Brenda Cooper

Reading Recommendation: Good Daily Newspapers

The futurist and the writer in me adore the morning paper. Why?

It’s an industry that matters – read it online or get ink on your fingers.  But we need a free press, and while the blogosphere is a grand part of that, we need press that has some funding and staff as well.  Think of the blogs as our militia and our outcriers and the papers as the army.  Try to find one with independent ownership and a good investigative staff.  The Seattle Times comes to mind.  But then, it’s my own local.  There are surely other good ones out there.

We’re living in an age of science fiction coming true.  Read the paper, and you’ll find it all around you.  A few snips from today’s:

  • “A Bellevue vascular surgeon dreamed up a vest that thumps and prods you when you’re playing video games.”  Put a vest like that on a soldier in the real world. 
  • “Biotech and pharmaceutical industries … argue that anything short of financial capital punishment..”  Financial capital punishment.  That’s a term to re-use, and the article is lovely support for the scifi trope that big business in bad. 
  • “A defective tire-valve stem made in China killed a Forida driver.”  Now make that designed to fail and stop America from driving for two weeks.  Or , if you write humor well, make it hysteria with no substance, whipped up by media, and stop America from driving for two weeks. 
  • “The US military has disputed claims of detainee abuse, citing paperwork filled out by the [abusing] soldiers.”  Any military sci fi story can use that.  Or any contemporary military story.  Or a contemporary literary fiction piece about a detainee’s family. 

People who ask where writer’s get their ideas probably don’t read the paper.

The paper doesn’t make you wait until they’re good and ready to read the headline-teaser story.  I refuse to WATCH news short of a major disaster or something else I really need the visual footage for.

My last reason for the day?  I get exposed to news I wouldn’t hunt down on my usual trips through the world.  I listen to NPR and read mostly liberal and writing blogs.  I tend to sort for progressing views, and like libertarian and peace-loving and democratic viewpoints.  It’s good to get exposed to all sides of an issue.  How else are you going to make your villains seem real?

So I’m off to go read today’s paper.