We could also up the ante a bit. Today, for instance, a young writer fears only a savage Michiko Kakutani takedown and perhaps a book reading with an audience of fewer than ten.
But what if every negative review came with an electric shock to the author?
And what if author readings had tiger pits from which ferocious, carnivorous felines would be unleashed if the audience grew disinterested in the book at hand?
I suspect we’d find a much higher caliber of storytelling — and far fewer books from tragic young novelists about tragic young novelists. Don’t you?
Some electrodes hooked up to the testicles, set to administer a few jolts if the old Bookscan numbers aren’t up, that’ll learn ’em to nut up before they put pen to paper — or well-manicured finger to MacBook. (Huh, actually, there’s some merit, maybe.)