Dear Reader

Random musings on reading and books from a librarian in training.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

When novelists strike

The Onion has an absolutely priceless article, Novelists Strike Fails To Affect Nation Whatsoever.

As you can guess, novelists go on strike and no one notices. Maybe it’s because the picket lines are in front of their desks!

"There's a novelists strike?" Ames, IA consumer Carl Hailes said. "That's terrible. When is it scheduled to begin?"

The strike kicked off last fall when the NGA announced it had hit a roadblock in negotiations with the Alliance of Printed Fiction and Literature Producers, failing to resolve certain key issues concerning online distribution, digital media rights, and readers just not getting what writers were trying to do with a number of important allegorical devices.

After a press conference at the Massachusetts home of NGA president John Updike—who called the strike an attempt by novelists "to give both the sublime and mundane alike their beautiful due"—members of the guild began picketing their studies, desks, and libraries and refusing to work on any further novels until the APFLP and the American reading public agreed to their demands.

So far, sources say, no one has attempted to cross the picket lines, most of which are located in private homes. However, unconfirmed reports indicate that at least one novelist may be breaking the strike by writing under the pseudonym "Richard Bachman."

One novelist had to put aside the book he’d been working on for more than 15 years. A tome is horrible thing to waste. :p With it’s cutting wit, the Onion suggests that unfortunately (unlike some other strikes) this one is having little impact.

While the strike has been joined by an estimated 250,000 novelists—225,000 of whom have reportedly stopped in the middle of their first novel—it has done no damage to any measurable sector of the economy, including bookstore chains, newspapers, magazines, all major media, overseas markets, independent film studios, major film studios, actors, editors, animators, carpenters, those in finance or banking, the day-to-day lives of average Americans, or anything else anyone can think of as of press time.

On a more serious note, I laugh at stories like this. But like much humor, there’s a kernel of truth here. During the recent writers’ strike, there was a lot of coverage about how this would affect consumers, what would people watch on tv, etc. Reading however is a different story. According to an Associated Press poll last year, one in four said they didn’t read a single book last year.

Hard to imagine.

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