625: Collections

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You know what really helps an existential crisis? Wondering how much shelf space to leave for a Terry Pratchett collection.
Title text: You know what really helps an existential crisis? Wondering how much shelf space to leave for a Terry Pratchett collection.

[edit] Explanation

Cueball enters, excited that he's managed to buy every one of author Terry Pratchett's Discworld books for his Kindle e-reader. Megan says that it seems pointless to her to build a Kindle collection.

Cueball interprets this to mean she thinks it's pointless to build a collection on an electronic device, perhaps due to the digital rights management software common on these devices which can (for instance) make it difficult to transfer the files if the device breaks.

However, Megan is actually commenting on the futility of building up any kind of collection at all, since nothing we do can change the fact that we're inevitably going to die. This view is in line with those advanced by the philosophical movement known as existentialism which theorizes that life has no deep, hidden meaning and hence even things that we personally feel are meaningful (like building up collections) will not change the outcome of life in the end. (A magpie is a bird traditionally thought to be drawn to collect shiny objects and bring them back to its nest.)

This doesn't bother Cueball, though, and in the title text he wistfully ponders how much shelf space he'd need to accommodate physical copies of all of Terry Pratchett's books.

[edit] Transcript

Cueball: I now have every Discworld book!
Megan: Eh. Building a Kindle collection seems pointless.
Cueball: Yeah, I know the DRM means I'll probably lose them someday.
Megan: No, pointless in general.
Megan: Sure, you satisfy deep magpie-like urges by building neat collections, but you still die alone.
Cueball: Sorry, sometimes I mistake your existential crises for technical insights.
Megan: Sometimes I mistake this for a universe that cares.
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Discussion

I can probably help Cueball (or whoever it is) out in his title-text musings, with an entire bookshelf (floor to ceiling) dedicated to Pratchett books in both Hardback and Paperback versions and related works by him and his collaborators. Apart, that is, from the totally separate bookshelf space reserved for the unabridged audio books of same - these mostly in cassette format, with just a couple of Audio CDs (a purchase error, at the time) and a couple of the newest in MP3-on-CD format (my reluctant nod towards progress). Now talk to me about how long magnetic and optical media can last, in relation to paper. Assuming I don't get hit by a house-fire, flooding, supervolcano, coronal mass ejection, etc. Hmmm... I wonder if I can get them carved onto stone tablets in a reinforced vault? 178.99.247.73 21:26, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

Microfilm is all you need. --Qwach (talk) 16:36, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
Digital data can be copied. Use it. Best way to protect information is having it stored at two different continents and periodically check that copies at both are readable. Wait. Actually, best way to protect information is to get it into some popular piece of software people are going to download in millions ... speaking about which, I wonder how many copies of fortune database of Terry Pratchett's Discworld related quotes is installed globally ... -- Hkmaly (talk) 01:16, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
Surely the title text is not just "musing about the shelf space" but wondering how many more Pratchett books will be written; #625 is from August 2009, and Pratchett announced that he had Alzheimer's in 2007/8, and on 2nd August 2009 stated that he intended to commit suicide before his disease "reached a critical point". Which would also suggest that he wasn't "gleefully" considering it, either. 141.101.98.241 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
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