My new novella, Missorts Volume II, was published by the brilliant Situations on 20 November, as a companion volume to my permanent public soundwork for Bristol. While the Missorts app can only be experienced in the city of Bristol, where stories and music are activated by GPS technology in the locations where the stories are set, the novella can of course be downloaded and read anywhere.
Missorts Volume II is publshed by Situations as an ebook. If the novella had a back cover, the blurb might say something like this:
Paul is a postman working nights at Bristol Temple Meads, while Ronnie does the Missorts duty on the late shift. Oliver is a lecturer who makes an unexpected discovery about William Blake – and himself – in the archives. Jenny is a young woman seeking a kind of peace with the father who walked out on her when she was a child. Four lives that barely connect, but they have all been shaped by loves lost and letters found. Now they must each find their own way to write a reply.
Missorts Volume II is part of what Situations have described as a new kind of public art work, and part of achieving this is to make the novella available not only for free but also without restrictive Digital Rights Management software. The novella is offered as a DRM-free ebook in order that it will be compatible with the majority of ebook devices and ebook reading softwares. See www.missorts.com for the DRM-free files and a help page.
The Free Software Foundation’s Defective by Design campaign has been opposing what they call Digital Restrictions Management since 2006. This DRM-free badge is made available on their site. In the words of the Defective by Design campaign, ‘This label indicates that all files provided by the supplier come free of DRM and do not require any restrictive technologies.’
As a writer I necessarily collaborate with a host of institutions and publishers on all scales to bring my fiction to readers on a variety of platforms using traditional print and emerging distribution technologies, and have been doing so for many years now. This might mean that as well as being published by Faber and Faber, I’ll work with the Science Museum to offer a free giveaway. It might mean being commissioned by art and science organisation The Arts Catalyst or collaborating with Blast Theory for Channel 4. It could mean working with Forma and the artists Jane and Louise Wilson, or having a reader post a video online within hours of a live appearance. The variety and complexity of such relationships means that it would be impossible for me to say that all my work is available DRM-free, but I do make a variety of works available on a DRM-free basis on this site. The publication of Missorts Volume II — as part of a freely available public art work — seems a good point at which to reassert the importance of doing so where possible and to draw attention to the excellent work of the Free Software Foundation. To understand the philosophy behind the Foundation, you should think, as they put it, ‘of “free” as in “free speech,” not as in “free beer.”’