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The sound of my voice. And his.

I hate the sound of my own voice. Actually, I’m not sure I completely do anymore, but I really used to. My mother wanted to me to speak properly (she wanted me to sing too, but that’s never going to happen) and so I had lessons in speaking when I was little. Or I only think I [...]


  • To Baldur's post in Lessons in Interactivity. A quick, Friday morning response: I certainly said that (and I've said as such before) and Baldur's use of those words are nicely dovetailed into the McLuhan quote, which certainly shows he was paying close attention. Form invokes content; books are books, and apps are not books. TouchPress' Wasteland, for example (it's the piece I use most often to explain this to students and researchers) is not a book. It borrows/interprets a great many of the affordances of books, and conventional reading experiences (can't think of a better phrase than interprets, sorry), but is not a book in the manner in which it is conceived and read. I'm very interested in how reading behaviours operate across the two platforms, but to call interactive thingumabobs 'books' makes the same mistake that mired us in Bolter and Grusin's Remediation dead-end for fifteen years. In fact, that's largely why I get a sense of disquiet about calling them books - that's remediative, reductive thinking and it gets everyone nowhere. Take a look at what's worked in recent months - Random House's Story-cuts - short, lovely, well conceived incursions into a digital-led realm, that address the particular branding and design principles that are required to exploit the app store. It's not remediation, it's not transfer, it's transposition, and that's important. The other example that shows why apps are not books? Visual Editions Composition no.1 Categorically not a book, and beautifully exploiting the interface, the user-experience and an improvement (not simply an enhancement) on the paper-original. #
  • Just to be completist about these things, here are the website links to each of the sections of anovelexperiment: primarycrisis.com secondaryphase.com tertiaryevent.com Although I'm putting these up here in order, it actually helps if you read them in reverse (tertiary - secondary - primary). If you're completely new to the project, then clicking on bees/keys/clockwork brings up a new window in which you can download copies of the digital prints and the text files embedded within them. #
  • A few weeks (I think, probably less) I wrote about indigenous peoples and their beliefs. I was flippant, without being dismissive, and thought about the subject for a few days before filing the theme to be retrieved at some later point. Witchdoctors in Tanzania are killing albinos. "They are being killed because local witchdoctors say their body parts provide the potent ingredient for magic charms, which many local people use to bring success in business and love. The bodies are left limbless and sometimes with a huge hole in the neck, from where blood would have been drained." Richard Dawkins quotes H G Wells' New Republic in The God Delusion: "The men of the New Republic ... will have an ideal that will make the killing (of their inferiors) worth the while" The zeitgeist of belief doesn't always move forward with a hop and a skip. Sometimes it lingers in the past, festering and polluting. #
  • Is the neverending story of gameplay v narrative over? Not without an appreciation of the materiality of the playing experience, it isn't. And what Keith Stuart misses (in an otherwise concise round up of theoretical perspectives) is that there's something about the reading experience that isn't accommodated in the current popular critical field) #
  • "Mr Cameron said it was "pathetic" for Mr Brown to read out quotes from novelists". Which novelists?! I accept that quoting Frederick Forsyth might be pathetic, but what if Brown starts quoting Balzac, Proust or Eco? Where will Mr Cameron's much-lauded derision of the written word be then, I wonder? #

Welcome to other things

Ostensibly the research blog of Dr. Tom Abba. In early 2011, Tom published a digital novel in a limited edition format, starting with 120 digital prints on rather expensive paper. It was tagged as #tubemystery on twitter, although that’s not its original title. The latest posts on this blog are a set of thoughts about that project. Older posts might be talking about just about anything, so sorry about that.

Recent Posts

This is Not a Book. Finally.
September 1, 2015
By tom
361 days later
April 16, 2014
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Do no harm
April 16, 2014
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The Southern Reach
March 28, 2014
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Just for you
March 18, 2014
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March 12, 2014
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Toward a Literature of Ambience
February 26, 2014
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Here’s the thing / The Yellow King
February 24, 2014
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