Danny Hillis on the evolution of books and story telling

Danny Hillis has recently published an essay on Edge.org about the future of books and storytelling in general in response the kerfuffle that Clay Shirky stirred up over on the Brittannica blog. Here is an excerpt:

Clay Shirky is not just questioning Tolstoy, he is questioning the culture of literature. He asks, What’s so great about War and Peace? Maybe it does have themes of power, fate, and personal responsibility, but it is really any more enriching than, say, a season of The Wire? And Shirky is not alone in his blasphemy. Back on the Edge, George Dyson speculates, “Perhaps books will end up back where they started, locked away in monasteries (or the depths of Google) and read by a select few”. For a readership of bibliophiles, this is treason.

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