Halloween Blog Stories

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/5314/5314-h/5314-h.htm#chap09

Grimms’ The Seven Ravens

The Grimm tale is about a couple who longs for a daughter but after 7 sons, they finally give birth to a “sickly” baby girl and end up cursing the sons while turning them into Ravens. The father was afraid that his daughter would die without getting baptized because the sons took too long when asked to fetch water. Not the happiest of endings.

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/5314/5314-h/5314-h.htm#chap41

Grimms’ Herr Korbes

Herr Korbes is about a troop of would be assassins that jump on a carriage while picking up some extra help along the way. It starts out really calm and happy. Then the end is a comedic murder.

Project Gutenburg – Horror Stories

  • The Golgotha Dancers by Manly Wade Wellman

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/32580/32580-h/32580-h.htm

‘The Golgotha Dancers’ is about a painting. This was not your ordinary painting but a cursed painting. One day, a man went to the museum, and a painting caught his eye. This was called the Golgotha painting. Beneath it was a script “I sold my soul that I might paint a living picture.” No signature or other to the artist’s identity. The guard told him someone had left this painting and hung it up themself. He found the painting captivating and nothing more of it. The guard was going to get rid of the painting, but the man decided to take it home. During the night, the man had nightmares about the painting. The painting came alive. He was frightened as he woke up “something held me tight by the wrist.” Later in the story, he finds that the painting is a curse. A lady neighbor came over, sliced the cursed painting, and placed it into the fireplace. At the end of the story, the last sentence, “All at once, I knew that I loved her.”

  • The Dangerous Scarecrow by Carl Jacobi

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/66394/66394-h/66394-h.htm

‘The Dangerous Scarecrow’ is about the Tapping family. They had two kids, Jimmy and Stella. They live on a farm, and on that farm, initially, before they moved, there were two farmers—Mr. Maudsley and Mr. Trask. Both neighbors were competitive when it came to corn. One day both of them disappeared, but their scarecrows remained. Mr.Maudlsey moved to New Orleans, and Mr.Trask made himself invisible (Mr. Trask was into voodoo spells). But their scarecrows remained, and Jimmy and Stella named their scarecrows after the old farmers—Mr. Maudsley and Mr. Trask. One day Jimmy found an old rusty knife (a voodoo knife). He was planning on giving it to Mr. Maudsley because the knife was found in his barn. But Stella told Jimmy not to give it to Mr. Maudsley and give it to Mr. Trask instead. Later the night, Jimmy and Stella saw the two shadows locked in an incredible embrace. Mr. Trask chopped Mr. Maudsley’s head off. The following day, news came, and it was about a fellow in New Orleans with his head cut off right in the middle of a city street. It was Mr. Maudsley.

The Future of the Book

The ‘Future Book’ is here, but it’s not what we expected
Visionaries thought technology would change books. Instead, it’s changed everything about publishing a book. 

For almost 300 years, books have been the primary means of gathering and sharing information. They were the way that people learned, shared stories, and spent their free time, but has their time come and gone? The technological age has introduced a new way to read that has redefined how we think about books.

In the last decade, the field of e-readers has exploded in popularity. It is now more common for people to buy a tablet or laptop than to purchase a traditional hardcover book. The flexibility and convenience offered by these devices, such as being able to download a book instantly onto an iPad and read it on a bus, are part of what draws people to them. Indeed, the future of books, as we know them, seems to have changed. 

What does the future book really hold? What’s in store for books? The trend is moving towards the eBook as a major source for younger readers. But why are people moving towards eBooks? It is said that eBooks are easily obtainable. With the advent of the cloud, cloud-based books are also available online, in a similar way to the downloadable eBooks from retailers. Audio books are another form of digital seller that holds numerous benefits. Audio books are a great way to increase your understanding of a specific topic or theme without having to focus all of your attention on the book alone. Also readers and writers are benefiting from AI and the digital age. 

Everything has changed. So what will become of the Future Book?

The Future Book was meant to be interactive, moving, alive. Its pages were supposed to be lush with whirling doodads, responsive, hands-on. The old paperback Zork choose-your-own-adventures were just the start. The Future Book would change depending on where you were, how you were feeling. It would incorporate your very environment into its story —the name of the coffee shop you were sitting at, your best friend’s birthday. It would be sly, maybe a little creepy. Definitely programmable. Ulysses would extend indefinitely in any direction you wanted to explore; just tap and some unique, mega-mind-blowing sui generis path of machine learned words would wind itself out before your very eyes. 

But What if? 

Future: We’re here. 

It’s 2053. You stroll into the  Center of Mind Chip. There you can purchase a brain chip to augment your intelligence or a bundle of several such chips. People wishing for intellectual-like storytelling abilities can purchase the “storytime” chip while those in the market for supreme serenity can now buy “Zen Garden.” And that’s just the beginning. Enhanced attention, virtuoso musical abilities, mathematical abilities, and so much more are all there for the choosing! Along with the chips, it will be connected through our eye glasses for the visual content that you desire. Similar to the apps on your phones, you can now swipe to a program which your mind is in charge and can take you to. Which would you pick?

Welcome! You have chosen the “storytime” chip. You are now able to create stories within a limited time with the help of AI. This also forms into a device that is connected to a library where all data is stored for those who have chosen the “storytime” chip. 

You are currently in “The Library of Nonhuman Books.” The Library of Nonhuman Books is a custom-designed, autonomous art-system which uses Artificial Intelligence to make new books from existing publications and incoming stories.

Are you interested in poetries? The Library of Nonhuman Books was inspired by Stéphane Mallarmé. Stéphane Mallarmé was a French poet who knew the relation between empty space and silence. Mallarmé believed that a poem was more than a mere arrangement of words. He suggests that readers view “Un coup de Dés,” he refers to the act of writing as a “musical score, making the page into a stage in which language performs” (Borsuk, 135). With our “storytime” chip, you can now think and possibly create poems or stories like Mallarmé and any of your other favorite authors. As long as we see a reference of the author’s book, we can help you. 

“Everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book.”
—Stéphane Mallarmé, “The Book, Spiritual Instrument”

Inspired by Mallarmé, at the center of this system is a reading machine which leverages Computer Vision and Natural Language Processing to find new meanings hidden within books. Through a process of erasure, the machine algorithmically redacts the text leaving only the selected words. And an internet search retrieves an image to illustrate the page based on the resulting text. One every page is processed, the newly ‘illuminated’ books are automatically uploaded to print-on-demand services and the resulting volume is added to the Library of Nonhuman Books. This reading machine is mainly used to create new poems. Through all of these multiple poems there are a lot of white spaces and Mallarmé considered these white spaces to be integral parts of the poem, “water around continents,” something that makes the form more apparent. Not only are poems the only available context in these chips. Like Mallarmé, Carrión explains “A book is a sequence of spaces” (Borsuk, 147). 

“Each of these spaces is perceived at a different moment—a book is also a sequence of moments.
 • • •
A book is not a case of words, nor a bag of words, nor a bearer of words.”
—Ulises Carrión, “The New Art of Making Books”

Through your “storytime” chip you can now scroll through the lens of our eye glasses to create your own and through AI or read the books that are provided on our shelf. 

Would you take this chance to change the future of books?  

Note: Personal point of view

I love reading books but not making my own. I remember when my dad read to me as a little girl. When we exhausted my bookshelf, he would make up his own stories. Eventually, he grew tired of maintaining hundreds of different narratives about a knight, princess, dragon, etc. girl. So he took me to the library, which opened up a new world of stories and changed my life. I remember as I grew  older, every few months, someone brought up the idea that with eBooks becoming more popular, libraries are quickly on their way to becoming obsolete. Publishers will stop printing books. The literary world as we know it will end. What these futurists forget is that libraries are the center of our culture. Libraries will always exist, in some form, because they are the center of our society—communities in and of themselves offering a breathing space for the old and the young, the tired and the energized, not to mention a safe place for weary moms and their kids to gather and enjoy. I look back to the simpler times when there were high stacks of books on the shelf, and it would break my neck back from looking up so high. I would be in awe of how many books the library carried. To the present day, it has become more common to bend my neck down where everything is now on my device.

I don’t mind, since it’s convenient and allows easy access. I honestly didn’t know what to write about, but since this is fictional, it shouldn’t be coming true. As so many authors of dystopian storytellers have warned us, I fear that this could become real. For example, I’ve seen news and articles about Elon Musk’s brain chip. “Neuralink” is Musk’s neural interface technology company. He’s developing a device that would be embedded in a person’s brain, recording brain activity and potentially stimulating it. Musk has compared the technology to a “FitBit in your skull.”

I can see it happening for people who want to find out early on in their life about diseases and be able to cure them quicker. When I wrote about this fictional story of “Mind Chip,” it was from the article about Elon Musk. I just took it to another level, as if we were turning into robots. If we had something so small implanted into our bodies, there would be no point in jobs and careers in life because everyone “could” have access to it. And the government would be the one who implanted those chips into your brain, neck, or arm if it was a world of mind control. Okay, I’m just making this more complicated. Overall, I hope that this world won’t have to come to that. To be more realistic, I think books won’t ultimately come to an end, as I mentioned at the beginning of my notes. Books are the center of our society. 

Works Cited:

Borsuk, Amaranth. The Book (the MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series). Illustrated, The MIT Press, 2018.

“Elon Musk’s Brain Chip Firm Neuralink Lines up Clinical Trials in Humans.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 20 Jan. 2022, www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/jan/20/elon-musk-brain-chip-firm-neuralink-lines-up-clinical-trials-in-humans.

Project Gutenburg – The Works of Horror

The Most Horrible Story by John W. Jakes

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/65727/65727-h/65727-h.htm

The Most Horrible Story follows Thompson, who is first shown in a plain room with an old man (who is called old man throughout this short story). Based off their conversation, it appears Thompson has signed up for the horror book club and is taken to a reading room where he can read a book made of human skin. As they walk down a hallway with doors lining both sides of the pair, Thompson hears screaming to which the old man waves off stating that they are reading the most horrible horror story. This intrigues Thompson who continues to follow the old man who leads him to his own room. Once the old man closes the door, Thompson reads the story to which he becomes horrified and screams like the others. He tries to call the old man to release him from the room as it was locked and the old man refuses, stating that Thompson is a member now. He rereads the book over and over again and continues to scream which reveals that the book simply said “You’re dead.”

Flowering Evil by Margaret St. Clair

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/64745/64745-h/64745-h.htm

This short story follows Aunt Amy who collects and cares for rare, extraterrestrial plants in the hothouse that her nephew, Robert, sends to her whilst he’s out on space missions. Her best friend, Captain Bjornson, continuously reminds Amy to be wary of her newest plant, Rambler, to which Amy gets upsets and shuts him down. Weeks pass before the two meet again and Amy mentions how she’s been getting bloody nightmares of dead animals. Bjornson is suspicious of the Rambler to which Amy, again, becomes upset and shuts him down. She continues talking about how she doesn’t know what to cook for Robert’s return and is planning on some sort of meat dish. Night comes and Amy decides to do soap cutting to help her mind at ease and try to inspire herself on what dish to cook for Robert. She becomes dizzy and suddenly remembers she hasn’t checked her plants yet and makes a blind run for the hothouse where the plants are located. Outside the hothouse, she sees two dead cats, similar to the dead rabbit in her dreams, and she wonders why she made a blind dash for the hothouse all of a sudden. She realizes too late as her feet blindly take her inside the hothouse where the Rambler is waiting with a sharp branch to suck her blood. It begins sucking her blood and it’s greediness causes it to lose it’s mind control on Amy for a bit, who takes advantage by throwing a soap at the plant and aims to stab it. The morning after shows Amy, Captain Bjornson, and Robert eating a meat dish that Robert has never tasted but is obsessed. It’s hinted that Aunt Amy is feeding them the Rambler.

Essay – Thea Hieronymus

Books will remain the same as they have these last twenty or so years. While formats have changed from print to large e-books, the widespread love for reading a good novel has remained for centuries. Books have seen some change in the last few decades, with a massive increase in self-publishing starting in print. But in the next 20-30 years I believe a “digital” book will be somewhat the same but with added aspects. With books, I think we need to go back to the roots. As children, we had stories read to us and several of them with images as well. I think in some ways we will end up going back to that but in digital form. As technology grows so does everything with it.

The earliest digital reading device that possibly started it all was created in 1945, by Vannevar Bush. Bush was the director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development. In 2000 when Blu-Ray discs came out Stephen King offered his book “Riding the Bullet” as a digital-only computer file. Then in 2004, Sony released its Sony Librie e-reader and then its Sony Reader in 2006. But when we hit 2007 the world of reading was changed when Amazon launched the Kindle eBook reader and the launch of the iPhone by Apple. From there Barnes & Noble introduced the Nook in 2009 and several other companies followed along with them. 2010 was the best year for digital books as Apple launched the iPad along with iBooks, selling half a million eBooks in less than a month. Along with that Google’s eBookstore launched and on Amazon, eBook sales outnumbered its hardcover book sales. In 2013, the Association of American Publishers announced that eBooks now accounted for about 20% of all U.S. book sales (“The History of eBooks from 1930’s “Readies” to Today’s GPO eBook Services”.). Bush’s “prognostications” are looked at to be one of the earlier visions of the internet (Borsuk 221).

The future of books can really go anywhere. If you think about how far technology has come in the past few years it will only go further. The future of books for me is hard for me to think about. I just can’t place my finger on where it might go and where it might end up. Maybe they will stay the same or maybe they will change, or maybe there will be something in between or totally different. It could end up as an improved digital book, with sounds and images. Kind of like a story being read aloud but more with sounds to set the tone of the book. It could also end up with images popping up or displaying across the reading screen. It might also be more interactive, where you chose what steps happen along in the story. It could also end up in a VR game/situation, as we’ve talked about in class.

The 'Future Book' Is Here, but It's Not What We Expected | WIRED

I have always just viewed books as books, and I have never really read or looked at digital books. Digital books have only ever helped and worked for me in school situations. Other than that physical books are my go-to and even then I don’t read now as much as I did a few years ago, so this idea of “digital” books never crossed my mind. While they are becoming easier and accessible, on phones and tables they never really tipped my interest. However, I have recently ended up in audiobooks because of their conveniences as well. That is where I hope and think digital books might end up. 

The Book of the Future - Graphic - NYTimes.com

In chapter three of The Book, the book as idea, makes a good point. “The thing we picture when someone says “book” is an idea as much as an object.” (Borsuk 111). That’s the same idea when someone says “digital” book, it is something that can be read online on a phone, tablet, or laptop. Because of digital books we are now seeing contemporary book publishers trying to embrace and work with the digital world.

“A book… is not an inert thing that exists in advance of interaction, rather it is produced by the activity of each reading. … Thus in thinking of the book, wether literal or virtual, we should paraphrase Heinz von Foerster… and ask “how” a book “does” its particular actions rather than “what” a book “is.” – Johanna Drucker

With that, I looked at and thought more about how a book does its “job” rather than what it is. We all know what a book is but we never really know the book’s job, and I think that depends on what the book is about. There are so many different authors, writing styles, and genres that every book is going to be different, even if they are written by the same author or have the same style the book will always change. I believe a book has done its job if it makes you want more. Whether that includes reading it again, continuing it (like if it is in a series), or reading more books by the author. If you liked the book and want more then that is when I feel it has done its “job”. 

Books have changed just as everything else has. But books will always be an object.

The Development of E-Publishing. The publishing business has seen a… | by Camila Anderson | Medium

We as humans have developed, as have books, and technology. Since the first iPhone came out there has been a major following for tablets and eBook readers, as I stated at the beginning of this, and that has only grown since then with new editions of devices just as they create new editions of books. “Different technologies of the book exist side by side throughout its history: tablet and scroll, scroll and codex, manuscript and print, paperback and e-book”(Borsuk 3). As an object books have transformNative American Pictographs | Activity | Education.com | American symbols, Native americans unit, Native american symbolsed in so many ways. over the years. Along with that so has writing and the alphabet. in 2200 BCE they relied specifically on pictographic writing. In 1700 BCE the alphabet we use today was created (Borsuk 21-23). The Greek “invention” of the alphabet created an easier way for people to read and write. That was the first step in my opinion of creating a book. Without text, a true book isn’t a book, it’s just a picture book. A book needs text in order to be read, processed, and understood. We need to keep in mind what Guglielmo Cavallo and Roger Chartier wrote “We should keep in mind that no text exists outside of the physical support that offers it for reading” (Borsuk 28) therefore a book is nothing without its text.

Borsuk makes a really good point by stating that “The book accommodates us, and we accommodate to it.” I think with this he is creating the idea that books are created in several forms (text, e-book, and audiobook) and with those forms, we then accommodate it. We will use what is more convenient for and us based on what we are doing. If we want to read something we will do that whether we read it physically or on a table, or listen to it. The potential that digital books have will only continue to grow.

On July 4th, 1971 there was the first digital online library attempt by a student who typed up The Declaration of Independence, to send to 100 users on a university computer network (Borsuk 213). This student Michael S Hart created Project Gutenberg to make books easily accessible by sharing e-text, which leads to e-books. The process of this includes scanning books page by page to generate the text for the e-book (216).

We have come a long way from where digital books and regular books were created and started and they will only grow from here. the only thing is will it be better or worse for the world we are creating and will physical books still be created or will everything revert to online? As Borsuk says “object, content, idea, and interface, the book changes us as we change it, letter by letter, page by page” (258). Only time will tell how it will really end up in the future.

Sources

Borsuk, Amaranth. “The Book”. The MIT Press, 2018.

The History of eBooks from 1930’s “Readies” to Today’s GPO eBook Services”. March 2014, https://govbooktalk.gpo.gov/2014/03/10/the-history-of-ebooks-from-1930s-readies-to-todays-gpo-ebook-services/

 

 

Scary Stories – Thea Hieronymus

The Garden of Survival by Algernon Blackwood

Twins may be similar in outward appearance and share genetic material, but the paths they take in life are often markedly divergent. In this book, the two twin brothers’ adventures take them to opposite ends of the earth, though their special bond remains intact.

Ring Once For Death

In this story, a doctor and his wife visit a curio shop that they visited over 20 years ago on their honeymoon. This visit will play a part in their future with mysterious elements.

Open Source Horror

Project Gutenberg is a fantastic website that collogues open source novels and makes them available to the public for free. On this site, I’ve found two horror books that I am interested in: Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu and Present at a Hanging and Other Ghost Stories by Ambrose Bierce. The first is a very early vampire story, predating Dracula, about a female vampire named Carmilla who attacks a young woman. It was written in 1872 and is a piece of gothic literature. The latter is a series of short ghost stories. This piece was originally published in 1913. It is separated into four different sections of loosely related spooky tales.

Spooky Stories

My first story is “The Night Wire” by H.F. Arnold and it is about two men with one named John Morgan and an unnamed character. Both of them are on a radio show that talks about unfortunate events that happen all around the world. One late night, a story about a town called Xebico being taken in a humungous fog and Morgan starts to tell about it while getting more uneasy the more he read about it. However, it wasn’t broadcasting and when the unnamed character tries to tell Morgan, he was dead. The unnamed character decided to stop doing this and Morgan’s death remained a mystery.

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/68555/68555-h/68555-h.htm

My second story is “There is a Reaper” by Charles V. De Vet and it is about a man who is told that he has a limited time left until he dies. The man then wonders what it is like to dye, so he picks a homeless man to tell him. He put poison in a drink and gave it to him and starts asking him what it feel like dying with the homeless man telling how it feels. Before the homeless man dies the man then asks what he is waiting for with him answering that the homeless man is waiting for him.

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/29954/29954-h/29954-h.htm

Devon Baxter – Project Gutenberg Summaries

RING ONCE
FOR DEATH
BY ROBERT ARTHUR

The first story is about something that happened 20 years ago involving the characters father. The character did not mention how the father died but all that was mentioned is that the father died 5 years ago. There was mention that a bell and clapper was separated by the father. death cannot be defeated. another victim was used to take his place. When a chief dies a servant would be handy for death to take next.

Pillar of Fire
By RAY BRADBURY

The next story is about someone who couldn’t do anything but breath. He couldn’t walk, he couldn’t jump he couldn’t move his arms. He could breath but not fully. He can cry but no tears. He can shout. We was dead. He died and was born again not knowing what year it was until it was the year 2349.

Scary Story

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide is a tale of two people. Dr. Jekyll is the protagonist who spends his life hiding his deep and dark urges. In order to suppress them he creates a serum. The longer he uses the serum, the less effective it becomes. He began to transform involuntarily into Mr. Hyde and killed some people. Dr. Jekyll then started to run low on the chemicals that he used to make the serum. After he realized that he wouldn’t be able to stay as Dr. Jekyll anymore, he locked himself in his basement and poisoned himself.

https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/43

 

The CALL of CTHULHU

The CALL of CTHULHU is the story of people on the trail of a monster. We follow people as they encounter clues as to the whereabouts of a mysterious entity. We encounter a devious cult that performs sacrifices in order to summon something. The narrator then heads to Australia where one of his crew members accidentally opens a portal and releases Cthulhu onto the world. 

https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/68283

 

Scary Stories

Horror stories have been a very popular genre of literature throughout history. I was able to select two books from Project Gutenburg that will fit well into our halloween theme. My first choice is “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe, one of his most well known pieces of writing. The story details the thoughts of a man descending into madness after the untimely death of his beloved. Poe paces the poem with the repeat of a raven making noises, which builds on top of the loss of sanity of the main character. Poe creates a scary atmosphere that encapsulates the audience. He utilizes strong imagery and metaphors to create a mysterious tone as well. https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/17192

The second story I decided to choose is “Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus” by Mary Shelley. This story is one of the most famous horror novels of all time, and is still relevant in pop culture today. It is the story of a man named Dr. Frankenstein, a scientist that is on the brink of bringing a body back to life. However, once he finally completes his experiment, he discovers that he had accidentally created a low intelligence monster. https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/42324

1500 Mini Essay

When looking at any library around the world, there are only a handful of books for a wide audience. There is usually a section for children, young adults, adults, and many more within the library. Finding the books that one enjoys to read can take a while to find, or might not even be there due to either being checked out by some other reader or transferred to another library. Now that there is an emergence of digital libraries that exist where one could find their favorite books online with a few requiring a fee to read certain books. However, the reader now loses that connection of reading a physical copy of the book by flipping through the pages, or wandering through a library to look for their books. Readers also lose connection to other people who they would read books with and would not know what other readers think about a certain book. They could through online comments, but not at areas where they saw that within the book. But what if there was a way to be able to wander through a library, not a real one, but a virtual library. With the emergence of virtual and augmented reality, creating a space where a virtual library can be seen is possible.

Imagine being in a normal room: put on a pair of VR goggles or put a portable device in front of one’s eyes, and instead of a normal room there is a library with shelves of books to the ceiling. One can change the genre of books around in this “virtual library” for which book they would want to read and are capable of “pulling” the book out of the bookshelf and looking through it. This is the beginning of the virtual library, one where readers could explore all of their favorite works, take a book off a shelf, and start reading it just as if they are in a library. According to Borsuk, the Internet Archive has more than twenty scanning areas where they scan  books to preserve them in modern times by treating them with the utmost respect (The Book, pg. 218-219). Within the virtual library, the reader would be able to access these books . They would only be able to read a certain amount of the book by either “flipping” the pages or through an e-textbook format before the virtual library would want the reader to “check out” and “return” within a timeframe. If the reader wants to keep the book that they enjoy reading over and over again, then the digital library would help the reader to find the version of their book, either physical or digital, to buy and keep. If the reader wants to explore this virtual library with others, then for VR they could all connect to a shared library or they could hang out together within one room to explore in AR. According to Carrion, the “definition of the book as a ‘sequence of spaces’” (The Book, pg 149), meaning that books are meant to take up space within the area a book is produced. So even within a digital library, a book can still exist due to the fact that a book is the space within an area of space. Other readers can be welcomed into such spaces to comment on their favorite books and allow other readers to know which parts got them interested and why. With the whole room transformed into a digital library where one can change between different age groups or genres to find the perfect books for them to read, the world of reading will keep expanding.

Digital Collections Services - University Libraries - Catholic University of America - Washington, D.C. | CUA

Each author has their own way of telling their stories: some like to allow the reader’s imagination run wild while others would show the reader their world through images, drawings, fictional or historical maps, or any form of visual looking. The virtual library can still allow readers to just use their imagination and would help amplify that. The virtual library would turn the reader’s surroundings into where the reader would feel most comfortable reading in by a menu of option themes. If the reader would enjoy the visuals of the book, then they can keep it and the virtual library would then transform into a world of the books. According to Borsuk about the book, “Because they are unbound, each leaf of the slot-books can be oriented four ways as well as flipped” (The Book, pg 178). Each author has their own way of telling their stories: some like to allow the reader’s imagination run wild while others would show the reader their world through images, drawings, fictional or historical maps, or any form of visual looking. The virtual library can still allow readers to just use their imagination and would help amplify that. The virtual library would turn the reader’s surroundings into where the reader would feel most comfortable reading in by a menu of option themes. If the reader would enjoy the visuals of the book, then they can keep it and the virtual library would then transform into a world of the books. Each author has their own way of telling their stories: some like to allow the reader’s imagination run wild while others would show the reader their world through images, drawings, fictional or historical maps, or any form of visual looking. The virtual library can still allow readers to just use their imagination and would help amplify that. The virtual library would turn the reader’s surroundings into where the reader would feel most comfortable reading in by a menu of option themes. If the reader wants music to play in the background, then the virtual library can do that to allow the reader to be more immersed into the story. If the reader would enjoy the visuals of the book, then they can keep it and the virtual library would then transform into a world of the books. Now the readers can read the book in their own ways with either traditional methods such as flipping the pages or in a digital space where their surroundings are the story and the way it is told is still within their own control. This would allow readers and authors to connect more due to allowing the reader to read the story in whatever way they want to with the author still being able to allow their story to be told in the way they wanted the story to be told.

Borsuk has mentioned the potential of digital devices to help create a place for books within the digital realm though the computers and other electronic devices (The Book, pg. 200). If virtual reality and augmented reality are going to be the primary access to the virtual library, then they will be the primary publishing areas for new versions of texts. Virtual reality and augmented reality would need to learn how to allow readers to “flip” through the pages and transform the room into the digital library. Authors could introduce a first person view of reading the story by putting the reader in one of the characters places and allowing the reader to switch between which character they want to look through their eyes. If the author would like to make their story like a video game for their readers to come to different endings such as some video games have. Virtual reality can allow the reader to get immersed into the stories through a more personal way by allowing the reader to feel like they are inside the story. Some authors might allow the reader to put their input into the story and allow some characters to change that way. Augmented reality can allow the reader to explore the world by just transforming a certain area into the world and allowing the reader to read what that object is within that fictional world and what it can do. An author can make augmented reality a game where the more a reader explores the world, the more the reader can learn about the world and what the story is all about.

Coincidence, Chaos, & Archetypes in Our Science-Fictional World | Reality Sandwich

Virtual and augmented reality have the potential to allow readers to enter a virtual library where they can either read stories in any format they ever dreamed of reading in. Allowing others to visit the virtual library where one keeps all of their books and what comments they put on it and how different readers interact with the contents of the book. It could be just flipping through a virtual page of a virtual book in any setting the reader would ever dream of being in, or being able to walk within the pages of the world to explore the author’s view of the story. Authors can find new ways of immersing their readers into their world through video game settings or a puzzle format. Physical books will not go away, but virtual books can become something that readers can cling on to and allow them to get more immersed into the world of that story even more than before. The virtual library can expand how books are kept and how they are read in any way and format that the reader would enjoy the most.

A Tale For Halloween

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/56420/56420-h/56420-h.htm

For my advanced search, I put in “Halloween,” and with the parameters I set, it gave me four options. This first poem is from one of those four options, entitled “MARCH. Man goeth to his long home,” out of Halloween, A Romaunt with Lays, Meditative and Devotional  by H.S. Parsons from 1845. The poem describes a song like chant, backed by strange music, of the people who have died marching down to the dead. It has different iterations between each verse, but the constant line is “Going down to the dead!” This definitely feels like something similar to the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, or even a weird Tim Burton animated film.

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/35458/35458-h/35458-h.htm#Page_248

The second selection I made was a collection of short stories entitled The Green Forest Fairy Book, by Loretta Ellen Brady. I particularly was interested in the last story, entitled “A TALE FOR HALLOWEEN.” This story follows two children who when trying to find a jackolantern they carved the previous day, end up finding a whole patch of animated pumpkins and vegetables who lead them to witches. These witches are nice witches, however, and they all then proceed to sing and dance (even the vegetables). They flew on the witch’s broomstick and had a wonderful time until eventually being returned to their cottage. They were bestowed good luck by a black cat from the witches who decided to stay with the children. This story is more of a jolly take on Halloween, which I like because everything you expect to be scary ends up being nice and animated.

The Future of Digital Books

“The book as object, as content, as idea, as interface.” (Borsuk)

 

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Picture it…Portland Oregon. It is the year 2050. We are beyond handheld mobile devices and are in a world of wearables. Audio books have been flourishing for decades but sadly, the physical form of a book has far evolved to more than a spine, two covers, and a handful of pages. Bookstores are few and far between. Libraries are now digital spaces that have saved the government valuable financial resources. Time to go down memory lane. Like Blockbuster, Barnes and Nobel is only but nostalgia to those who crave the touch and smell of a paper bound book. It is the world of portals for inside a bookstore draws in those curious of its endless knowledge between a cover sleeve. Digital readers continue to sell here but this space was made for those who relish the ambient light, soft music, and dark academia theme décor. A physical book meant solitude. A bit of peace from the outside world. An intimate relationship with the protagonist or antagonist of the story. A profound narrative in real time that pulls you from space to space. This was a book. Paper between two covers and a spine.  

“From scroll to bound folio, books have indeed evolved. And like all things subject to evolution, they can face extinction.” -Garrett Stewart (Borsuk) 

The book as a codex is no longer a physical device. Now it’s a projection of light and sound waves that convey digital content. Pixels form on a desk from a ring. The projection of pixels is now able to be manipulated like that of touchscreen but with no glass. It can be zoomed into or zoomed out of. Words can be animated and still legible. Letterforms go from left to right, top to bottom but in a continuous motion. Like a new age tickertape. Products of our generation, the digital pages are condensed and easier to read. Since going digital, social media has taken the publishing world by storm. Digital books contain marginalia with real time commentary and dictation. The author is kept up to date on the progression of his/her works. It is even offered into the interface, the ability to add multiple endings. Such as those that you notice on a DVD menu. The alternative endings are to drive more discussion and communication about the timeline of events. Accessibility for digital books is also turning from audio with an option for interactive raised braille. The screen then morphs texture into the device itself.  

Modern wearables now come with book features. A book now looks and feels like a pair of glasses with audio or jewelry able to project its content onto a surface. A sleeve that functions as memory device that plays on acupressure points from the heart channel which in eastern medicine runs the side of the arm down to the pinky. Words are not merely printed but are able to act on brain chemistry by means of certain frequencies that cause the brain to better enhance long-term memory. That frequency of 40 Hz correlates to better understanding of content. (Friedrich et al.) Using digital age technology, knowledge is then retained avoiding the dreaded “data dump” some may experience after reading extensive digital works. The brain receives content faster than ever before thus opening the possibility of leaning new languages. As far as text appearing, language and dialogue have changed due to the new publishing of content. The speed at which one retains the knowledge has allowed new languages to be understood. Being multilingual is now common and literacy is universal. Digital means of study are now available in every corner of the world.  

After wearables, we discuss the physicality of a common E-reader device. The physical dimensions of E-readers back then were 6.9 × 4.9 × 0.32 in. Today, the ones that are not embedded into clothing are a common size of paper being 8 ½ “x 11” and sport a virtual keyboard display below the device on any hard surface. This size is beneficial to the social community interacting with the book. Digital screens are only growing larger and thinner every year. With that said, you can fold the device in half to accommodate mobility for the people whose purpose is portability. Speakers are located on both sides with the option for Bluetooth connection. Wi-Fi is enabled for connecting within the book. Memberships are offered to the audience through publishing companies that facilitate the content. More on this later but as we dive into the software contained in the device, we need to make sure the integrity of the book is not compromised. Books are not meant to fade into oblivion. They are treasures and should be treated as such.  

“We will also consider contemporary approaches to digital reading that, rather than offering up a crystal goblet, invite us to trace our finger along text’s rim and make it sing: drawing attention to the interface to explore and exploit the affordance of the digital.” (Borsuk) 

The world of an e-reader has evolved with smart technology. Think of a student. Like most of us, we rarely have the time to read for pleasure. What we read is often driven by our studies. Some of that time consumed by reading is also trying to absorb the text. Flashcards, notes, and memorization tools gather the purpose of why we read which is to learn. Introducing  the reader device that now provides audio reading of the text. While it is reading the text, words are being highlighted for visual stimulation. After the reader completes the book, automatic spark notes are made available to review the material. This immersive reading provides the reader with an experience that goes beyond the codex. The book itself can be a momentous feat. There are individuals who simply can’t stay awake to read or are engaged in other activities but need to finish a book fast. This immersive reading experience solves those problems. Another wave of technology has brought short mini scene animations to children’s books. The words are read and highlighted on the screen much like earlier technology, but the audience has short scenes to go along with the story. This also opens a whole new job market for artists and storytellers alike. Much different than film or tv series but shorts that last thirty to sixty seconds.   

In these changing times, publishers are those digital content creators that collaborate with other artists and sites to get the readership up and running. The publishers that served thirty years prior are those that filtrate the material in the margins of the e-reader. They host discussions based on the popularity of certain topics and pre-moderate the content within the spaces of reader interaction. Content moderation is done in house or artificial intelligence based. In house would cost more than AI based but is also there to stimulate and inspire ideas from those who know the book best. Discussions can be in the form of a question then move into real time chat. The interface is multifunctional giving the audience the benefit of having a book club right inside the screen.  

SCI FI BRAKE CHECK 

The world is ever changing. Your health is of the utmost importance. You have tried and trusted the wearable devices that have made your life simple. You have experienced virtual reality and that of an E-readers immersive, smart, and active technology. You have seen the hologram images come out of the codex. Now science has come forward with evidence proving that blue light and radiation from these technologies is causing a decline in sight. Therefore, rejection of these technologies is imminent. The movement is profoundly changing the digital wearable future back into a physical art form using the beauty of the codex. Pages are now 3d. Holographic images are built inside “the book” coming from the spine. The covers now fold outwards to reveal art scenes from the story. Summaries are QR codes found on the sleeve. Future generations now come with much appreciation for the workmanship behind the codex and page turning is back on trend.  

Ulises Carrion says, “A book is a sequence of spaces. Each of these spaces is perceived at a different moment-a book is also a sequence of moments. A book is not a case of words, nor a bag of words, nor a bearer of words.” (Borsuk) This only proves that a book is ever changing. It has come a long way from a cuneiform tablet to scrolls, from scrolls to codex, from codex to E-reader. Each device has its way of embedding itself into the culture of the period in which it was created. The author drives its narrative by ways of the medium it chooses. Today’s society craves technology that makes life more simplistic and more entertaining. The wave of knowledge must get easier to digest or absorb as time goes on. With falling literacy rates, reader tech must enhance learning devices to cater to its audience. We must fight to maintain the integrity of the book but have options to move forward in the not-so-distant future.  

Works Cited

Borsuk, Amaranth. The Book (the MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series). Illustrated, The MIT Press, 2018.

Friedrich, Wernher, et al. “Studying Frequency Processing of the Brain to Enhance Long-term Memory and Develop a Human Brain Protocol.” Technology and Health Care, edited by Edward J. Ciaccio, vol. 23, no. s2, IOS Press, June 2015, pp. S465–71. https://doi.org/10.3233/thc-150983.

The Book of the Future

Books are amazing devices with a multitude of functions. Some books teach new topics and lessons to those willing to learn, such as textbooks and other informative varieties. Others provide information on a topic such as a memoir or self-help book. Some books provide a means to escape from reality through various forms of fiction. Books can have genres such as fiction and non-fiction to categorize their content, and subgenres such as fantasy and mystery to further distinguish themselves. Books are made for all ages, from toddlers to adults. They can also be made for people with different abilities, such as braille books. Some books come as audiobooks, and some are only images. The variety and scope that books can cover is tremendous, and they continue to amaze well into the future.

The book has come a long way when it comes to how it started and where it is now. At one point it started off in inscriptions or carvings in clay or stone, recording information and great stories such as Gilgamesh (Borsuk 4-7). It was bamboo formed into flats that could be rolled together and written on (Borsuk 25-26). It became paper made of papyrus, animal hide, or a slurry of plant material (Borsuk 12-13, 18, 28). This paper became bound in several ways, such as the sutra-folded books that are familiar to the folded pamphlets we see today (Borsuk 36-37). Books were soon written on with text, drawings, and designs with illuminated manuscripts and embellished with luxuries (Borsuk 48-51). Soon it turned into something that anyone could grab to read whatever text was on those pages. It became easy to find, hold, and read a book (Borsuk 82, 102-105). As time has gone on, it continued to evolve into what it is today.

A close up of a digital screen.

The book has changed in so many ways. Now it is an enhanced version of the e-books we once knew. Computers have advanced to become even more portable than laptops as we knew them. Most portable computers are more tablet like in nature. Computers that are stationary are thin and powerful. Holograms are integrated into daily life, projected on walls, ceilings, appliances, or in midair. As a result of the innovations in recent years, books are extremely portable and accessible. Similar to e-books, you can open them on any digital device and have the option of reading the text or having it read aloud to you. Every device has the functionality for digital books to be read and opened, freeing itself from required programs. It took time to get to this stage, but as computers of the past could open text files, they can now open and allow users to read books easily.

Digital books in our future times are primarily published online without the use of a publishing company, similar to the post-artifact book (Mod, “Post-Artifact Books & Publishing.”). Many authors choose this route, though academic books and major collections still tend to be published with a company. Some authors who generate a following for their series release their books in increments or chapters, similar to a TV show with a regular schedule. Other authors release the entirety of their book on shopping websites and specialty book websites. Some books are sold for a set price while others are funded by ads. Free digital books tend to have inserted ads, sometimes between chapters or at the start and end of the book. Publishing in this new age of technology has transitioned to the hands of the author and away from the publisher. Most aspects of support a publisher provides can be substituted by the author, similar to how Craig Mod described his model of the post-artifact book (“Post-Artifact Books & Publishing.”).

Example of a hologram displaying a book.

Because of technological advancements, readers have the book in its most accessible form yet. They can buy books off the internet or otherwise download them. Once downloaded, the book is available on their device for viewing. Readers can also transfer their books to other devices. As they open their book, it has several forms it can take chosen through a menu screen. Options such as form, font style and size, and background are available. One option is a digital model of the physical book to provide a more tactile experience; a hologram based device is usually required to view such a model. Another is the option to view the book as a flat text experience with no digital models. Once opened and configured, depending on the device, users can scroll or flick through pages to advance their reading. Holograms are more likely to use flicking whereas computers may use more scrolling.

Books in 2022 could be read in physical form or digital form. Physical books could take many forms and sizes. Some were small, bound together in a manner similar to folded folios and octavos (Borsuk 43-44). Others were large, heavy and filled with information. Many books took a standard size, easily held by hands in either a paperback or hardcover style. Some had content divided into chapters or sections, whereas other books chose to be a long stretch of words. Some books were made purely of pictures, some with pictures and text, and some with only text. Either way, books were widely adaptable in the shape and form they could take. In the future, as we know it now, physical books didn’t deviate much from their forms in 2022. Physical books maintained their form; they still retain covers, table of contents, and pages. They can still be held in hands or set on a desk to be read. Variety in the shape of the book has increased, with books bound in triangle, circle, or rhombus shapes. Some books have become more three-dimensional in nature, with sphere-like books beginning to become popular. In addition, some books are adapting to come with built-in light sources to provide easy reading in dark spaces, similar to the clip-on lights for books years ago. These new light sources are integrated into the pages themselves, similar to a backlit keyboard.

A rhombus and triangle book.

Digital books were read primarily from PDF or e-pub files opened in a program on a computer, phone, tablet, or an e-book reader such as the Kindle (Borsuk 235-237). Some were created by authors self-publishing, skirting around the need for a publishing company (Borsuk 239). These books primarily took the form of flat pages with text on them; some might include images or be entirely image-based, similar to how physical books could vary. Advertisements might appear in the digital books. Depending on the program used, you could highlight and comment on the digital pages to make notes or commentary on the text (Borsuk 237-238). Digital books in our future time have advanced compared to 2022, though they still retain some features of the past. They can be opened on any device and though they can take a 3-D digital form alongside their more flat form, they are still constrained by their digital nature. Like digital books of the past, they require a compatible device to be read, and ones that have advertisements inserted require an internet connection should a reader follow the advertisement’s link. Highlighting and commenting on text is still a common feature. Despite some of the downfalls of the medium, they are still a popular choice for a reader who wants to be immersed in technology.

Books from hundreds and thousands of years ago are vastly different compared to the digital books of today, only holding a physical form compared to the digital form we have access to. That said, digital books retain many elements that created physical books and were ported to digital. Similar to the scrolls of Egypt and Greece that would open vertically and horizontally in increments, digital books can move either vertically with scrolling or horizontally by flicking (Borsuk 16, 20). They’re able to be embellished with decorations in a similar manner to illuminated manuscripts, though the decorations are perhaps not as extravagant or detailed as the manuscripts. They use text, images, and sometimes have headings, titles, and page numbers that were developed years ago (Borsuk 79, 86). Though they have similarities, as the digital book came from its physical sibling, digital books are still separate from physical books, even ones from long ago. They may share similar information, but as an object they are different. Physical books can be held, touched, smelled, and interacted with in ways a digital book cannot, even in our future time. We can simulate these aspects, but they don’t replace them.

Books are a widely recognized mode of sharing information, regardless of the medium used to make them or the exact form they take. From carvings in clay to bound paper to digital pages and audiobooks, books have come a long way and will continue to evolve as the years go on. The definition of the book may change, but they will always preserve words, numbers, and meaning in their pages, no matter their appearance.

 

Works Cited

Borsuk, Amaranth. The Book. E-book, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2018.

Mod, Craig. “Post-Artifact Books & Publishing.” CraigMod, June 2011, craigmod.com/journal/post_artifact/.

Reapers and Ravens, Sept. 20 Blog Post

There Is A Reaper… by Charles V. De Vet.

The first story I chose intrigued me by its title. The main storyline goes that a man is desperate to know what the afterlife is like as he is terminally ill, so he poisons another man to find out the truth. In conversing with the nearly dead man, our character finds that the man is waiting for something on the other side: him. The shock at the end of the story gripped me, which I think would suit our publication.

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe.

The Raven is a classic poem by Poe, and one that I imagine would fit perfectly in a halloween-themed publication. It tells the story of a man who grieves someone close to him named Lenore, and the reader can assume she is dead. He hears a sound that he thought might be Lenore, but he finds it’s a raven. Throughout the poem, he converses and argues with the raven, sometimes about Lenore, who only says “nevermore.”