The Information Age is such fun. You never know when something in going to come hurtling down the electronic pike and make your week more exciting.
And my week was pretty exciting already, with Alien Contact coming out with my story “Guerrilla Mural of a Siren's Song.” I had also just downloaded an advance copy of the ebook version, via Stanza into my iPod touch, and was looking forward to carrying it around and flashing it at people.
I was feeling so good, I decided -- aw, what the hell – download the new iPod software that my computer had been nagging me about, get all upgraded and ready to go . . .
So I put the new iOS 5.0 into my iPod touch, then went to get a peek at the Alien Contact cover. I got an error message:
“Unhandled exception . . . You can try to continue but the application may be unstable.”
Unstable? It was frozen solid – totally unresponsive!
I grumbled obscenities as I figured out how to get the Alien Contact epub file into my iPod touch though iTunes and iBooks.
Then I surfed into the news that iOS 5.0 has been discovered to be incompatible with Stanza, making that app useless on the iPod and iPad and separating readers from their books.
I was contemplating recently dead Steve Jobs quivering between sainthood and godhood as his corporation pulls an underhanded power grab, when I heard from Marty Halpern, editor of Alien Contact, who had seen my tweet about downloading the ebook, asking if I would be willing to review it.
I asked Marty if it would be kosher for me to review the book when I had a story in it. He said it would be okay, if I explained the situation and talked about the parts of the book I didn't write. Kinda weird, but that tends to be my speciality, so I said, yes, I'll do it.
Then I went shopping for a new eReader app.
I found one called eBook Search. It's free, and works through iTunes and iBooks. (I wonder if there's a Ouija board app that would allow an interview with Steve Jobs about this?) There are a lot of pop-up ads asking “Are you a Stanza Refugee?” and offering to get rid of the ads for 99 cents. Like Stanza, eBook Search has access to ebooks from Feedbooks, Project Gutenberg, Smashwords, and Munseys.
It also has access to Baen Books and Internet Archive, where found some books I couldn't get through Stanza, like: P.T. Barnum's autobiography, because I feel it will help in surviving the the world the way it is rapidly developing; Vincente Blasco Ibáñez' classic bullfighting novel Blood and Sand; and Dames Don't Care by Peter Cheyney, creator of hardboiled detective Lemmy Caution.
But still, there are a number of books that I had on Stanza that I no longer have access to, some that I paid for.
I suppose that somewhere, Steve Jobs and P.T. Barnum are having good laugh.