Hence it was great to read two interviews which I feel are worth sharing. They are by Darla Sands who posts a monthly blog on “Nightlight – Browsing the Bookshelf”. She was happy for me to mention these in my blog.
Her first interview was with Mel Keegan. I’d come across his name a few times as one of the pioneers of m/m fiction, but I hadn’t realized he’s behind the GLBT bookshelf.
Browsing The Bookshelf ~ My Virtual Sit-Down with a Free Speech Champion, the Talented Mel Keegan
If you’re not familiar with Mel Keegan, you’re missing out on some great gay reads in genres ranging from science fiction, fantasy, historicals, and even comedy! His characters will stay with you, I guarantee, as evidenced by the pop status of his heroes in the ongoing NARC series.
Darla first asks: How did you come up with the concept for such a welcoming, not-for-profit wiki site?
Mel K: Remember the AmazonFail debacle? It hit me like a load of bricks, early in 2009 … if the big engines (Amazon and Google specifically) wanted to, they could filter the GLBT literature community out of existence. It could become virtually impossible for a new reader (or writer, come to that), to find anything or anyone online. Every new reader would have to be referred by word of mouth. And this could happen so easily, if or when the “moral minority” gets hold of the puppet masters who control the massive engines.
There’s actually a good deal of evidence to suggest that Amazon, Google and the like are extremely sensitive to the same part of the electorate which drove the Prop 8 shambles. Now, I’m not saying that we need to be paranoid about a “1984” style future … but one would need to be remarkably stupid not to allow for the possibility of a kind of persecution by filtering, or discrimination by censorship, if you prefer the term. And once you’ve lifted an eyelid and acknowledged what’s possibly looming out there, just over this hypothetical horizon, how dim would one need to be to sit back and do nothing about it?
GLBT Bookshelf was born out of this speculation. I wanted to set up a community that was so large, so sprawling, so far-reaching, that – if you’re interested in gay or m/m fiction (be it as a writer, reader, artist, publisher, critic, anything), the chances of you *not* knowing someone who is already plugged into The Bookshelf are close to nil.
Here’s the reasoning: even if the master puppeteers behind the search engines did filter us right out, we have a safety net to fall back on. Right now, I should think there’s upwards of 10,000 people around the world know about the wiki. Over 1000 have registered in some capacity. Around 500 are active contributors. If we were able to triple these numbers, I’d be happy to rest on those laurels I was talking about a moment ago, because I believe our reach would then be so far, and spread so wide, everyone even marginally associated with this literary community would know someone already on the wiki.
As an example of do-it-yourself networking, where *nothing,* absolutely *nada* is controlled by any major engine, the Bookshelf is absolutely at the apex. The whole thing is member driven, right down to the dollars and cents needed to run it. Amazon and Google could pull the rug out from under the gay and m/m literature community tomorrow, and we’re already there as the safety net. We just need to expand further – and even though the rate of our expansion has slowed down since the initial rush, it’s steady. We’re sixteen months old; in another couple of years we’ll have arrived.
For the rest of the interview click on the title above.
The previous month she’d also posted a very interesting interview she did with Josh Lanyon who starts off responding to her question about how he sets his goals.
The full text can be read here: Josh Lanyon's Interview