Tuesday, September 14, 2010

LAST YEAR'S FUTURE BOOK STORE

          I just finished reading Robert J. Sawyer’s Flashforward, which served as “inspiration” for the television series.  I love the series, and I really enjoyed the book, but the differences between the two are even more pronounced than is usually the case when books are made into film.  The book is much less about the mystery of what caused the blackout and visions, and more about the psychological effects and ramifications, and intellectual extrapolation on what it all means.  Then at the end it gets pretty cosmic and shoots off WAY into the far-distant future.  Fascinating.
          But the one page I dog-eared (I’m not proud of it!  I’m sorry!) so I’d be able to find it later was a scene set in the author’s vision of what book stores would be like ten years into the future.  But he wrote it in 1999, so his future was actually last year!
          It’s interesting, so I shall provide the passage here:
I wish this edition's cover didn't so heavily
reflect the TV series. But I'm just being picky.

(Following excerpt from Flashforward, by Robert J. Sawyer, copyright 1999)

Day Eight: Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jake and Carly Tompkins could have met at TRIUMF, but they decided not to.  Instead, they met at the Chapters superstore in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby.  This one still devoted about half its space to actual pre-printed books that were for sale: guaranteed bestsellers by Stephen King, John Grisham, and Coyote Rolf.  But the rest of the facility was taken up by individual display copies of titles that could be printed on demand.  It took only fifteen minutes to produce a single copy of any book, either in mass-market paperback or as an octavo hardcover.  Large-print editions could be had, as well, and computer-translated editions in any one of twenty-four languages could be produced in only an additional few minutes.  And, of course, no title was ever out of stock.
          In a brilliant bit of preadaptive evolution, book superstores had been building coffee shops into their facilities for twenty years now—giving people the perfect place to spend some pleasant time while their custom books were printed.  Jake got to Chapters early, entered the attached Starbucks, ordered himself a tall decaffeinated Sumatra, and found a seat.

1 comment:

  1. Well, he certainly got the Starbucks part right!

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