In addition to helping judge this year’s Open Laboratory science blogging anthology, I’m also the production editor (i.e., typesetting jockey). So as I go through, reading the entries in much greater detail than I ever would otherwise, I’m noticing a couple of things:
- All of the pieces are either about biology, or professional “life in science” stuff. Geology is represented this year by Kim’s piece and my own, and is actually in good shape relative to physics and chemistry. But that’s not saying much – the volume as a whole is very life-centric.
- Some of the pieces, um, I’m not sure what the other judges were thinking. What was useful and delightful in the ephemeral and hyperlinked medium of a blog will be faintly puzzling in print.
Maybe my brain is just myelinating into maturity, or maybe I’ve been hanging out with too many industrious go-getter friends… but my thoughts have turned to solving the problem, instead of just complaining about it.
And by “solving”, I mean putting together
a splinter group an anthology of the best of the geoblogosphere.
On a scale of dumb projects to crazy schemes, putting together a self-published blog anthology is eleventy-stupid. It is a doable amount of work for an unemployed person, but even so, it is way too much work for a vanity project. After all, an order of magnitude more people read The Igneous Petrology of Ice Cream when it was linked to on BoingBoing than will read it in The Open Laboratory, and I didn’t have to do the extra work of editing for print. A rational person would use the time and energy it would take to anthologize to write more great blog entries (and a really rational person would probably quit blogging and submit those great pieces to magazines).
But writing – even science writing – is not driven by rational impulse. Until Open Lab is out of my hands, I won’t be able to stop thinking about how I would pick and choose from the wealth of the geoblogosphere. The fact that this is likely to remain a fantasy project – on the same dusty mental shelf as that Did You Feel It? Facebook application, a couple of ideas for new blogs, and at least half a dozen quilts – is quite irrelevant.
My fantasy volume would make ideal optional supplementary reading for “Rocks for Jocks”, with enough unique perspectives that at least one entry would be sure to hook any curious mind. I think the marketing buzzword is “relatable”. I do not know if I have the l33t editing skillz required to pull off a collection of relatable geoscience blogging… but if such a collection were priced at $15-$20 for a 300 page trade paperback, would you buy it?
What would your fantasy anthology look like?