Choose Your Own Adventure
In a previous blog, I discussed what kinds of books are popular and where the book market was heading:
However, I did not predict the future of books and decided to venture forth bravely. Let’s start with the basics. Are we going to see enormous changes? No. Authors will still create books in solitude and hope people enjoy reading them.
The categories may change, but readers will still flock to the classics: fiction, romance, adult, and politics. Perhaps western books will make a comeback? Or maybe readers will tire of a core category like romance. If this unlikely event occurs, will romance books disappear? Perhaps for a few years, but it will come back into the mainstream. Bell-bottom jeans came back into fashion three years ago. Fortunately, that trend went away again.
Will books go out of favor due to better media? Reading fills a critical entertainment gap. We like it when our minds invent visual entertainment from the written word. “The red barn has a dusty window.” Pure magic!
I am sure they will develop better reading technology. I predict the next evolution will be a better book vocalizer. Perhaps this technology will assign a voice to each character. Maybe computer James Earl Jones will read Harry Potter to me in ten years.
My big prediction brings back old technology. In grade school, “choose your own adventure” books were popular. The young reader read a few paragraphs and then had to decide. “Choose left, right, or straight. For left, turn to page 20, for right page 100, for straight page 150.” This writing style allowed the reader to guide the plot and get into the action.
An alternate approach to this technology is text adventure computer games like Zork or Oregon Trail. Both entertainment genres were popular in the ‘80s. I predict interactive books will come back in a modified form. Likely writing combined with artificial intelligence.
Will books and computer games merge? I think this already occurred. Many computer games have well-written plots, and this trend will continue.
What about using artificial intelligence to write a book? Here is a story generator you can use right now:
The problem with artificial intelligence is that it has limited creativity and long-term strategy. Let’s consider the movie Star Wars. It had a complex plot with detailed characters. George Lucas spent many creative years developing the script. Let us also recall that Star Wars contains humor and emotional bonds. Even a talented writer would find it challenging to create a story of this magnitude, and I think this level of quality will remain impossible for artificial intelligence.
One hundred years from now, people will still get the same joy from reading Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea.” In that time, a new classic author might appear who is just as talented. Yet, I think interactive stories might occupy as much as 30% of future entertainment. The question is: when will a choose your own adventure book be on the New York Times Bestseller list?

You’re the best -Bill
February 17, 2021

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