Category: Book

Julian Assange’s book an exercise in dystopian musings

Julian Assange‘s new book is not a manifesto, he writes in its introduction – “There is no time for that”. Instead the short volume, entitled Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet and published on Monday, is intended to be what the Wikileaks founder calls “a watchman’s shout in the night”, warning of an imminent threat to all civilisation from “the most dangerous facilitator of totalitarianism we have ever seen” – the web.

Assange announced in October his intention to publish the book, based largely on the transcript of an interview conducted earlier in the year with three fellow “cutting-edge thinkers” on the web, and broadcast on the Russian state-controlled TV channel RT.

But in his introduction, written from the small room in the Ecuadorean embassy in London to which he has been confined for more than five months, the Australian has described for the first time how he views the context for its publication.

Read the complete article at The Guardian.


Interact With A Website Using A Book

Have some pity for poor old paper. Once it was king of the world of communication, spreading human knowledge and information—but now it has to play second fiddle to a code of 0s and 1s. But its days aren’t numbered just yet, not when people like Waldek Węgrzy are around. He’s created a concept that utilizes both analogue and digital in his project Elektrobiblioteka/Electrolibrary.

Read the complete article at The Creators Project.

Would you use an e-book version of Netflix?

…Could you see yourself signing up for a monthly subscription to an ebook library?

It’s an interesting question. After all, prose books aren’t exactly the same kind of “passive” media as music, or even movies or television; you rarely (if ever) hear of someone reading a book in the background while engaged in other activities in the same way that they might listen to music or even half-pay attention to whatever’s on the television in the room, for example. Reading a book requires a commitment that changes our relationship with the media, and may mean that readers are more likely to purchase their ebooks rather than rent them. Not that there’s not a long history of “renting” books, which is another potential bump in the road for the paid subscription model for ebooks: There’s such a thing as your local library, which does much the same thing, but for free (There is also Amazon’s Kindle Lending Library, which is free for Amazon Prime subscribers, of course).

Read more at Digital Trends.

‘Journey’ Augmented Reality Book Brings Heroes and Monsters to Life

The Guardians, Journey’s main monsters, can be seen circling the page in this augmented reality feature. It’s a demonstration of how the creatures fly in the game.

Journey captured players’ hearts and imaginations when it was released on the PlayStation Network in February. The game primarily used visuals to move the player forward in a desert world. Now those visuals are captured in an art book that uses augmented reality to bring in-game features to life on the page.

Journey is an entirely wordless game where a hooded character must sojourn across the world to reach the top of a mountain. The story is told through visual cues, and it allows the player to immerse themselves in the world without dialog. The Art of Journey recreates how this world was built by thatgamecompany and artist Matt Naya.

Read the complete article and view more pics of Journey at Mashable.

A Clockwork Orange: Turning A Classic Novel Into An Interactive App

It’s no secret that the publishing world has undergone something of a shake up over the last couple of years. Kindles and ebooks, self-publishing and the success of Fifty Shades of Grey have all taken their toll on the industry—and much like other entertainment industries it’s had to move with the times or be damned. Or— which is what generally happens—do a bit of both. And while some people might think the digital publishing revolution (even though it’s not really a revolution) is just bad fan fiction, unnecessary interaction, and mommy porn—it’s not all bad.

With the old publishing methods changing it’s meant that publishing houses have looked to digital formats to release books, creating interactive apps that can augment a classic book with a wealth of bonus material, or provide a different way of reading a contemporary one. One of the successes of this way of doing things has been the release of TS Elliot’s The Waste Land as an interactive iPad app with articles, interactive text, videos, interviews and a whole bunch of DVD extras-style material that fans can dive into.

The latest literary classic to get this treatment is A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, released by Random House. The app has a wealth of material that you can read and watch, from the author’s thoughts on why Mick Jagger would’ve been a better person to play Alex in the film, to his annoyance at people calling it The Clockwork Orange rather than A Clockwork Orange.

Read more at The Creators Project.

Data Space

Rather than hewing to a tight editorial voice, New York-based quarterly CLOG selects a singular subject for each issue and promises to unpack it “from multiple viewpoints and through a variety of means.” The most recent issue takes on the architectural typologies of the modern data center – both studying the physical reality of information infrastructure and imagining new figurations that might better reflect our digital age.

An overwhelming proliferation of short essays—44 features total in the slim, 127 page volume, each only a few pages in length—function as historical background, case study, research exercise, conjecture and pure architectural folly.  All, however, are predicated on the existence of a unique spatio-temporal relationship in our contemporary society between architectural form and digital technology.  As quoted early in the issue, Mies van der Rohe claimed in a 1950 address to IIT “wherever technology reaches its real fulfillment, it transcends into architecture…it is the crystallization of its inner structure, the slow unfolding of its final form.”

Read more at Rhizome.

A Clockwork Orange to scare you all over again

“A nasty little shocker” was how the TLS described A Clockwork Orange when it was published in 1962. Half a century on, Anthony Burgess joins TS Eliot and Shakespeare in having his work turned into a blockbuster iPad app.

Like Faber’s pioneering The Waste Land and The Sonnets apps, A Clockwork Orange (William Heinemann and PopLeaf, £9.99) combines interactive text, archival documents and video and sound recordings in a lavish production that for once warrants the words “unique” and “spectacular” in the press release.

Read the complete article at Guardian.

Why a 17th-Century Text Is the Perfect Starting Point for Reinventing the Book

Good morning, class. I’d like you all to open your books to Act I, Scene 2, Line 398.

Pages rustle as everyone flips through their books in search of that spot.

“Usually there’s a whole lot of shuffling,” says Bryn Mawr professor Katharine Rowe. But not if the class is using an app she and Notre Dame professor Elliott Visconsi built. In their app of Shakespeare’s Tempest students can just enter “1.2.398” and be transported there immediately. Or, alternatively, search for the words: “Full fathom five thy father lies.”

That tool “gets my students on the line, at the same time, almost instantly. That’s a big deal for a Shakespeare prof,” she says. “We get our brains faster into the text that way.”

Read the complete article at The Atlantic.

Could Your Next Book Be Written By A Machine?

Could “combinatorial publishing” produce your next market research project or book?

Last week, fellow Forbes contributor David K. Williams pointed out Dan Woods’ recent article How Algorithmically Created Content Will Transform Publishing. He wanted to know what I thought.

I reacted with immediate disdain. Like Dan Woods, I spend most of my life and earn my entire living in communication. To think that machine learning—no matter how advanced—could rival the passion, the insight and the magic of a piece of well-written copy? No way!

But as I read the article more closely, I was also intrigued. Could the next book you read or publish be written by an algorithm or by a machine? Still and emphatically–no. However, the concept of “combinatorial publishing” that Fred Zimmerman, the pioneer of Nimble Books, is bringing forward could potentially fill some practical and viable roles.

Read the complete article at Forbes.

Digital books may not be for everyone. But for blind people, they’re a true revolution

The book, not just as a source of knowledge or entertainment, but as an intrinsically pleasing object, is a familiar theme. Indeed, it came up yet again in this newspaper’s letters pages earlier this week. The point of this latest diatribe against the rise of the ebook was that physical books leave a trace, can be passed on, enhance a room, rekindle (no pun intended) a memory. And yet for most of my life, voracious and indiscriminate book reader though I am, the printed book has been nothing but a tease: a will-o’-the-wisp holding out what might be possible, only to snatch it away as soon as I reach for it.

The perversity comes in my reaching for it at all. I was born blind, and reading for me has always meant braille. I’ve had much fun and satisfaction from books, but they are the one case where I’ve not been able to adhere to my rule of not mourning what I couldn’t have. With only a tiny proportion of books published available in braille – well under 1% – the world’s literature was not so much offered up to you as dangled in front of you. To be fair, the classics were there – like the Desert Island Discs castaways, we had Shakespeare and the Bible, the latter stretching over more than a hundred volumes, thanks to the bulk of braille books – but not what kids want to read. To illustrate, my blind school’s braille library had one Famous Five book, one Billy Bunter, one Just William and, as I grew older, one PG Wodehouse and one James Bond.

Read the complete article at The Guardian.