Real Print

I took a fanfic survey today; the usual paleo-fan questions about zines and how-has-the-net-changed-fandom were in there. One question no one asks is how print changes your perception of a fic. Since I printed out my Glory Days PDF, I’ve found myself enjoying the story more than I would on-screen. I read one of the stories on-screen before, so I do have a basis for comparison.

So I have this option for the printed page. It’s easier on the eye, less disposable, less likely to be dismissed with a command-W. Maybe it’s thirty years of reading good stories in print, compared to three years of reading questionable stories on-screen, that has given me the prejudice. Maybe it’s the ease of picking up and putting down a book, compared to the trouble of bookmarking a story and searching for where I left off. I usually think of the pro-zine crowd as exclusionary and inbred, but if it were just about the advantage of paper over photons, I’d be in their camp.

I hope someday someone invents a passive computer screen - something black and white, at 600dpi, that generates no light - something that looks just like the printed page. It could be done mechanically in black and white, or chemically in color. It might even break down the barriers between pay-per-fic and fanfic.

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