ALL WATCHED OVER BY MACHINES OF LOVING GRACE?

‘Series of films exploring the idea that humans have been colonised by the machines they have built,’ is the tag line to the BBC’s brilliant new series, ALL WATCHED OVER BY MACHINES OF LOVING GRACE, and so ‘seeing everything in the world through the eyes of computers.’ Its premise is also the dangerous and ruthless movements of capital at the top, further enhanced by the digitalised, information age. But for a little publisher forced to recover it’s writer’s work and voice first through the medium of eBooks, it is extremely relevant to what is happening in modern publishing. It also shows the potential disaster of people thinking they are really communicating through the web, the great liberal dream of silicone valley, but finding they are actually completely swallowed up by it, as pure entertainment ‘commodity’, in the grip of the money making ‘platforms’ like Amazon and WordPress, and have even less say because of the swamping of opinion and information. Here we have argued that is does not matter about the medium, the ‘how’ stories are relayed, as long as the stories are worth reading, though we love real books. A friend speaking of his wife and her thrill as a great reader in getting a Kindle supports that. What does not is the fact his father gave him a disk with 40,000 pirated books on it, and the mass proliferation of junk to try and catch markets! To protect against that, and the corruption of form every publisher seems engaged in now, it must be about dual medium publishing, but above all the spirit of the people who create and also nurture real and important stories. How else will we hear anything valuable or true, and how will committed writers survive?

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