Monday, December 12, 2011

New Tech, Old Tech

You may have seen the recent flap about Ray Bradbury finally authorising e-book editions of his work - apparently starting with the delightfully ironic Kindle edition of Fahrenheit 451. Here's The Guardian's report.

Many of the reports focus on the theme of F451 as being the dangers of destroying books... but overlook the key lesson of F451, which is that it's the TEXT that matters, not the physical form of the book. This, after all, is why the book people memorise the texts.

While we're thinking of Bradbury moving into the modern era, it's nice to be reminded of the mechanical means he used to create most of his works: this story shows one of Bradbury's old typewriters.

And if you think Bradbury is able to conjure up amazing images at his typewriter, just see what this other creative typist can do!

At some point in his career, Bradbury switched from manual typewriters to electric ones, although he continued to use manual portables when travelling. Some of his early '60s electric typing can be seen in the "symbolism survey" that swept across the blogosphere this last week: this article in The Paris Review tells of a series of responses a sixteen-year-old high school student received in 1963 when he wrote to famous writers. Some, such as those from Kerouac and Rand, take issue with the questions or the assumptions behind the questionnaire. Others, such as Ralph Ellison and Bradbury, take a more helpful and thoughtful line.

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