Friday, November 23, 2007

Kindle: Reading the Future

Jeff Bezos has ignited the holiday shopping season with the launch of the Kindle, Amazon’s new mobile e-reader. Praised by supporters as the next chapter in the evolution of electronic books and decried by critics as the latest footnote in the history of the decline of civilization, "the future of reading" has sparked an explosion of attention.

For our purposes, only one question is relevant: Will the $399 Kindle take a reader to Mars?

Surprisingly, the answer is yes, as the 91,000-volume Kindle library holds quite a few Martian science fiction books:

Old classics, including Gulliver of Mars, by Edwin L. Arnold (1905), the first five books in Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom series (1917-1922) and “A Martian Odyssey,” by Stanley G. Weinbaum (1934).

Works from the mid-century cannon, such as Red Planet, by Robert Heinlein (1949), The Sands of Mars, by Arthur C. Clarke (1951), and Martian Time-Slip, by Philip K. Dick (1964).

Recent titles, like Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy (1992-1996), William K. Hartmann’s Mars Underground (1997), Robert Zubrin’s First Landing (2001), and Gary Tigerman’s The Orion Protocol (2003).

And, some things that were unbeknownst to us, such as End of an Era, by Robert J. Sawyer (2001), “Carter on Mars,” by Janis Ian (2004), and Starstrike: Task Force Mars, by Douglas Niles (2007).

While Kindle seems hip, it’s not as cool as Bezos’ Blue Origin project, which actually may transport a reader to Mars some day.

1 comment:

dan rogy said...

* Electronic-paper display provides a sharp, high-resolution screen that looks and reads like real paper.
* No computer, no cables, no syncing.
* Wireless connectivity - you shop the Kindle Store directly from your Kindle from anywhere, just like using a cell phone! When you buy a book, it is auto-delivered wirelessly in less than one minute.
* More than 88,000 books available, including 100 of 112 current New York Times® Best Sellers. Free book samples. Download and read first chapters for free before you decide to buy.
* Read top U.S. newspapers including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post; read top magazines including TIME, Atlantic Monthly, and Forbes — all auto-delivered wirelessly. Read top international newspapers from France, Germany, and Ireland; Le Monde, Frankfurter Allgemeine, and The Irish Times.
* Read more than 250 top blogs from the worlds of business, technology, sports, entertainment, and politics, including BoingBoing, Slashdot, TechCrunch, ESPN's Bill Simmons, The Onion, Michelle Malkin, and The Huffington Post.
* eBook device is lighter and thinner than a typical paperback; weighs only 10.3 ounces and holds over 200 titles.
* Long battery life. Leave wireless on and recharge approximately every other day. Turn wireless off and read for a week or more before recharging. Fully recharges in 2 hours.
* Unlike WiFi, Kindle utilizes the same high-speed data network (EVDO) as advanced cell phones, you never have to locate a hotspot. No monthly wireless bills, service plans, or commitments — takes care of the wireless delivery so you can simply click, buy, and read. Includes free wireless access to the planet's most exhaustive and up-to-date encyclopedia—
* Email your Word documents and pictures (.JPG, .GIF, .BMP, .PNG) to Kindle for easy on-the-go viewing.