Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Vade Retro!

I'm sending the Devil away from my blog now. He's had his say. However, despite my misgivings, I am going to borrow his e-reader for a bit, just to give it a second chance. I have the feeling I'm going to own one at some point in the future, though certainly not until they come up with something much less clunky and squint-making. If I ever sort out my time travel problems I might just zip forward to 2017 and then come back and blog about the Apple Soft-Touch Flexiscroll. No home will be without one.

And whatever you think of that, Flexiscroll can't be a worse name than Kindle. I'd love to know how that brand name was coughed up. Anyone know? Anyway, top marks go to the interesting and talented Rachel Fenton for holding Amazon's e-reader up to a mirror and perhaps glimpsing the diabolic truth behind the name Kindle:

Eld Nik!

Yes, I know it works better in Old English but still -- creepier and creepier. Someone should tell Dan Brown. No, on second thoughts, perhaps not...

Talking of time travel, I'm happy to say that the clouds have cleared slightly and I'm writing again. I don't want to tempt fate, but at the same time, declaring this in public might just help me keep up my new progress. Please hold me to account.

Nicola Morgan, also interesting and talented, recently posted some excellent advice on how to blog well. The lesson seems to be 'give to your readers rather more than you take from them'. Easier said than done, but since this post is mostly just waffle about demons and time travel, here's some music for you. Don't forget to consider buying it if you like it (and you will).


  1. Waffle about Demons and time travel has been very much lacking in my day so far. Thanks for providing it

    Kate xx

  2. Time travel can be tricky. I have a bit of it in my WIP.
    Rules. There have to be rules for you particular brand of time travel.

  3. There will often be demon waffles served here, Kate. Help yourself to as many as you like.

    Anita, you are so right about rules. Getting these straightened out has been half the battle. Your WIP sounds interesting.

  4. Haha! Thanks for the shout out!
    I bow down to your cleverness, however, as you manage to have two opinions and pull them both off! Now tell me, how does an athiest do that (without the aid of a little devil)? :/

    And don't go telling Dan Brown...it's mine, MINE, I tell you! :)
    Cool tunes!

  5. I'm pleased to hear your little pact with Eld Nik has paid off on the writing front. Nicola Morgan's piece about blogging was so good I haven't been able to write a post since! So glad I'm not a REAL writer..

  6. You don't need to write, Mum, just post pictures of puppies.

    Rachel, I really am in two minds about e-books. It won't surprise you to hear I'm also agnostic. that's probably why I've been giving the Devil his capital D.

  7. And so my blog has been damned...damn.

  8. The devil may have the best tunes (or so they say) but why should he have books too? My problem with ebooks is this: Would you give expensive gizmos to dribbling children for them to trash (which they certainly would). I've yet to see satisfactorily reproduced illustrations. I believe the Kindle can project to a screen. But as an illustrator in need of reference, I can't see this being better than book: I can't paint in a darkened room. Besides I enjoy cross referencing and surrounding myself with different iimages as required... And art books - can a kindle give me a fold out of Gozzoli's St Francis Frescoes? I can't see it working well... For pulp fiction, classics and out of print things it's a dazzling invention. But as I look at all the cherishable, unusual, unexpected and simply beautiful little books on my shelves, held...loved...written in...with flowers pressed, letters hidden and tears stained...I'm afraid the ebook will never match that!

  9. James, I think you've just said what has taken me two days to think round the edges of, in an elegant and erudite manner that I, as someone only capable of posting pictures of cute puppies, could never have acheived. Thank you.
    I imagine ebooks have their place for technical manuals and holiday luggage.

  10. Mum – I hope you're not really offended. I would never dismiss your writing or your blog (though you must admit that lately you've had a lot of success with pictures of a certain four-legged someone:). I'm sorry if it sounded like I was.

    James, that's a very poignant and heartfelt response and I agree with you. An e-reader is a very lowly thing beside our personal libraries, especially those volumes we really love. Its main use right now seems to be reading Dan Brown under a beige plastic wrapper. As you say, you can't press a four-leaf clover in a Kindle. Neither can you inscribe it to a friend, take it to a book signing, or discover one that you've long sought for, on a forgotten shelf at the back of a second-hand bookshop one a showery afternoon in Wells.

    But having said that, the Kindle itself is just the first step in a journey that will lead to a transformation in the way we read, and a world of book lovers are not going to let that change be a poorer reading experience. Are we? There are serious reasons to be concerned about control over texts and about access, but I also think there are reasons to be excited.

    I've been using the Devil here because I wanted to equivocate, but I still count myself on the side of the angels. I first considered buying an e-reader because I wanted to read my unpublished writing off something other than a computer screen and the idea of e-paper sounded interesting. I didn't buy one because I have a printer.

  11. Well put, James. I cannot imagine picking up one of my reference books and not catching the cascade of tissue paper thin flowers, letters, scribbled drawings...that's probably the best argument against that I've heard so far.

    I must go and seek out some blog about puppies now! :)


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