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In a future with one last bookstore, a boy falls in love with reading

In a future not too far off from our own, books are a distant memory and even e-readers have fallen out of vogue. But when a young boy's bright and noisy entertainment system fails in the short film The Last Bookshop, he discovers a quiet haven for stories and the man who loves them.

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As a work of science fiction, The Last Bookshop has some problems; notably, commerce still seems to exist, but in a way that somehow makes currency difficult to comprehend. But it is still lovely as a fable and as an exploration of mortality from the perspective of a man who views his life—and legacy—in terms of his love for books.

Richard Dadd and Dan Fryer directed this film for The Bakery, and it was filmed in various bookstores in Kent and London.

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[The Last Bookshop via Laughing Squid]

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DISCUSSION

pegritz
Derek C. F. Pegritz

I've never quite understood the whole "last bookstore" concept—a kind of with-a-whimper end to literacy to counterbalance the with-a-bang end of your endless Fahrenheit 451 variations—especially today, when anyone and everyone is proclaiming the Death of Reading and painting ebooks as some kind of watered-down Nintendo Gameboy version of reading. Text is text, whether it's printed on dead tree or displayed on a screen, and people still read. It's more than likely that they will continue to do so until some form of posthuman neurotechnology or upload virtuality makes it possible to live narratives as opposed to merely experiencing them vicariously through text.

I've been reading about the Death of Reading since the 1980s, and if all the predictions of decreasing literacy amongst younger generations (and older folks, too burdened with work to have time to read) I've seen were even vaguely true, we should all be looking at books right now wondering just what the hell these useless blocks of paper covered in squiggly lines were used for. Hell, when I was in grad school, in 1996—not even twenty years ago—I remember reading a study that projected that reading for pleasure would be extinct by 2013, killed entirely by a combination of video games, the internet, that old bugaboo television, and lack of leisure time.

Yeah, right—that sure happened exactly as predicted. A big part of all such prognostications, as demonstrated in the film above, is that young folks eschew reading in favour of mindless media consumption and video games. So why, then, is the young-adult reading market absolutely booming? Yes, 99% of kiddie-fic is absolute garbage—but 99% of everything written is and has always been garbage, and people keep gobbling it up, even if perhaps a slightly lower rate. There are still best-sellers that sell millions upon millions of copies.

Sure, print books are being overtaken by ebooks, but there will always be a place for printed books—collector's editions still sell like mad, and print-on-demand services are taking off—and who gives a crap if you're reading text on tree or text on vid? Stories will always, always be popular...and I don't see bookstores disappearing anytime soon.

Still, to bring it back to the film: nice little fable, but hackneyed all to hell. I swear I saw a version of this on The Twilight Zone years ago—or maybe on Spielberg's Amazing Stories.