Fahrenheit 2,577.2: When Silicon Burns

The year is 2033. Carl Blotts of New Ohio is calling for a mass book deletion to be held at the local jetpack landing zone this Thursday. The 56 year-old moon philosopher is demanding that all copies of Dr. Leo Hackett’s much talked about book “Mars Has No Marriage Laws” be deleted from computers and e-readers during a protest that is estimated to attract 7 real people, 19 robots, and 6.7 million online people via web cams.


"I want the good people of this planet, and the so-so people of the Moon to take their fingers and click 'delete' with all their might," said Blotts. "And then, when the dialogue box pops up asking, 'Are you sure you want to delete this item?' we will all press OK. And we shall press OK with great ferocity!" Blotts added that his followers would then need to empty their trash folder, and perhaps set fire to their computers, or at least restart them to make sure it was a clean deletion.


Leroy Tibitts has already said that he will skip work on Thursday to join in the deletion,  saying, "This is going to be fantastic. It's time we sent a message to the people of Mars." Tibitts has even taught his six-year-old daughter how to delete a file. "I don’t let her delete anything large. I’m not stupid. But she can delete small files, like low-res pictures of my cat. She’s good at it too. She’s going to have a blast on Thursday. We even copied the book to a different computer so that we can delete it twice."


Some in the community are not so thrilled. "I read about mass deletions, but I’d never thought there’d be one in my own town," said space farmer Allison Jackson. She is currently organizing a counter-protest in which people will save the book to an external hard drive, and then store that drive in a temperature-controlled room. There is also talk of using extremely thin slices of tree pulp to somehow transfer the text and preserve it in a physical form that doesn't require electricity or magic crystals, but details are sketchy.


Dr. Leo Hacketts simply laughs at the planned deletion party. "You can delete the file. But you can’t delete the idea. Besides the book exists on servers throughout the country. The only thing these loons are deleting is a shortcut icon that retrieves the book from the servers."


Blotts isn’t deterred. “If the book is saved on servers, then we will delete those servers.” When asked how he would accomplish this, Blotts said something about freedom of speech and pointed to a huge faded tattoo on his left arm that showed the iconic image of Arizona digging itself underground to form its own society called Cave World. "This is what it’s all about, man," said Blotts.


Cameron Algee, Blotts space lawyer, is defending his client’s actions, saying book deletion is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution and the Thirty-Fifth Adjustment of the Moon Pact. “Deleting a book isn’t a crime. It’s an expression.” He frowned energetically. "Like that," he said. Algee recently made headlines when he defended Melissa Jones, a young woman who deleted a jpeg of the American flag on the steps of Capitol Hill.  "Deletion is a natural act, like secretion, excretion, and all the other cretions," he said. "Do you want to live in a world where someone can say whether you can or can't accrete or be discrete?" He paused. "I didn't think so," he concluded.



Dan Bergstein--what can we say about his duckpins skills, when his scores speak so forcefully for themselves?

April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.