It begins, “Don’t read The Book.” All information, past and present, is controlled by The Book, a handheld digital reading device that exists in a paperless, sustainable, dystopian future that looks shockingly similar to our own. Among the multitude of Book lovers, we find Holden Clifford, a simple sprinkler fitter who is content with his small life. Through his favorite story, The Catcher in the Rye, Holden discovers an inconsistency between the digital version and a rare paper page, preserved in the form of “recycled” wallpaper in the bathroom of his favorite Chicago bar, The Library. His quest for answers leads him quickly beyond the page to discover a secret library of books and a man named Winston who explains the subtle, potent censorship of every story ever written. Equipped with excerpts from unedited novels, alongside a group of like-minded readers called the Ex Libris, Holden dedicates himself to freeing the world from the grip of the Publishing House. His heroic mission draws him hastily into a dangerous scheme to overthrow the Editors of The Book and save the last remnant of printed words left on the earth. As his mission unfolds and a haunting reality about the government’s capacity to outwit the minds of the public begins to reveal itself, Holden is forced to accept that the only way to succeed may be to sacrifice himself and the one thing they love more than life – books.
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THE BOOK is a work of dystopian fiction. I do not presume to know what the ramifications of digital books on the future of traditional publishing will be. I am only, in good, old-fashioned, make-believe, assuming what route the next generations will take, based on the current state of recycling, sustainability, the disregard of the typed or printed word, and online information databases like Wikipedia - where anyone can edit the truth.
I find it apropos that the completion of my story coincides (to the day) with the announcement of the iPad by Apple. If the progression of digital music is any indication, handheld electronic media devices (The Book, in my novel) will become popular with younger generations and reading will be preferred through this new medium.
My hope is that not only would my book gain appreciation as a cautionary tale against abandoning the written or printed word, but that it could potentially revolutionize the thinking of readers across the world. That they would feel a duty to themselves and their children to keep truth and freedom alive by continuing to read from printed books and passing laws to protect their content from censorship.
Of course, I do not wish for the e-book to fail. Everyone should rally behind such convenient innovation. My impetus for this story lies in the importance of the printed word and what it used to mean for us as human beings.
To quote my narrator: "We, the people, have learned that while there is danger in the printed word, so is there power. In the days of our ancestors, it stirred us to revolution. Words were honored and protected. They were spiritual and rehabilitating. But that was before recycling sustained the world and asphyxiated our minds."
To quote the ironically-late J.D. Salinger (deceased same date as the iPad announcement and the completion of this book): "Publishing is a terrible invasion of my privacy."
Thank you for your interest in my story. Ex Libris.
M. Clifford was born in 1978 in a suburb of Chicago. He grew up in a forest-encroached neighborhood called Northwoods, where the embers of his imagination were kindled during solitary treks through the wilderness. M. wrote his first book, 'The Bullet That Never Stopped', on his mother's rickety green typewriter at the prudent age of eight and three-quarters. While dating his wife in college, he wrote numerous stories, including novel-length additions to her favorite books, giving those beloved characters new adventures. In 2006, he began his career as an indie author. His debut novel, "The Book", is being taught in high schools as a companion to Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" and Orwell's "1984". His multi-genre collection includes The Muse of Edouard Manet, The Book, Felinian, Fertile Crescent, Propaganda, The Dracula Index, and #WhoIsLerosy. M. Clifford lives by the beach in Los Angeles with his wife and son. Website - http://www.mclifford.pub Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/m.clifford.author Twitter - https://twitter.com/MCliffordAuthor Goodreads - http://www.goodreads.com/MCliffordAuthor
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