It's Alive! 11/25/2011
I have a book.
Well, I don’t, I mean, I haven’t seen the actual physical copy of Babylon Steel yet, I haven’t held it in my hands. But it exists. It’s a thing, in the world.
This is very strange. Because suddenly, it’s real.
It hasn’t been real in the same way before. It’s existed as an idea, then as a few scribbled words in random notebooks and as a lot more words on a screen – a bunch of, what, spots of arranged light, electronic thoughts in a silicon brain. And the time will come, I think, when most books are bought and read as electronic files; that will be their ultimate stage of reality.
I admit I’m very glad to have a book that exists as a solid physical object. That was the reality of books I grew up with, and is the reality of most of the books I own or buy, still. It was my ambition, and I feel immensely lucky that it’s been realised.
But then, is a book actually real before there are readers? Which sounds rather postmodern, perhaps, but I feel there’s still another level of reality to come – the point where it’s read by someone who isn’t a friend, a member of my critique group, my agent or my editor. That’s when it not only becomes real, it becomes separate. And either people like it or they don’t. Either they notice it…or they don’t.
Now I get to see if it can survive on its own, a real thing, in a reality outside my head. And that’s scary.