At HTML Giant, Justin Taylor looks at the work of George Saunders via his short story “Al Roosten”.
Is George Saunders the most radical fiction writer writing in the mainstream today? Or to put it a possibly better way, is Saunders the most mainstream of today’s radical fiction writers?
A damn good piece on a writer whose work sometimes moves me and sometimes frustrates me; in a lot of ways, it clarifies just why his work tends to have that effect on me.
At HTML Giant, Jimmy Chen looks at Issuu’s method for displaying text, which — to these eyes — essentially looks like figuring out a way to mimic the action of holding a magazine open in the online space. This is something I’ve seen used a fair amount of places, including by publications I like, and I’m a little baffled by it. I like reading articles in magazines; I like reading articles online. I can argue the pros and cons of each, but — more importantly — I think the critical thing is determining what the best way is to display those articles. I’d tend to argue that using one kind of media to mimic the properties of another leaves you with a hybrid that loses the advantages of each.
In a similar vein — Warren Ellis today directed readers to his earlier coverage of the Papernet, to Matt Jones’s announcement of the PaperCamp conference, and to Jeremy Keith’s coverage of the same. There’s a lot to take in here — half the reason I’m posting all of these links is so that I’ll have them all in a handy place — but given the growing theme in granularity in publishing (the Emerging Writers Network has had a lot of recent coverage of limited-run chapbooks, for instance) and publishers bridging the gap between online and printed work, this definitely seems like the beginning of something significant.
It’s deeply frustrating to read “the future of publishing” pieces that tend to focus on an entirely digital future for books. Mainly because — for me — there seems to be a general “digital is always better” mentality that doesn’t always make sense. Does a perennially updated digital work make sense in some cases? Sure. But there seems to be a call for a singular format even as we evolve the ability to present work in a host of different forms, and at times it seems like a rush to standardize may deprive works from being presented in what might be their ideal format.
Update: looks like the next PaperCamp will happen in Cohoes, New York in around two weeks.
….specifically, their independent literature Secret Santa program for the holidays. There’s something inherently appealing about this idea. I’m totally in.