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Michael Turner massages the medium

In an interview this morning with Brian Joseph Davis at The Globe and Mail‘s In Other Words blog, innovative author Michael Turner offers a fresh, if not slightly perplexing, perspective on a writer’s relationship with technology. Turner says that “the problem with seeing ‘digital tools’ as ‘problems’ lies in the writer’s inability to see the computer and the internet less as tools than as a medium.”

He goes on to address the need for authors to have an online presence and embrace cutting-edge technology:


With respect to writers who see this new medium as an “annoyance,” I would add that they are in fact employing the new medium to advertise what they do “ the advertisement, in this instance, coming in the form of difference. Thus, when an author identifies him or herself as a “good old-fashioned storyteller,” someone of bad manners and singular genius, a romantic, a lovable eccentric whose hat is always a little bit too big for their head, then the best way to convey that fantasy “ and the book it squirted from “ is to complain about “digital tools.”

Publishers are somewhat complicit in this, because for too long they cosseted and indulged their authors, until suddenly, with publicity campaigns going online, authors were told that the success of their book lay in their having an online presence. Obviously some authors have taken to this better than others, making their “platforms” more than where they are reading and how their book is “doing,” thereby expanding their practices, using their books as a device by which to cast shade, create depth, movement, hopefully leading them to new places, new ways of making meaning.

Turner’s online presence is definitely notable: his blog is updated frequently and the randomized version of his novel, 8×10, has been released via an online book remixer, BookRiff, a print-on-demand content broker.