EP328: Surviving the eBookalypse Jan. 19, 2012

from Escape Pod· · · 1 listeners

By Randy Henderson Read by Roberto Suarez Discuss on our forums. An Escape Pod Original! All stories by Randy Henderson All stories read by Roberto Suarez Rated 13-and-up for language. Surviving the eBookalypse by Randy Henderson I entered the City Public Library wearing my plastic replica chainmail and sword, and my suede "book jacket" with [...]



By Randy Henderson Read by Roberto Suarez Discuss on our forums. An Escape Pod Original! All stories by Randy Henderson All stories read by Roberto Suarez Rated 13-and-up for language. Surviving the eBookalypse by Randy Henderson I entered the City Public Library wearing my plastic replica chainmail and sword, and my suede “book jacket” with a laminated author’s license clipped to the collar. Before me stood a fully automated checkout kiosk for scheduling author recitals. The library floor beyond that was filled with neat rows of author cubicles, each with a desk and chair. Most were occupied. The air was filled with the soft tickity-ticking of keyboards, and the smells of coffee, “New Book” scented air fresheners, and Cup o’ Soup. Heads popped up over cubicle walls in response to the clacking of the door, then disappeared again when they saw I was no customer or potential patron. I understood their disappointed expressions too well. This was not at all where I thought I would be two years after publishing my first e-book. A woman’s smile caught my attention. It was like cherry-haloed sunshine, floating between her neon blue hair and her black lace dress. She emerged from a cube in the Romance section, walked up to me, leaned in close and sniffed at the air. Then she said with the hint of a Mexican accent, “I smell a transfer from Bainbridge library, no? An MFA boy, if I’m not mistaken?” “That obvious?” I asked. “Lucky guess.” She laughed, and flicked my author’s license. “Says so right here.” “Oh. Yes.” I felt the fool. I glanced at her author’s license. “Myra Sweet.” “That’s me,” she said. “So, the great literary novel didn’t work out like you thought it would, eh?” “You’ve heard of my book?” “No, but it’s the same old story. Follow me. I’ll show you around.” She turned and walked away. I followed in the wake of her sugary perfume, and my eyes were drawn down to the swaying of her hips. There lie danger, I felt certain, but tempting danger. On the back of her black suede book jacket were reviews of her work. “Myra Sweet’s recital style would make an audience in Antarctica sweat.” – Romance Recitals Monthly “Sweet lives up to her name with The Bride Wore Pistols. This one has to be heard to be believed.” – Jenna Johnson, Amazon-Random House “Myra Sweet blends sex and action so seamlessly her work deserves a new genre – sextion? Sacxy? Whatever, she’s smoking hot.” – Phoenix Jones I wondered if the reviews were real. I hoped they weren’t. If someone with reviews like that didn’t have a patron supporting her, what chance did I have? I reached back to make sure the blurb for my own book, “Magic Daze and Dark Knights,” was still Velcroed securely to the back of my jacket. We walked past the row of thriller authors, almost exclusively men with crew cuts dressed in various colored jumpsuits and bomber-style book jackets. A few of them gave me an informal salute or a cursory nod as we passed, and their musk cologne made me cough in response. We passed the row of horror authors, with their all-black clothing, red or black hair, and pale skin. Most of them arched a single eyebrow at me, or stared at me until I looked away. Further off I saw cowboys and cowgirls, Renaissance- garbed folks, and business-casual attire. Seeing so many authors of the same genre together just reinforced my opinion that “dressing to genre” was not a good idea for everyone. One man’s mustachio was another man’s weasely whiskers. One woman’s ghostly was another woman’s sickly. It reminded me to straighten my posture and suck in my modest gut. At the back of the library was a “timeline of books” displayed across the wall. We walked along it,[...]