The Morphing, Man-Munching Mudmobile of Mile 81

Nom nom nom...

A couple days ago, I bought the latest novella release by Stephen King. Titled Mile 81, it’s an ebook-only release. I downloaded it to my Kindle app for Android.

Reminiscent of King’s Christine and From a From a Buick 8, this story contains some vivid, creepy imagery and features a car. I read it in a darkened room – just by chance, not by design.

To be honest, I found myself just a tad nervous as the story unfolded. One thing I love about King’s writing is his attention to characters; he fleshes out both major and minor (read: expendable) characters. In just a few spare sentences, he makes you care about these people and dread for their futures. There is plenty for them to dread here.

Unlike those who speed by on the turnpike without a thought, several good Samaratins pull off into the abandoned Mile 81 rest area to aide what they think is a stranded motorist, or, as the case becomes, several stranded motorists.

The tension builds as the story progresses, but left me feeling let down. For all the build up, I thought the ending was pretty simplistic. Then again, it IS a novella, the literary equivalent of a half-hour sitcom. Still, though it was a short ride, it was a decent one.

I would love to see this car described in more detail — maybe in a subsequent book? We never find out where this entity went, so something tells me we’ve not seen the last of the Morphing, Man-Munching Mudmobile.

For under three bucks, get it for yourself and let me know what you think!

Libraries, ebooks and readers

While watching a segment regarding the electronic revolution and the publishing industry on CBS Sunday Morning today (Out of Print, the Written Word Considered), something occurred to me. Some public library systems already loan electronic content like ebooks and audiobooks through a partnership with services like OverDrive, but they require reader software and the books must be read on a laptop or desktop computer unless you have a supported mobile device*.

What I’d love is for libraries to get together with one of the mainstream ebook readers – something like the Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader and the Barnes & Noble Nook. If they could get a bulk discount sufficient enough to make reselling the devices profitable, this could serve as a source of additional funding for libraries.That’s a big “if”, though, since even at wholesale prices they’re likely to be pretty dear in price.

The Nook and Sony Reader both allow for ebook loans through the OverDrive system used by libaries who offer this service.

At the least, though, accessibility to loaned content really needs to be out there for mobile users. There are tons of public domain books available for free download, but I know I’m not alone in wanting access to bestsellers and other contemporary content. I know I’d use it a lot since I like reading on my T-Mobile G1 phone.

What are your thoughts on publishing, electronic publishing and libraries? Any news you have on these fronts is very welcome, so please post comments!

* I just saw that OverDrive does, indeed, support some mobile devices — including Android! I’m downloading their beta and I’ll write more about it later (if I don’t, remind me!).