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We live in a world ruled by fictions of every kind -- mass merchandising, advertising, politics conducted as a branch of advertising, the instant translation of science and technology into popular imagery, the increasing blurring and intermingling of identities within the realm of consumer goods, the preempting of any free or original imaginative response to experience by the television screen. We live inside an enormous novel. For the writer in particular it is less and less necessary for him to invent the fictional content of his novel. The fiction is already there. The writer's task is to invent the reality.
The Internet's been so great, and it's so nice to have fans do nice, elaborate websites, but I think the down side is some of the things... for real fans to go on and see that 90 percent of the information isn't true or to see pictures that aren't really me, or for them to be able to sell these things, that's one of the down sides, I think.
I think Amazon is the preeminent pioneer in building a new way of doing commerce: personalized, database-driven commerce, where the big value is not in the purchase fulfillment, but in knowing as much about a customer base of ten or twenty million people as a corner store used to know about a customer base of a few hundred. In today's mass-merchandising world, that's largely gone; Amazon is trying to use computer technology to re-establish it.