Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Argument for Paper

I've been reading Simon R. Green's paranormal spy series whose main character is Eddie Drood.  Really good escapist reading (with apologies to my high school English teacher, Miss Waysman, who insisted that we never read for escape but to learn).  The first of the series is The Man With the Golden Torc.  The story centers around an ancient family whose members are the secret protectors of the world.  This family is extremely high-tech and beyond.  The "toys" that Eddie uses are something of a cross between Star Trek and James Bond.  Really cool things like a watch that lets you rewind and re-live the last 30 seconds.  Or a gun that never runs out of bullets and always hits its target.

The thing I noted was the Drood family's philosophy on keeping history and records.  They were all paper.  The idea is that technology can fail.  Paper cannot.  Technology can suffer from power outages, hard drive crashes, etc.  Paper will be there.

Yes, paper has drawbacks.  Fire, flood, and many other natural disasters can wipe it out.  But you don't need a battery or a power cord to use it.  A notebook and pen are the ultimate portable recorders you can find and almost everyone can afford them. 

I write this post using a computer.  I'm reaching people all across the United States and someday I may even have a reader from another hemisphere.  But a book will do it too.  A real paper book.  With pages.  With texture.  With soul.