Critical Mass

Adventures in E-Reading: Guest Post from Aimee Bender

By Aimee Bender

Over the next month or so we're going to be offering a new series of guest posts (read the first series,”The Next Decade in Book Culture here). Our question: How are you handling the rise of the e-book? Are you reading on Kindle, the Sony Reader, the Vook, have you reserved an iPad?  Are you buying e-books? Reading e-galleys? And how's it working out for you? Let us know your quibbles, quirks, happy and not so happy adventures in e-reading. This guest post is from author Aimee Bender, describing her discovery of Electric Literature's YouTube previews.

I first encountered Electric Literature through their 'previews'– I watched one for Jim Shepard's story “Fate Hurtles Down at You”,


and I had never seen a story 'announced' in this way.  How fun!  I did find myself having the same visceral reaction that I do at movie trailers– a surge of anticipation, a desire to seek out the story as soon as it came out, a tinge of excitement and urgency.  That the editors are trying to re-frame the ways stories come at us, in all these new forms– kindle, phone, youtube– plus issuing the usual print– seems like a very smart way to go.  I was thrilled when they published a story of mine, “The Red Ribbon


in their third issue, and they made this great trailer, off a sentence in the story (they do this with all their stories). It's its own little short film, but instead of being obligated to show the whole story, it's just a hint.  I love the theatricality of it– the red menu, her expressions, the weirdness.  The story itself was not one I had changed or modified, thinking of different media, and I think that'd be a next step– to send a story to EL that is slightly different structurally, that might interact with a kindle or an iphone in some way.  I'm really not sure how, and I do appreciate that they are not insisting on that at all, but I think it's an intriguing challenge regardless.  A story in parts?  A story with illustrations?  A story with sound?