Ideas, eh? Ten a penny, but every now and then some of them just write themselves in your head same time you think of them - it's like they demand a certain approach, a certain plot structure. Frankly I'm shite at sitting down and finishing short stories, but like most people I've got a virtual library of the things sitting in various dusty textfiles on my laptop. It's a bit reminiscent of Jorge Luis Borges's idea of a collection not only of all the books ever written, but all the books nobody ever actually got around to writing, placed on the shelves of an infinite library.

And even though I know I'm highly unlikely to finish a lot of story ideas, even if I did start them, I still hoard them away with the best of them. Which is silly, in a sense, because if you're a writer then by definition you like to share your ideas, otherwise, why bother being published?

So I was reading the Observer the other day and came across this story, where a British economist has suggested the only way the city of Venice can save itself from rising tides ... is by turning itself into a themepark.

"Venice can no longer be run like a normal European city, he (John Kay) argues. Turning it into a theme park offers its only hope of salvation. Thus the gondolas of the Grand Canal could one day rival Space Mountain in providing free rides - and hour-long queues - to visitors from across the world.

'If the Disney Corporation was in charge of Venice it would not be in peril as it is today,' said Kay. 'I am not saying Disney should be given the job, however. My point is that an enterprise that is used to providing entertainment for the masses is best placed to save the city. At present, no one is running Venice. That is why it is dying.'

Under Kay's scheme, tourists would be charged an entrance fee of between €20 and €30 - roughly the fee to Disneyland Paris. Once inside, they would be able to visit Venice's glorious churches, restaurants and hotels, which would be run as franchises dispensed by the corporation in charge of the city."

Now just picture that scene; Venice owned and run by Disney. What an idea. Or ... Los Angeles bought lock stock and barrel by Warner Brothers. Or London, by Microsoft. And tell me, just how far fetched is this, really? Edinburgh's frankly halfway there, giant tourist trap that it is.

Where the hell is John Kessel (Good News from Outer Space, Towing Jehovah) when you need him, eh?


paul f cockburn said...

Actually, I think Edinburgh's already been bought by the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Anonymous said...

I think the universal library idea is Jorge Luis Borges, "The Library of Babel." He also has an essay on detective fiction and science fiction which is brilliant.

Gary Gibson, science fiction writer said...

Yeah, you're right, Evan, serves me right for being too lazy even to google the answer. Thanks!