Sunday, February 15, 2009

Baen's BEST OF book

Recently I found at the library the first volume of the Best of Jim Baen's Universe, collecting stories from the online zine from 2006. The stories therein range from so-so to spectacular. I particularly liked Gregory Benford's fascinating (if utterly science-professor-dorky) "Bow Shock" and John Barnes' beautiful and weird  "Every Hole is Outlined."

This book came with a CD-ROM that one can load onto one's computer and find the whole contents of the book plus some issues of the magazine. I thought this was quite a cool bonus feature, but at the same time it struck me as a bit weird in the sense that a disc is already a sort of outdated, transitional medium. As for the book itself, yeah, sure, that makes sense. Pulling down the content from a website also makes sense to me.  But a CD?  A piece of physical media that really just duplicates unnecessarily content that's in the book or accessible online? Then I realized an advantage to it: the book needs to go back to the library along with its CD, but I can copy the contents of the CD onto my computer if I wish. In fact, the copyright notice on the disc invites people to do just that so long as they don't try to sell it. 

Speaking of Baen, I am still hoping a lot of people will enter their contest (info here).

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