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Gateways July 20, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in business, e-books, history, iPad, nostalgia, science fiction, sense of wonder, space, web & computers, writing.

The word has been anchored to a lot of different ideas. Gateway drug, Fred Pohl’s marvelous novel Gateway, a way to squeeze through into something . . . more.

Advocates of print-only publishing consider cheap ebooks a gateway to their beloved legacy publishing’s demise. Ain’t gonna happen, folks. Borders closing is a blow to print sales, but Amazon continues to offer print books and is actually expanding the market through their CreateSpace (and Amazon didn’t drive Borders out of business–zeitgeist technology and changing business models did). Dean Wesley Smith has great ideas on gift cards in bookstores to buy ebooks. This allows the bookstore to sell ebooks, in effect, without having to directly compete with Amazon. Technology is the gateway to innovation. And as the gift card idea shows, it doesn’t even have to be current technology.

The computer is the gateway to the entire world and this portal has become so small you can hold it in the palm of your hand as a smartphone or, as I prefer, an iPad. Other tablets are pouring onto the market but Apple is still king of the hill with their gateway products.

I wrote of gateways between worlds in my Cenotaph Road series and I am looking at other gateways in the small space firms popping up now that the door to space via NASA is closed as of tomorrow and Atlantis touching down for the last time. Small gateways, yes, compared to NASA, but the more the better. Not all will succeed but if some do, eventually we have a new gateway to the Moon and Mars and the stars. I won’t see it, alas, but it’s comforting to know that it is still possible and will be.

And in commemoration of what should have been the greatest gateway of all but fizzled out, join me as I remember back to July 20, 1969.



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