Will E-books Kill Nostalgia?

My recent bout of nostalgia for gamebooks had me thinking about e-books again.

Even though I’ve been tempted by gadget lust several times, I don’t own a Kindle, a Nook, or an iPad. A few years ago, I bought a couple of ebooks from Fictionwise when I was experimenting with lunchtime reading on my PDA. Reading experience aside, my PDA reading experiment has a big similarity to using a Kindle, Nook, or iPad: if you lose the device or stop using it then all of the books you’ve purchased are gone.

This make me wonder if nostalgia experience like I recently enjoyed will vanish once e-books become more common. The switch from paper books is much different than the switch from film photos to digital photos, because digital photos are portable across different types of devices and can be copied. E-books are tied to a specific device by DRM software. If I read an e-book and I fall in love with it and want to be sure that I can pick it up and read it again in 5, 10, or 20 years, then I would either have to buy a paper version or I would have to store the e-book reader and hope that the battery and electronics still worked years later.

E-books have much more in common with digital music from several years ago, and it’s going to take a similar loosening of control before I’m ready to commit to it. Even once I started listening to MP3’s primarily, I continued to buy and rip CD’s. It wasn’t until Amazon opened their DRM free music store that I stopped buying physical media. I just did not want to commit myself to the walled-garden of iTunes or Play-for-sure. Unfortunately Amazon’s entry into the e-book market is just as locked down as anything Apple did in the music-space, so I don’t see the current e-book environment changing in the near future.

For now, I’m going to stick with paper.

Choose Your Own Adventure

Aside, from the odd login to EVE for a skill update or to check on my planetary extractions I haven’t been playing much this week, and it’s all Anjin’s fault.

Last Tuesday, Anjin over at Bullet Points posted about his Top Five: Gamebooks which included my favorite childhood series the Lone Wolf and World of Lone Wolf books. These books occupy a special place in my memories, because it was the closest I could get to a pen and paper D&D (besides the Bard’s Tale series) until I hit high-school. See, this was back in the 80’s when being a geek was not cool. Plus, I lived in a small mid-western town, so my options for D&D were zero. I was probably the only kid between 8 and 16 within a 25 mile radius who cared about such things. So Choose Your Own Adventure books were a way for me to pursue in my interests, and the Lone Wolf books were my favorite gamebook series (some pics), enough so that I kept all of the ones I had.

Reading Anjin’s post really stirred up my nostalgia. So, after my son was asleep, I dug out my books and indulged in some major reminiscing. Then (of course) I did a little Googling just to see what there was to see and found out that there had been a bunch of books beyond the 12 that I’d read as a kid. /gasp Of course now that I knew, I had to have them, but I figured the chances of finding books a decode or more out of print were slim and not. Still, I was continuing to poke around the internet and I found something unexpected and wonderful.

Project Aon is a labor of love by fans of the series combined with the generosity of Joe Dever, the author, who has the full publishing rights and given his blessing to posting everything online. It’s a fantastic site and not something I expected to find. No adds, no pay wall, no sketchy downloads, just a simple and elegant site devoted to the complete series by a bunch of people who love the books as much or more than I do.

Most of this week, I’ve been spending time rereading my old books and looking at the new versions online. I also found, via the Aon site, that Mongoose Publishing has been updating and re-releasing the series. I’ve already ordered the first four books and imagine I’ll end of getting the rest at some point.

Huge appreciation to Anjin for his post which inspired this whole experience.

Star Trek: the Novels

While I do read a lot, I don’t usually read much in the way of tie-ins to movies or TV. Oddly I have no problem watching and enjoying a movie or TV show that’s based (sometimes loosely) on a book I’ve read, but somehow the reverse never works out well. Recently, I’ve started to read some tie-ins though and for the most part been pleased, for example the excellent Mass Effect books. So when I saw there was a book tie-in for STO called Needs of the Many, I ordered it from Amazon.

I was late getting started on reading it, so I did end up reading Adventure Historian’s and MMO Gamer Chick’s reviews before I started. That might have caused me to drop my expectations a bit, but overall I enjoyed the book. I thought that the interviews with well known characters like Janeway, Seven of Nine, Quark, and Worf were done very well and stayed very true to their TV portrayals. The interviews with Maddox and La Forge alone were worth the read though. Data was my favorite character from Next Generation. I always wondered after watching Nemesis, if the foreshadowing that was done with Data and B-4 would ever be explored, so it was really good to see that finally happen. The timeline appendix included in the back was pretty nice too, but I think it’s more useful as a reference than entertainment.

Besides connecting the game to the TV and movie timeline, the other thing that reading Needs of the Many has done is generate some interest in reading more of the Trek novels. I recently discovered that there’s a series of novels that follow the Enterprise crew between Insurrection and Nemesis. Since there’s no Star Trek on television right now, this is the next best thing.

Happy Birthday J.R.R.T.

I had no idea it was Professor Tolkien’s birthday today (thanks Goldenstar), but I’m definitely going to offer a couple of toasts in his honor. If you want a bit more biographical information on the Professor, go see Once Upon a Hobbit.

Tolkien's Shelf

The Hobbit and the Order Slip Tolkien has been the largest influence on my reading habits every since I was 8 years old. I bought the Hobbit when I was in elementary school via a class book fair. The teacher passed out a small pamphlet that had all of the books being offered with a small summary and a picture of the cover. I don’t remember why I picked that one, but I can remember counting out dimes and quarters to pay for it and I’m sure the librarian was thrilled when I came in with my bag of coins. I still have the book and the slip which I used as a bookmark.

If I remember right, it was that summer that I checked out the Lord of the Rings trilogy from the public library. It took me the entire school break to finish them and I don’t know how much I really understood (certainly not as much as when I read them now), but from then on fantasy was about the only genre I would read (until I found Heinlein and got into sci-fi).

Since then, I’ve reread the books multiple times (including the Silmarillion), enjoyed Peter Jackson’s movie adaptation, and now I spend a little bit of time almost daily in Turbine’s interpretation.

Happy birthday, Professor!

Castle’s Heat Wave

I am a huge fan of the ABC show Castle. For those who don’t watch it: Nathan Fillion (of Firefly fame) plays Rick Castle a mystery writer who is following Kate Beckett (played by Stana Katic) while researching a new series of books.  In a recent episode, Castle’s first book is released.  I don’t remember if I was just curious or there was something at the end of the episode, but I ended up going to Amazon and ordering the book.

It is a quick read, at just under 200 pages, but it is very well paced and doesn’t feel rushed at all.  The wit, humor, and style are the same.  The characters in the book all have analogues to characters in the show.  Instead of Kate Beckett, we have Detective Nikki Heat, and instead of writer Castle doing research for a book it is journalist Jameson Rook doing research for an article on the NYPD.  The book is plotted similarly to an episode of the show, starting at a crime scene and following the investigation through several plot twists until the case is solved.  Most of the story is told from Heat’s point of view and includes a lot of her inner dialogue, I’ll be interested to see how much of the Heat character shows up in the Beckett character later in the show.

My only complaint is that for $20 the book wa a bit short.  Amazon has it on sale now for $10.99, so if you’re a fan of the show buy it.

Slight spoiler: the only major departure from the show are the romance elements included in the book with Heat.


There’s a new blog up dedicated to fantasy literature:


The brain child of Regis from the Wizards & Wenches Warhammer blog:

Quilldragon is to be a fantasy blog that focus extensively on fantasy literature. By that we mean that Star Trek is not fantasy literature, and neither is World of Warcraft or Xena the Warrior Princess. Instead we will focus on our genre and deliver news of books, authors and happenings; reviews of old and new books; insightful and interesting articles about the genre; and everything else we can come up with.

If you love fantasy this is the place for you.

Head on over and check it out.