Tag Archives: technology

Evolution of Storytelling

Although I have stated before that I am eternally devoted to print books, I give props to technology foremost for its innovation. Therefore, in the video below,presented with the iPad, I am in awe at what the technology is doing for storytelling in its essence.

Books tell stories about people and by people, but the key here is the people. The storyteller or bard has been a crucial aspect of telling stories centuries before anything was written down. The key to the success of writers is how they can bring the storyteller to life in their writing without actually being there in front of the reader.

Part of the magic is hearing the story read to you from someone who knows the story in and out. Although the bard is dead, there is a bit of a revival left in the theatrics of storytelling with the help of the new technology.

The presentation I watched discussed the innovation of, you guessed it, the book. In this case, the presenter discusses Lothar Meggendorfer, the creator of pop-up books, which in itself is an innovation for books. I am immediately drawn in to the slideshow, music, and interactive aspects of the presentation. One could say he is hiding behind his technology, but the presenter still knows how and when to speak to give the best effect of the speech.

He credits the growth of storytelling to this man and showed how storytelling has developed. To be frank, it altered my mind a little and made me relax more on the whole change of books. It’s not the end of the world. In fact, it’s the beginning of something new. While I still prefer my silent, battery-less paperbacks. The world of books is blossoming into a form of entertainment no one can fathom, yet. So, before I jump down off my soap box, I will confess I’m excited to see what’s in store for e-books. How will they affect teaching, entertainment, and ultimately the craft of storytelling? I know it’s scary, but at the same time, it could be fun if we give it a chance. ; ) Check out the link below to see what I’m talking about and be open-minded!

 

http://www.ted.com/talks/joe_sabia_the_technology_of_storytelling.html

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Future Telling Fiction: How Science Fiction Shaped Our Reality

Fiction is a genre stemming from reality. In some way, fiction derives from truth and changes in the eyes of the writer. Whether it be an experience from the writer or a memory from someone else, fiction comes from something we know and changes to become something different.

Science fiction, however, is a type of fiction where we claim to know how current technology and science will transform in a different reality or future. It can be a parallel universe or 1500 years in the future. Yet, the alterations made in science fiction stories are not just musing of an author’s wild imagination. Many of the devices, inventions, and discoveries in the most famous fictional stories have been predictions for real world events.

Today, I will take on a journey through the minds of the best future tellers known to mankind…science fiction writers. We will discuss how questions of the universe and space were answered in stories, years before we actually discovered them.

Jules Verne's From Earth to the Moon

We begin our tour of science fiction predictions with Jules Verne. He was a French writer living in the 1800s and made drastic predictions of space exploration that eventually came true 100 years later. In his book, From Earth to the Moon, Verne described down to mind-boggling detail the trip to the moon.  The launch site and water landing of the capsule are eerily close to what happened in reality. Even the material the capsule was made of (aluminum) and the number of men on the voyage (3) are similar to what we experienced in 1969.  Verne’s book was published in 1865 and he was so precise in his details that the fictional capsule was named Columbiad. Drop the d and you have almost an exact prediction of how man got to the moon.

H.G. Well's The First Men in the Moon

Forty years later, another legendary sci fi writer, H.G. Wells, wrote a similar account of moon landing in the 1901 novel, The First Men in the Moon. While H.G. Wells’ predictions were located more on Earth, we’re hoping his prediction of time travel will soon be upon us.

Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey

The next precognitive writer is Arthur C. Clarke who commented not only in his fiction, but in scientifice journals made predictions about technology. In 1945, he had an idea of communication through satellites that synchronized their orbit with the Earth’s equator (geostationary satellites). The idea was coined first in 1928, but was made popular by Clarke and 20 years later it was made a reality. They are affectionately known as Clarke orbits for his faith in the technology.

Through his book, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Clarke was able to give a realistic experience of what happens to a human body in space (while other science fiction movies over dramatize the event) and even mentions the existence of a black hole on one of Saturn’s moons. Although it is not recognized as such, Clarke comes back to the black hole idea in his story the Black Sun in 1956. Over 10 years before the coining of the term black hole, Clarke manages to use it in his stories as a normal aspect of space life.  He even goes on to predict in 2024, that we will use infrared signals to find an advanced civilization at the center of our galaxy. What is most unsettling about this prediction is that infrared telescopes are being used as we speak to locate stars and planetary bodies, which could someday return with intelligent life.

Now these three men are part of an elite group of science fiction writers who have been able to accurately describe events and inventions that will eventually be created. It is insane to think that black holes and satellites were once figments of a man’s imagination and now they are truths we accept in reality.

To aspiring speculative and science fictions writers, it takes a lot of knowledge to become as legendary as these men. However, it is not impossible to fill their shoes. It is important to focus on what we know now and project what could potentially happen in the future.

I am shocked and proud to know that fiction writers (in essence liars) have been absolved of their mockery because their predictions have come to pass. It is comforting to know that writing  entertains, incites emotions, and helps shape the future of our species.

What do you predict will come to pass in the next year? The next 25? The next 100 years for humanity and our technology?

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Welcome to the Digital Age, Reader!

In a time where the internet is the main resource for finding and sharing information, the role of a writer has changed. To those in the writing community, it is a struggle to surpass all previous views on teaching, reading, and writing.  The technological advancements spurred by the creation of the internet in the 1970s have become the center of all developed societies.

The reality we all have to accept is that it is never going away. Ipads, smartphones, and e-readers are the competition of those we call purists. Purists believe that no technology can replace the experience of the print medium. It isn’t just the change from paper to screen. It is a loss of appreciation for the way we read. Authors and readers alike must cope with society’s love of technology.

In America, those who treasure the written word are faced with a question. How will we survive if everyone else forgets how we got here? Because with every new advancement in technology, consumers become more dependent on their devices and forget the simple living of just a few decades ago.

So now I pose this problem to you, reader. How have you been coping with the advancement of technology? Does it make your life easier and more convenient? Or do you struggle to hold on to the rich history of the written word in your life when faced with the possibility of its extinction?

 

I will leave with an often used quote by Norbert Platt, “The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium.”

 

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