Plant: Zenith Rising, The|
Formats: eBook / Limited Edition
First Edition Release Date: 2000
From the Flap:
Letter from Stephen which accompanied the first installment:
Dear Constant Reader,
In the early 1980s, I started an epistolary novel called The Plant. I published limited editions of the first three short volumes, giving them out to friends and relatives (folks who are usually but not always the same) as funky Christmas cards. I gave The Plant up not because I thought it was bad but because other projects intervened. At the time I quit, the work in progress was roughly 25,000 words long. It told the story of a sinister plant—sort of a vampire-vine—that takes over the offices of a paperback publishing company, offering financial success in trade for human sacrifices. The story struck me as both scary and funny. Now it has occurred to me that it might be amusing to put it up on this web-site, in installments of 5000 words each…something like that, anyway. If this idea interests you, will you e-mail the website and say so? By the same token, if it sounds like a bad idea, will you tell me that?
I admit that I have another agenda. I was intrigued by the success of “Riding the Bullet” (stunned would probably be a more accurate word), and since then have been anxious to try something similar, but I’ve also been puzzling over issues of ownership when it comes to creative work. On one hand I applaud Metallica’s decision to try and put a few spikes into the big, cushy radial tire that is Napster, because creative people should be paid for their work just as plumbers and carpenters and accountants are paid for theirs. On the other hand, I think that the current technology is rapidly turning the whole idea of copyright into a risky proposition…not quite a joke, but something close to it. It took hackers only forty-eight to seventy-two hours to bust the encryption on “Bullet” (as Tabitha says, spending invaluable hours to obtain an item that sold for $2.50 and was at many sites given away).
Being something of an optimist about my fellow creatures, I have the idea that most people are honest and will pay for what they get. I’m therefore willing to try selling The Plant on an honor system. Episodes would not be encoded. If you wanted to download the stuff to your printer, you could do that. But you gotta kick a buck; a dollar an episode seems fair enough to me. If it seems fair to you, e-mail the website and say so. If it seems heavy, say that. My purpose here isn’t to skin anybody but to have some fun and try out a concept so old it may seem new; call it “honesty is the best policy.”
There’s only one small catch. If there are 50,000 downloads, I should get something like $50,000. Of course it won’t be that much, because there are always going to be cheaters and chintzes in the world (and for some reason they seem to live longer than the rest of us, God knows why). But I could live with a ratio of nine honest folks for every chiseler. Maybe even eight. But I do think you should be able to print what you read, and pass it on if you choose, the same way you might pass on a book you bought to a friend. You may not sell copies, however.
So tell me what you think, keeping in mind that The Plant is an unfinished work (although I reserve the right to continue the story, and to continue posting further installments, if the feedback is positive) and I can’t guarantee you an ending, either happy or sad. And I reserve the right to cease publication if a lot of people steal the story…but I just don’t believe that will happen. I mean, we’re talking a buck a pop here, right?