t want to do it without Paul, either.


After Beggars & Choosers ended, Paul kept trying to get a production of MOTM going, but his career was taking different turns and nothing ever came together.


I put Made on the Moon aside. I had started writing novels again in 1993 and by 2003 I saw the publication of Blood is Pretty: The First Fixxer Adventure, my satiric Hollywood thriller. Since then, I have had five more novels published in various genres, and a book of essays about my friend and colleague, the great Ray Bradbury.


MOTM resurfaced once more in 2009 when I directed a staged reading of the play at the Writers Guild of America. I was thrilled to have in the cast two Star Trek doctors, John Billingsley from Star Trek Enterprise and Robert Picardo from Star Trek Voyager. John played Stanley wonderfully, bringing a voice to him different than the one in my head, but one that was absolutely right. Robert was delicious as the leader of the interviewers. The very talented and funny Bonita Friedericy, a cast member from the TV series Chuck, was one of the other interviewers, and the third was played by Johanna McKay, who is currently a professor in the Theater department at Los Angeles City College.



It was a great reading and a wonderful night, and some interest in a fully staged production of MOTM was discussed, but, as seemed to be this play’s fate, it came to nothing.


In the great joy I’ve had writing novels for over 20 years now, I’ve come to realize that my one, true passion is for writing prose. As much as I love film and the theater, the art of prose is what thrills me the most. Thinking about this, one day, I decided to rewrite Made on the Moon in narrative prose.


The material did not justify adapting MOTM as a full novel, but it was just right for a novella. In making the adaptation I believe I lost none of the power that the piece had on the stage. And it allowed me to add some scenes and deepen some emotions. After I finished, I realized that Made on the Moon may now be in its perfect form. Which makes sense because, as a playscript, it almost always got the universal response of, “This is a great read!” Not all plays are, being but blueprints for staging.


So now Stanley’s story is one that can be read and can live in the mind of readers. I would be pleased if you would check the ebook out on Amazon and other online ebook stores (see links below) during this 99 cent sale. Made on the Moon has had a trip almost as far as one to the moon and back, and it would certainly enjoy finding some homes to hang its hat at.


Here what some have said about Made on the Moon, a Novella


"With just enough satirical elements to emphasize the blurred line between logic and insanity, true fans of Science Fiction will find a kindred attachment with the Stanley Lewis character. It is a hero's journey, a relentless determination to dream the impossible. Made on the Moon by Steven Paul Leiva shows us that reaching for the stars is not just a dream, for some, it is a way of life." Ricky L. Brown, Amazing Stories Magazine.



"Leiva has crafted a satire - perhaps a self-satire - with a very warm heart. If you've ever dreamed of flying in space or walking on the Moon, you'll get the point of this story and you'll love every page." Russell Blackford, author of Science Fiction and the Moral Imagination.
"In a wry and oddly affecting voice that alternates between the parodistic and the plangent, this taut short novel by Mr. Leiva is about Stanley, a disaffected mid-century sci-fi loving American Nerd who would rather be a space taxi cab driver than an accountant. . . This brisk and touching comic novel has mysterious and profound things to say about the price of freedom. Highly recommended!" John Billingsley, "Dr. Phlox" on Star Trek Enterprise and voracious reader.



"Leiva brings his delightful wit and facility with language to a tale that feels personal and honest. It unravels in the most unexpected ways, and, as is so often the case in his work, I found both my curiosity and my funny bone tickled. A great read. Jeff Cannata, host of the We Have Concerns and /Filmcast podcasts.

"Quirky, comic, downright daft - but so well written and so believably endearing from the main character, Stanley, that you're more inclined to suspend the disbelief of his interviewers and fall into the interstellar flights our hero has undertaken. Another one of these stories that you promise you'll take your time with but end up consuming in one breathless session - this is everything at once: sad, heart-warming, curious, amusing and full of concise and sharp lines that I have seen all over the author's work - whatever the style or topic, the detail is immaculate." Daz Pulsford, Amazon UK.


If Stanley’s story affects you positively, I would be grateful if you would take the time to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads. They are always helpful to indie-authors.


Cheers to all!
=================================================================
ONLINE EBOOK STORE LINKS TO 
MADE ON THE MOON



AMAZON.COM

AMAZON U.K.



GOOGLE PLAY


KOBO


IBOOKS


BARNES & NOBLE



Monday, January 7, 2019

WHAT A GREAT WAY TO START THE WEEK!







What a great way to start the week! Stephen Webb is a British physicist/astronomer and author with a passionate love of Science Fiction (especially Asimov) which inspired him to become a scientist and continues to inspire him. 



He is well-known as a popular science writer and he gave a great TED Talk last year



featuring ideas from his book If the Universe Is Teeming with Aliens ... WHERE IS EVERYBODY?: Seventy-Five Solutions to the Fermi Paradox and the Problem of Extraterrestrial Life 






Many thanks to @stephenswebb for the kind words, which are deeply appreciated. 




You can find Traveling in Space (print, audio, ebook) on Amazon.com.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

THROWBACK BLOG # 3 Ralphie is true spirit of Christmas




Originally published in the Los Angeles Times December 24, 2011










Ralphie is true spirit of Christmas



'A Christmas Carol'? '34th Street'? Nah, the movie that's truest is 'A Christmas Story.'

December 24, 2011|Steven Paul Leiva | Steven Paul Leiva's latest novel, "Traveling in Space," was published in November by Bluroof Press
Twenty-eight years ago, I was a producer on a film based in Tokyo when, just before the Thanksgiving holiday, I was called back to America to deal with a production emergency. The company I worked for was based in Marin County in Northern California, and there I found myself all alone on Thanksgiving Day. Wallowing in self-pity, I took myself off to one of the charming villages of Marin County, found a Country Kitchen-like restaurant, sat down to the Thanksgiving Special, and gave absolutely no thanks for the mendacious accountant who had run off with some of the production's funds.
After the pumpkin pie, I took a stroll and came across a movie house playing some film called "A Christmas Story." I had been in Japan for months and had not heard of this film, so I stopped to check out the poster and the lobby cards, those wonderful, now extinct, 11-by-14 cards that showed you enticing scenes from the movie. It looked like a not-horrible way to kill some of my forlorn holiday. I put down the cash for a single ticket and went in.
It was a happy decision. The film was not only the remedy for my blues, but I came out of the theater convinced that I had just seen the most honest, and thus best Christmas movie ever made -- an opinion from which I have never swayed.
It is an opinion that will be argued with. Let me state my case by considering two Christmas movies (and their messages) that many would elect to the pantheon of All-Time Best Christmas Movies: "A Christmas Carol," in all its various versions, and "Miracle on 34th Street."
"A Christmas Carol" is a neat ghost story and the chronicle of a life, two appealing story forms, but it is as a story of redemption, or "reclamation" as the Ghost of Christmas Past puts it, that is at the core of its Christmas message. But how true are redemptions in reality, how honest a portrayal of real life is "A Christmas Carol"?
We all want to believe that redemption is possible -- usually for others, rarely for ourselves -- and thus the power of the story, but how many people have you known who have truly been redeemed, who have gone from bad to good? Outside of alcoholics who are now sober and drug addicts who are now clean, of course. Haven't you ever had the suspicion that Scrooge may well have woke on Dec. 27 and thought, "Oh, humbug, what have I bloody done!?"
Dickens' story of redemption is no more than a hopeful wish, and not -- sadly -- a true portrayal of the reality of Christmas.
"Miracle on 34th Street" has at least two messages: That we have horribly commercialized Christmas and that, "Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to."
Let's take the second first. Believing in things when common sense tells you not to sounds good, even noble, and can make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But, despite what the filmmakers would like you to believe, it also serves remarkably and more realistically well as a definition of delusion or, worse, insanity.
As to the dark evil of the commercialization of Christmas, how honest a message is that for publicly traded corporate entities to be imparting? Do any of us really believe that Christmas is not about commerce? The economy of our nation depends on Christmas being about the commercial; the powers-that-be hold their collective economic-prediction-breaths from the very first frenetic minute of Black Friday (and now Deeply Gray Thursday) to the last frenetic shopping moments of Christmas Eve. To say that Christmas shouldn't be commercial is practically an utterance of economic terrorism.
These are just two examples of what is true for most Christmas movies: They portray the Christmas experience as we wish it to be but not as it is.
"A Christmas Story," on the other hand, is the true, honest portrayal of the Christmas experience because it is portrayed from the kid's point of view and not from the parents' as they leave the kid with family, or maybe even home alone to rush off to a big-box store.
For kids, Christmastime is a period of painfully sweet anticipation of the day when brightly wrapped presents under a tree will be unwrapped to reveal fervently hoped-for gifts that are given for no apparent reason.
The source of this largesse, kids are quite aware, is not really Santa Claus but their parents, those tall aliens in their house who are there to serve their needs of shelter and nourishment, to embarrass them and to be examples of weirdness they hope never to follow. Loving they are, and kids love them back, but truly, they are only there to serve.
Never do they better exercise the duties of their office than at Christmastime, as the "Old Man" in "A Christmas Story" shows when he takes true delight in watching Ralphie open the Red Ryder BB Gun -- the Holy Grail of Christmas presents -- that only he knew was Ralphie's deepest desire. This is why "A Christmas Story" is the best, most honest and truest Christmas film ever. It shows Christmas as it is, not as we may wish it to be.
Am I being too cynical? Well, if I am, it is not without a sentimental side, for I enjoy and tear up every year at "A Christmas Carol" and "Miracle on 34th Street" -- but then my hobby used to be crying at Kodak commercials.
"A Christmas Story," though, gives me great nostalgic delight and joy in the recognition of Truth -- and that's a gift I'll take any day.




Monday, December 10, 2018

THROWBACK BLOG # 2 A Book By Any Other Cover: on E-books and "Real" Books


ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 10, 2010




A couple of weeks ago at a Writers Guild meeting about our upcoming contract negotiations in 2011, I was catching up with some of my fellow members who I hadn’t seen since the contract negotiations and strike of 2007/2008.




Writers are not by nature tribal, it usually takes a powwow of some significance to get us to come out of our dens. I was telling them about the interesting time I was having marketing the new e-book edition of my novel, Blood is Pretty,





when one expressed, with a wince over the unclean,




that he was not sure he could ever get used to an e-reader like the Amazon Kindle or the Barnes & Noble Nook as he liked, “...to feel the heft of a real book.”




This is a sentiment I’ve heard often during these days of potential transition from ink impressed letters on paper leaves bound beneath a cover to digitally encoded and decoded letters electronically, and so magically it seems, made to appear on a screen encased in plastic. Indeed, literary legend and lion Ray Bradbury’s daughter enjoys the Kindle Amazon sent to her dad as a gift, because he refused to have anything to with as it did not, “...feel, look or smell like a book.”




Although he did like the fact that he could enlarge the type, a useful function given his failing eyesight, but that was not enough of an inducement to win him over. Although, in 1983 he both predicted that there would someday be ebooks and that they would be quite a good thing, as you can see in this CBS Sunday Morning memorial to him.





Given the fact that my basic interior design sensibility might be called “Classic Library of Classics” or “Nicely Appointed Previously Owned Tomes Establishment,” I quite understand how my Writers Guild colleague and my friend Ray Bradbury felt. As Thomas Jefferson said to John Adams in an 1815 letter, “I cannot live without books.”






The view of a large wooden bookcase filled with books in an orderly manner is as aesthetically pleasing to me—if not more so—than a stunning seascape,




a lush green forest,





a brilliant sunset or sunrise,




or even a classic Hollywood headshot of Grace Kelly.





I have no idea if this is at all an honorable feeling, it could well be just a quirk, even a fetish, albeit a harmless one, but whatever it is it has been mine for as long as I can remember. Not that I grew up in such an environment. My dad was not much of a reader, and although my mother was, she was a loyal patron of the public library, which happily kept books on shelves for her. The genesis of my love I can only assume came from watching English movies and television shows with scenes taking place in the large libraries of country manor houses lined with tall bookcases filled with beautiful leather-bound books.





Indeed, I’m quite sure this is true for as a young man I developed an irrational hate of dust jackets because they covered up the spines of books, which is what is seen when books are in bookshelves. Memories of all those wonderful leather-covered spines of books in those English movie country manor house libraries told my dying-to-be-snobbish mind that this is the only proper way to display books, despite my having few leather-bound books. Even the prosaic cloth-covered spines of the books I owned, though, seemed more proper to display that the thin paper of dust jackets which so easily tore and wore.

I relieved my books of their dust jackets and consigned them to the dustbin.






It took an attractive woman


to point out to me that I was an idiot. “The reason they are called dust jackets is that they protect the cloth binding against dust,” she informed me. “Besides they tell you something about the book and often have interesting covers.” She made her case well and I have not relieved a book of its jacket since, and have often regretted my actions when I spy a book in my bookcase that would now be well-clothed except for my youthful indiscretion. I later married that attractive woman, although not just for this bit of wisdom.





I am not prone to telling such confessional stories, but this one points out a useful fact to consider. In my love of books in bookcases—and in hand, experiencing their heft, look, feel and smell—I am treating books as objects or, possibly better said, artifacts, which, of course, they are. But a book is also the content, the information; amusement; comfort and joy; calls to action; revelations; tears and laughter that may be contained within. Which, if we were compelled to choose, is more important—the artifact or the content?


When I was a boy sitting around the dinner table, eating my vegetables, which often came from a can,





my father would often remark, “These are nowhere near as good as the wonderful fresh vegetables my mom use to make when I was a boy.” I would just as often—because I was a smart-ass—say, “You know, Dad, I’ll bet you when I’m a father in the Twenty-first Century and we’re eating our vegetable pills, I’ll be saying, ‘These are nowhere near as good as the wonderful canned vegetables my mom use to make when I was a boy.’”




I was wrong. No one that I know of eats their vegetables in a pill, and the technological innovation of the vacuum-packed can, while still being used, is not much of an object of nostalgic reflection. It is just a delivery system. It has the advantage of shelf life but not usually the advantage of its contents having a lively taste. If you want your vegetables to have lively taste, you’ll need fresh vegetables, and to get them you’ll need to become your own delivery system by growing them yourself or trust the delivery systems of a local provider.





The content of a thing is ultimately the most important.


The book, what we are now calling the traditional book, “...a written or printed work consisting of pages glued or sewn together along one side and bound in covers,” has been both a more successful and less successful delivery system than the vacuum-packed can. It never alters the “taste” of its contents, but, because it is prone to wear and tear, mold and mildew, not to mention the evil of dust and the negligence of borrowers,






it does not always have a long shelf life. However, it is quite user-friendly—portable with pages not difficult to turn, easy on the eyes depending on the type size, and usually of a warm, inviting feel. You can underline and write in the margins if you so choose to desecrate it. In essence, books travel well with us. Books can be boon companions. If you are a book reader—and who reading this blog wouldn’t be—books might well figure into highlights of your personal history. That book or series of books you shared with your best childhood buddy, say those Frazzeta cover-illustrated paperbacks of the Mars novels by Edgar Rich Burroughs; that beat up copy of Siddhartha you were reading while sitting around the collage quad that attracted the attention of that long-haired blonde beauty who looked just liked Michelle Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas; that Saul Bellow novel that kept dogging you when you were in your twenties—you loved it, you hated it, you loved it, you hated it—; that rare book of short stories from her favorite author that you “scored” in finding at a used book store and gave to her, her smile back convincing you that she was indeed the love of your life; those Dr. Seuss books you read out loud to your kids, acting them out in a gloriously foolish performance; that dark, dangerous, bloody serial-killer novel you read while sitting on a warm, sunny beach somewhere during your most wonderful vacation ever; that great jazz musician’s biography you read while on a long train trip, the train providing the rhythm section. You can remember the look, the feel, the touch, the cover, the heft of all of these books and you remember them with great fondness, yet isn’t it the content that really deserves to be part of your memory? Wasn’t the delivery system—the look, the feel, the touch, the cover, the heft—really just, dare I call it, an appendix to the content?


Smells can bring on a flood of memories, but aren't they just the memories of smells? The aroma of a great meal is delightful, but it is not the aroma that will nourish you.


I do not believe in the human soul, but I do believe in the soul of books, and the soul of books is their content, not their delivery system.


E-books have become exponentially more popular in the last year or two. This seems to date from the introduction of the Amazon Kindle, which was deemed far more user-friendly, albeit in a different way than the printed book, than any previous e-reader. There are two Amazon Kindle Facebook pages that I check in with daily. Here’s what some of the users of that device have to say.


“My friend's son is serving in Afghanistan. He ordered a Kindle and loves it. Unfortunately, it got stepped on. Amazon is replacing it for free! I love doing business with companies who support our troops. Loved my Kindle before, love it even more now!”


“My Kindle is loaded with books and vacation is about to start. Woohoo!!!”


“Kindle is keeping me physically fit. I could never find a book with a font I could read while working out so often I quit early out of boredom. Thanks to the Kindle and its adjustable fonts, I can read while working out and I stay at the gym much longer now.”


“I'm exhausted from reading too much...Thanks, Kindle, now I'm a couch potato of note.”


Which was answered by this comment:


“I wish I was just a couch potato...problem is I'm finding all new ways to be a potato...park potato, lunch potato, car potato, waiting room potato, long line potato, intermission potato....the list goes on...that darn kindle is too easy to read ANYWHERE!!!! I love it!”


I don’t doubt that these enthusiastic lovers of the Kindle are right now building up wonderful memories of how it is becoming their literary best-friend, their companion for life, nor do I doubt that some of these memories will revolve around the fact that these e-readers seem to be even more user-friendly than the traditional book. Their memories will involve such attributes as carrying the complete collection of your favorite author’s works (for you can store up to 3500 books), so that if while reading one in, say, a mystery series, and the character mentions something that happened four books ago and you wanted to read that scene in that book, you can without leaving your seat, whether it be in a Starbucks, on a plane or train, at the doctor’s office, or, most conveniently, the donut seat in your bathroom. You can check a quote from Dickens or Austin or Twain or Hemingway by just doing a search instead of thumbing through your paper copy desperately trying to remember what chapter it was in, whether it came early or late in the story, or if it’s even in David Copperfield, maybe it was in Oliver Twist. You can highlight and look up the definition of a word without having to cart a dictionary around everywhere with you, and, indeed, with the Kindle, you can cart a dictionary around everywhere with you. Here is a delivery system that seems to enhance the “taste” of its contents, not diminish it.


What then is the future of the traditional book? In the short run, these Kindle owner comments seem to give a good indication:


“I have hundreds of books some signed, some old, some rare I will NEVER part with them, how can I?”


“I will never be able to stop collecting paper books...I love my kindle and my books...why should you have to choose one over the other."


“Umm gang.. You are allowed to have both mediums. Book police will not arrest you if you get one or both. It does not have to be either/or... I buy both quite a bit.”


As to the long-range future of the traditional book? I don’t know. I do, though, know that no one reads The Iliad and The Odyssey on scrolls as they did in ancient Greece and Rome,






and I know that the colonists who may well settle on the Moon and the planet Mars and the generations of explorers who may venture out of our solar system in starships will not be taking traditional books with them—they just weigh too much. However, they will be able to—in both personal e-readers and in digital libraries—take the whole of their species’ literary output if they so desire.




Indeed, if we do colonize the Moon and Mars and send people off in generational ships, we better damn well send them off with the whole of our literary output. Because if we don’t do that, what then are we really sending to the stars?


Here on Earth, traditional books may become nothing but collector's items, ancient, often beautiful artifacts of a time gone by, or newly printed and bound books, created at great expense and sold at great cost to give a feeling of those times gone by. I, as I sit in my book-lined home, or visit my favorite bookstore, find that extremely sad. The next generation though, or the generation beyond that, will most likely look back at me and wonder, Why?


As long as the content survives, as long as the thoughts, passions, intelligence and even perversions of the human mind survive, the Book, no matter what physical delivery system delivers it into a reader’s hands, will survive.

========================================================

All my books are available as ebooks and some are also available in print and audio editions. You can check them out HERE.

THROWBACK BLOG # 1 Considering the Source: Which Contributes Most to the Well-being of Society - Science or Art?