Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Literacy On It's Way Out

Hey look, more doomsaying. This time it's Ben Bova, an author, commenting on how with voice recognition software and audiobooks the need to be able to read and write is slowly being phased out. Then he rags on graphic novels.

Take the idea of graphic novels. Essentially, these are comic books for adults. Some of the works are quite striking and even powerful. But War and Peace they’re not. They’re not even Valley of the Dolls.

It’s impossible to reproduce a novel’s deep characterizations and nuances of plot development in a comic book format. I’ve had a couple of my short stories done in graphic style and, while I’m pleased with the results, I don’t see how a novel could be done that way — except by boiling down the novel to a few incidents and characters and tossing away almost all of the depth and plot development.

 There's room for all of it. Voice recognition software and audiobooks help facilitate communication and storytelling for people who would otherwise have a hard time. And again, not everyone can afford the technology. Maybe one day that'll happen. Like Star Trek! But it's not in any danger of happening soon.


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