Sunday, March 28, 2010

Boog-ie down productions

Levi reads one of the most enjoyable books of last year, Christopher J. Miller's The Cardboard Universe and thinks to bounce it off both Steve Hely's How I Became a Famous Novelist (the other most enjoyable b. of l.y.) and Elif Batuman's The Possessed. (Perhaps not coincidentally, The Cardboard Universe found its way onto the Believer Book Award's shortlist.)

Here's a link to my take on Miller (from the L.A. Times), and to Jason Boog's related musing on "enhanced eBooks that don't exist yet" (at Galleycat):

Still, the encyclopedia format begs for some simple HTML coding in the eBook edition. When reading the book's individual encyclopedia entries, the reader should be able to jump between entries with the same ease as a print book--but the clunky Kindle interface just isn't built for this kind of browsing. With an iPad or tablet computer version, the author could actually embed a few sly Wikipedia entries or websites to help the reader find out more about the real life science fiction author lurking behind the pages of this funny book.

Which reminded me (prompted by Levi?) of my disappointed reaction to Eoin Colfer's Hitchhiker's Guide sequel:

"And Another Thing . . . " punctuates its increasingly tedious story line with entries from the "Guide," some of which show a glimmer of Adams-like spark. What if Colfer had let Arthur, Zaphod and company rest in peace and, instead, given us some approximation of the "Guide" itself? Rather than follow the pesky rules of plot, Colfer might have created something truly anarchic, in the spirit of the original, but in a form Adams could only dream of.

A book consisting only of discrete entries might sound daunting, but, in fact, the structure would be liberating. And any time the reader got confused, a button could be depressed, and those two beautiful words -- DON'T PANIC! -- would come swimming out of the e-ink ether.

Unrelated thought: Levi should become a "book model"! Dapper dude!

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

View My Stats