When we got the PS3 we stopped buying DVDs and started buying Blu-ray discs. Along with that shift came a change in the way we selected which movies to buy. We might buy a DVD based on very good reviews from friends, or the director’s history. BDs are expensive, so we had to already know we liked the movie before buying it on BD. But then we got the Netflix subscription, and we stopped buying movies altogether. An increasing number of movies can be legally streamed online either through Netflix or Hulu, and the ones that can’t we can get within a day or two in the mail. Having access to practically every movie within 48 hours is good enough for me. As a general standard for access to data that’s unacceptable today, but movies just aren’t so critical.
I’ve talked here before about how the DVR changed the way we watch TV. Not just in the obvious ways of skipping commercials and time-shifting, but more importantly in that we no longer miss episodes. For each show we watch we see every minute of every episode, and we watch them in order. The iPod and podcasts have done the same thing for talk radio. Instead of catching bits and pieces of shows you can listen to every minute of every show now.
I don’t like to jump in to the middle of any sort of series. I want to start at the beginning and watch, read, or listen in the order the creators intended. I’ve never seen 24 or Prison Break, but eventually I will order them on Netflix, start with episode one, and work my way through.
Right now I’m working on Orson Scott Card’s Ender series. Taking this series of books on from the start and proceeding through chronologically presents some challenges. Card has jumped around (sometimes thousands of years at a clip) with this series. My original intention was to read them in the order Card wrote them in, but I think I may have gotten a bit off track. Here’s the order I’ve read them in:
Speaker for the Dead
Children of the Mind
“Mazer in Prison”
A War of Gifts
Shadow of the Hegemon*
And from here my plan is:
Shadow of the Giant
Ender in Exile
* – I’m about halfway through Shadow of the Hegemon right now, and it strikes me that this is my favorite of the Ender books so far. There’s a lot going on here and it’s all very interesting. There’s a noticeable difference in the feel of each of the Ender books. I would say Speaker for the Dead is probably my least favorite so far.
This is interesting to me because in other large series I’ve read recently, such as Harry Potter or The Wheel of Time I started with book 1 and went clear through to the end of the series with no interruptions from other books. In both of those cases the switch from book to book wasn’t noticeable at all – it just felt like one giant book. There is no way I could pick a favorite or least favorite HP or WoT book.