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Site review:

02/03/2009. Contributed by Rod MacDonald

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The Internet has brought many changes to media publishing. Music is available as a download and it may be the case that in ten to twenty years, the CD will have vanished, gone the same way as the audiotape.

However, much we want to argue about it, broadband is here to stay and the implications have yet to be fully materialised.

You're reading this on an on-line magazine. Ten years ago this was in its infancy. Book publishing as downloads via the Internet promised much but the impact was somewhat limited. People still wanted to retain paper books! However, with broadband far more readily available, attitudes are changing and more experiments are being performed.

Bookviewcafe is one such experiment. This is a relatively new website, a consortium of authors, with one thing in common and that is their desire to become more prolific via the Internet. The list of the authors follows. There are 22 and I have listed them all because listing a few would have been unfair.

Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff - Brenda Clough - Kate Daniel - Jessica Freely - Laura Anne Gilman - Christie Golden - Anne Harris - Sylvia Kelso - Katharine Eliska Kimbriel - Sue Lange - Ursula K. Le Guin - Rebecca Lickiss - Vonda N. McIntyre - Nancy Jane Moore - Pati Nagle - Darcy Pattison - Irene Radford - Madeline Robins - Amy Sterling - Jennifer Stevenson - Susan Wright - Sarah Zettel

The first thing you will notice is that they are all women. Now, the website does not make an issue of this fact. They don't even mention it so it is not being presented as some feminist organisation with views angled from a particular perspective. They are all women, they are individuals and, as far as I can read, they are all good authors.

On the website you will find a large collection of novels, novellas, short stories and poetry. I counted eight Science Fiction novels and seven novellas in the same genre but there are many other headings to choose from, including fantasy, speculative fiction, horror, mystery and romance. There is plenty of free material to keep you going for a long, long time. Yes, all the material is free to read.

This is a relatively new website but sometime in the future, certain new offerings of writing will come with a charge. At the moment they rely on donations. I'm not sure if they will introduce advertising but this is obviously a way to make things pay. The best way to evaluate their site is to look it up and read it for yourself. This will explain it much better than I can.

This isn't a website for new writers and they will not entertain submissions! They will not be read! Be sure you know this! As mentioned, it's a consortium, a new venture which hopefully will become lucrative.

Is this the way ahead for the future? I'm not really sure because all of this is somewhat new and it would take a brave person to state with certainty how matters will progress. It's a speculative venture and I would guess that the consortium members themselves are not really sure where it will all end up. However, at least they are trying and win or lose they have made a good effort. Who knows, in twenty years time this may be the way we read fiction?

Rod MacDonald

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