The Whole “Mark Reads The Android’s Dream”
Posted on October 19, 2013 Posted by John Scalzi 14 Comments
My wife is back from a week-long trip to California and I have novel writing to do, so: I’ll be scarce around here over the weekend. To keep you amused may I suggest Mark Reads the Android’s Dream, in which Mark Oshiro both reads out loud and makes comments on (both in the videos and in blog posts) my novel. It’s a unique way of having a reading experience of my book, because Mark is not exactly an unengaged reader, and the chapter-by-chapter blog post analysis of the book is both fun to read and full of good, useful insight into the book. I really enjoyed it and think you will too.
Please note that if you have not yet read the book there will be spoilers. If you have read the book, you’ll enjoy his reactions to key scenes in the book. I know I did.
That seems to be a violation of copyright…
Obviously, you’re fine with it (and that’s a good thing), but I’m curious, what keeps audible.com (which is now Amazon, I guess?) from going after him?
Yeah I tried his videos once but was completely turned off by his bigoted and intolerant tattoos.
Audible would own only the rights to the Wil Wheaton version, unless they paid whomever owns the performance rights for exclusive rights. Mr. Scalzi or whomever he has sold the rights to would have the copyright beef. But if Mark Reads asked for and was granted permission? It’s all good.
I watched the videos as he posted them and OMG LOVED THEM SO MUCH!!! His reactions to various scenes, especially with Takk and Archie… well, it’s no wonder I think he’s awesome sauce. Oh, AND THE FEELS!!!
@friartuck… during the livestreaming for the Harry Potter Alliance Indiegogo fundraiser, Mark pointed out and explained his visible tattoos. I didn’t find anything bigoted or intolerant in them at all. I’ll grant that some of them MIGHT need that explanation to not seem bigoted or intolerant to some folks, so there’s that.
Those of you who have not read the book, do it now. It’s Scalzi’s best work to date.
Because Mark does read the entire book out loud (that is, if all of the chapters are commissioned – for Android’s Dream, for example, Chapter 6 was not commissioned), it probably isn’t covered under Fair Use. However, to my knowledge, no author has complained about Mark doing his thing – most of them seem to really enjoy it. I know of some authors that have encouraged Mark to do more of their works.
Perhaps I don’t know the symbolism in the tattoos that @friartuck is referencing, but I don’t see how they could be considered bigoted or intolerant? And if you’ve spent any time at all as a part of the Mark Does Stuff community, it’s pretty clear that Mark is about as far away from bigoted or intolerant as you can get.
With regards to Mark Reads and copyright:
1. In this particular case it’s not an issue because (obviously) I have no problem with Mark using the book in this manner and in fact gave him my blessing to do it when I saw him at Worldcon this year. I don’t see it as an economic detriment to me; I don’t really think people will use his performance as a substitute for the book (or the actual audiobook, which is read by Wil Wheaton). If anything I suspect it’ll get some of his fans who would not otherwise know of me to read the books I write (especially because Mark, to this point at least, has enjoyed the books).
2. I think there’s some fair use argument to make, in that the readings may have enough of Mark’s own contributions to be transformative, and that his takes on them are sufficiently critical to merit protection that way. I also think that would be a hard uphill climb, given how much of the text Mark uses (i.e., something close to all of it).
3. But honestly, knowing Mark even the little that I do, I would imagine that if he knew a writer were upset by him doing a Mark Reads treatment, he’d take that into account before it became a legal case.
Loved watching him struggle to get the first line out, but he does get in the way of the story, imo. Still, worth a watch now and then.
I wouldn’t use his version of the works as a substitute for reading or listening to a story for yourself. However, if there’s a book that grabs you, the kind that you want to watch someone else read because you know it will grab them too and you want to share the experience with them, definitely check out his blogs and videos. If you don’t see the book you’d like to experience that way, ask him about it and it may get put on his list. If you’re not sure you want to experience a novel that way, I at least recommend you check out his reading of The Shadow War of the Night Dragons by our esteemed host. Even if you decide his approach is not for you, there’s great entertainment value in that video.
I just about died watching him start the book. That was absolutely precious. I appreciated the book before, but that was a new height of watching someone else go Whut?!
I am one of Mark’s fans who bought this book just because he was reading it (although I had already read much of Scalzi’s work). Once I finished it, I passed it to my husband, and we had some great conversations about the ideas and events. He’s now reading Redshirts, and I am carefully avoiding letting spoilers slip out.
Mark’s blog posts are often insightful, and his videos are usually entertaining. It’s pretty cool to see how most authors support and embrace his treatment of their books.
Certainly Tamora Pierce has no problem with MarkReads – she’s had me put a link to his site up, and engages in the Comments threads not just on her books, but on books by other authors she likes as well.
I discovered MarkReads when you first linked to it, and I discovered that he was also reading his way through Tamora Pierce’s Tortall series, which are books that have had a special place in my heart ever since I read them when I was young (and not so young). She posts comments sometimes, and it’s so great to see her engage with the people discussing her books.
Regarding Mark’s tattoos, I have read/watched enough of his stuff to know that he’s put up with bigotry and intolerance his entire life, based on both his race and sexuality. As another commenter here said, he is one of the LEAST bigoted and intolerant people whose work I’ve enjoyed.
I read the intolerant tattoo comment (@friartuck) to be loaded with sarcasm. Only then does the comment make sense.