Digital Debate at Grub Street Writer’s Conference in Boston

I need to investigate any possibility of publishing my bad side and so attended a Grub Street Writer’s Conference town hall debate on the viability of internet publication. 20140502_133530I was bored at first, with the conversation focused on metadata and using key words as effective search terms. 20140502_162951My interest was suddenly piqued when Vook VP Matt Cavnar confessed, “We live in a utopia and post-apocalyptic world at the same time. We are truly in the end times.”

Author Steve Almond, a self-proclaimed “digital immigrant”, added: “The digital world is being used by us to foster our distractions.”

The digital proponents remained true. Rachel Fershleiser of Tumblr: “The digital world is just an opportunity to meet strangers in your underwear.” topless_chicks_playing_computer_games_640_04And to the question of whether quality reading was really being done on phones, she admitted that indeed it was “Books versus Candy Crush.” candu crushIn the end, as persuasive as many of these pundits were – innocently stating that “rich snippets” were in fact “engineered serendipity” – I was ultimately terrified by the willingness of so many to be plugged into the machine. the-matrixAnd I thought about writing about that.

The Oblivion of Science Fiction

Oblivion epitomizes everything about science fiction that makes the genre frustratingly mediocre at best. oblivion_movie_sky_towerThe biggest problem is the complete lack of originality, beginning with the predictable post-apocalyptic setting first seen in Planet of the Apes – the poor old Statue of Liberty buried yet again;planet of the apesa hodge-podge of futuristic themes, combining The Matrix (machines taking over), Total Recall (memory problems) and Moon (clones running the show); moon_sam_rockwell3the inevitable twist (clones/machines who care) derivative of everything from Terminator to Short Circuit; short circuitand the sickeningly silly ending of the vanquished evil mother-ship, reminiscent of Star Wars and everything since. Cowboys-And-Aliens-570x289While there might be a few decent plot reveals, they always turn to disappointment and the endless parade of effects. In the end, it isn’t anything more than a vehicle for Mr. Cruise. tom-cruise-oblivion-stills-released-02Which leads me to the real question: What’s next? Might he be interested in piloting The Ark?