Cory Doctorow: You Do Like Reading Off a Computer Screen


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“I don’t like reading off a computer screen” it’s a cliche of the e-book world. It means “I don’t read novels off of computer screens” (or phones, or PDAs, or dedicated e-book readers), and often as not the person who says it is someone who, in fact, spends every hour that Cthulhu sends reading off a computer screen. It’s like watching someone shovel Mars Bars into his gob while telling you how much he hates chocolate.

(As Doctorow is a die-hard advocate of the free flow of information, I don’t think he’ll mind my using his picture here. But if he does, I’ll gladly take it down.)

Cory Doctorow has a way with words, that much is certain. I’ve enjoyed his visionary sci-fi novels, and now, I enjoy this essay on reading off of computer screens Doctorow wrote for Locus Magazine. In essence, Cory points out, the computer is a device built for multitasking that always begs you to be doing something else. You do like reading off a computer screen, you just don’t have the attention to do it for more than thirty-second chunks of time.

(Speaking of which, this post has gone on long enough!)


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