commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/IPhone#/media/File:IPhone_2G_PSD_Mock.png by Justin14 CC BY-SA 3.0; ring image added
[A slightly shorter essay – travel has worn me out slightly…]
Circumstances of travel and technology had me borrow a smartphone for about a week of out-of-town travel. At the same time, I figured I’d give the first book of Lord Of The Rings (The Fellowship of the Ring) a try, if only to have a bit more cross-cultural knowledge, given that there was some time for travel reading.
My take on the book and on the use of a smartphone was about the same – meh. Yes, there were some neat features of the smartphone, and the LotR book was filled with description. But for some reason, the entire smartphone world seemed so unappealing for the same way other baubles seem to transform the user. Sitting at dinner, many people can’t pull themselves away from their comrades (or dates). And as for LotR, well, maybe I’ve got to take another crack at it.
- How do we pull people away from their screens (smartphones, or otherwise)? Another ‘app’ seems a bit like trying to give lower grade alcohol to alcoholics. Yeah, it might work, but does seem a bit counter intuitive.
- One good things about LotR is that got people to read. For me, it does have that bit with Gollum and the ring, and cautionary tales are always needed. What is a similar tale, set in the modern era, that shows how a powerful but ultimately destructive force can exist? The Peak Oil story?
- Does anyone else start asking questions about Lord Of The Rings like “How can this ecosystem work?”, or “How would magic work?” or “What does the rest of the world look like?” Larry Niven has done some work in this area, with the concept of ‘manna’ so magical stories can have some basis. And of course, fans have gone wild with this sort of thing.