Re: [rumori] Rebel Code -- book review

From: Jim Carrico (
Date: Tue Jan 30 2001 - 21:48:03 PST

>Stephen King ran into this attitude with his doomed experiment in writing a
>serialised internet novel: not enough people paid their dollar, so he gave
>up. (Of course, it's possible that their unwillingness to pay was influenced
>by their knowledge of King's already fabulous wealth, and their distrust of
>his self-righteous e-crusade against "big publishing", without which he
>would never have been a multi-millionaire in the first place.)

This is an interesting example of what might be termed the propogation of a
false meme. This notion that Steven King's experiment was a failure was
essentially cooked up by the NY Times in an article entitled "King's
Closure" on Dec.1 2000 (
Steven King replied to this letter, and when the NYT declined to print it,
posted it on his website - please take the time to read it yourself:

He rebuts the article in detail - for instance, the project is not "over,
...but only on hiatus", a hiatus which was planned from the very beginning
by the way, as he knew he had a novel and two screenplays to work on. He
also states that, far from being a failure, "The Plant will end up grossing
at least $600,000, and may end up over a million ... with no printing
costs, publisher's cuts, or agents' fees to pull it down."

He goes on to say that "Advertising aside (and finding the correct
advertising venues for internet users is a whole other issue), costs are
nonexistent and the profit potential is unlimited." He states very clearly
that the experiment is not a failure, and that it's really only just begun.

And yet, the punditocracy has spoken. Who cares what actually happened? -
the story is: "doomed experiment." Not giving King an opportunity to reply
is entirely consistent with the sort of one-way, top-down,
you'll-take-it-and-like-it approach to culture, commerce, and everything,
that is being desperately buttressed by the neo-feudal corporate state
against the barbaric forces of decentralization and autonomy. The idea
that artists can survive without a parasitic matrix of agents,
distributers, publishers, etc - is clearly anathema to the media industry.

It's not just art and entertainment that is a stake - the corporate media
shows us the world, and also tells us what to think about it.

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