Every Doctor under Steven Moffat
Ephemera and detritus of a cantankerous reader/writer. Managing Editor, BookRiot.com. Give me all the bacon and eggs you have.
As popularly conceived, however, the bucket list is far from being a reckoning with the weight of love in extremis, or an ethical or moral accounting. More often, it partakes of a commodification of cultural experience, in which every expedition made, and every artwork encountered, is reduced to an item on a checklist to be got through, rather than being worthy of repeated or extended engagement. Dropping by Stonehenge for ten minutes and then announcing you’ve crossed it off your bucket list suggests that seeing Stonehenge—or beholding the Taj Mahal, or visiting the Louvre, or observing a pride of lions slumbering under a tree in the Maasai Mara—is something that, having been done, can be considered done with.
What no one wants to accept—and no doubt there is an element of class prejudice at work here too—is that there are many ways to live a full, responsible, and even wise life that do not pass through reading literary fiction. And that consequently those of us who do pursue this habit, who feel that it enriches and illuminates us, are not in possession of an essential tool for self-realization or the key to protecting civilization from decadence and collapse. We are just a bunch of folks who for reasons of history and social conditioning have been blessed with a wonderful pursuit. Others may or may not be enticed toward it, but I seriously doubt if E.L. James is the first step toward Shakespeare. Better to start with Romeo and Juliet.
“The genres” were ignored altogether and realistic fiction alone was left as literature, in the minds of the men who controlled criticism and teaching. Realism is of course a tremendous and wonderfully capacious literary genre, and it has dominated fiction since 1800 or before. But dominance isn’t the same thing as superiority. Fantasy is at least as immense as realism and much older—essentially coeval with literature itself. Yet fantasy was relegated for fifty years or sixty years to the nursery. I love to remember Edmund Wilson, king of the realist bigots, squealing “Ooh those awful Orcs!” and believing he’d made a witty and cogent critical point
Ursula K. Le Guin, don’t ever change.
You see, the reasons - which are very important - are the causes behind this. That’s because there are things that make it so we can’t do this, like reasons. As we said, the reasons, are very important. It’s almost like there are obstacles ahead of us, which there aren’t, but it’s AS IF there are. So we can’t do it, because of the important reasons and the obstacles, which are imaginary, but scary like dreams.
It’s true that these material costs are removed from the equation of e-book costs. But most publishers are still publishing print books, so those costs remain part of their bottom line. Publishing e-books adds costs: making design adjustments, encoding in multiple formats, creating metadata methodology, etc. Making an e-book is not cost-free. The main cost behind a book is not its printing or its shipping — it’s the creation of the work, from inception to publication. Most important, this means, as Harlan Ellison famously (and profanely) said, pay the writer. In addition to the author, there is the author’s agent, as most authors who make it to publishers have one; there is the editor who works on the book, an assistant editor, a proofreader, a copy editor, a fact-checker; a cover designer; a layout person; a marketing department; a dedicated publicist. Whether a book is printed or digital, all those people are still involved in bringing the book to market.