My three historical novels, The Wealth of Jamestown, The Wealth of Virginia, and Blackbeard’s Legacy, are newly published as of the end of August. In today’s universe that requires a functioning website—one that will give readers information and ideas about the books and me, and allow them to order either print or email copies. Since I have multiple books, the website carries my name, www.bmclennan.com

The website now lives somewhere in the abstract electronic universe we call the internet. As far as I know, it doesn’t yet have anything to do with the cloud.

My website has a column entitled “Blog” where I can leave items like this one. I’m old enough to remember writing real letters and filling out paper questionnaires with real check boxes. Sometimes the check boxes required No. 2 pencils. I used to write essays, long-hand. Sometimes my hand hurt as a result. When I took a final exam for a university course I had to write my name on the cover of a small blue book in which I wrote my final answers, in a supervised, strictly controlled time frame. Life was so slow and careful then. My IPAD could have done my final exam in half the time, but I’d have expended much less thought.

The world of the mind today doesn’t require thoughtful people, only their zaps from electronic devices. Facts are so easy to find and download. In this kind of world, who needs to know anything? On the other hand, doesn’t this make us prisoners of the machine? How much fun is shopping without retail? We can see things on-line that we like, but we can’t try them on. How does the machine help you make sense of a variety of possibilities? A good sales person’s advice can be valuable, like a second opinion.

When I blog, some idea has caught me. Ideas can’t be easily downloaded from machines; you need to know where you are going and where you want to go with them. Ideas need to be considered thoughtfully. Pros and cons must be weighed, accepted, and rejected according to some standard. Getting lost in the internet doesn’t help.

Not only are facts on the internet easy to obtain. Anything digital can be kept and stored. All digital images belonging to everyone who ever took a photo can be placed on the cloud, available to anyone. Will this improve photography? Will anyone look at what they’re putting on the cloud? If it’s easy, you don’t have to think about it. In a world stuck on a cloud, nobody has thought about anything. In this kind of world, fake images are as good as, or better than, real ones.

The cloud won’t contain any letters, those emotional and rational thoughts and statements that people struggled to put in writing in their best penmanship. It will just hold tweets and re-tweets. Where will our history and values come from, when everything we see and know migrates to the cloud?

Well, dear reader, please visit my website. It contains no fakery. My novels are full of imagination, but the characters are real people in real historical circumstances. They came from this earth, not a distant universe or cloud.