Communion Of Dreams


On the subject of science fiction.

Interesting convergence of a couple of items I came across this morning. First, via BB, there’s a good discussion of “the future of publishing” to be found at SF Signal: the consensus seems to be that the existing publishing models will still be around over the next ten years, but the tech will shift from dedicated readers (of both the paper [books] and electronic [Kindle, Nook] variety) over to apps which can be used on existing machines [smart phones and laptop/netbook variations]. This would be my guess as well – I think that as our phones continue to evolve, building in this kind of functionality just makes sense, and would mean that people have to lug around one less item every day.

The other main item is a good discussion on MetaFilter about a post over on Crooked Timber which attempts to explore the portrayal of science in science fiction movies, using six fairly broad categories.

Now, why do I say convergence? Because part of the discussion on MetaFilter concerns the difference between science fiction *movies* and science fiction *books* in how they portray science (and the reaction to it). It’s a legitimate point, and one I would agree with, as far as it goes. But only so far. Because as we continue to move forward I think that the distinction between a book and a movie will grow more . . . vague. And that will be due precisely to the technology used.

No, not every book will be turned into a full-fledged movie as we think of it today. But more and more the technological tools are being developed, and a wide cultural body of reference material is being created, which would allow for a crowdsourcing creation of a true hypertext out of almost any simple book. Think about how we’re already seeing this happen with “mashups” between film clips and music (or another film clip). Or how about “autotuning” of speeches into songs? Or the cartoon vocalization and enactment of debates/discussions/essays? These are all early technologies/trends which will grow and become more sophisticated, until it’ll be a fairly simple (and likely common) matter to convert almost any straight text into something more – blending audio and video versions for the ‘reader’ to choose and use as he sees fit. Chances are, you’ll buy a book and it’ll come with several different versions for you to select from, perhaps with rankings as to popularity or creativity – it’ll be like browsing YouTube today, complete with recommendations from your friends and family.

Something to think about.

Jim Downey


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Here is the REAL future of Sci-Fi:

http://gizmodo.com/5744805/the-only-sci+fi-movie-you-need-to-watch-for-the-rest-of-your-life

Comment by EdK

I dunno, Ed – I’d say that pretty much covers everything possible going forward, and is actually the end of movie making. I mean, why bother?

Comment by James Downey

Forgot to put that smiley face at the end of my ‘orgy of absurdity’ post. Just another peanut gallery smartass comment, you know.

Comment by EdK

Ah. OK, got it.

And anyone who hasn’t checked his link – definitely do so. Hilariously bad to the point of being an instant classic.

Comment by James Downey




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