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Authorial Issues

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Self-expression is a human ideal, but just as you can be a virtuoso with a hammer, you can be a hack with a paintbrush. On Bioephemera, Jessica Palmer questions the value of painted canvas when the painters “neither recognize nor are particularly interested in” the scenes they produce. In the case of Chinese technicians who imitate western styles for the American market, Jessica asks, “isn’t an artist’s active creative input, his or her emotion and imagination, or at least some degree of innovation, essential to create ‘art’?” Razib Khan considers literary issues on Gene Expression, saying it’s okay that novelist James Patterson employs a team of co-writers to ink in his many projects. “The idea of the author as the lonely genius is very powerful,” writes Razib, but “there’s no reason that a workmanlike collaborative writing process necessarily entails lowest-common denominator fiction.” On Confessions of a Science Librarian, John Dupuis compares what things an author can and cannot control in the publishing process. And On The Book of Trogool, Dorothea Salo shares the obstacles of authority control, when many authors may have the same name, and one author may have many.

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