Friday, 1 April 2011
Ebook Virus Warning
A new virus-form has been detected, infecting ebooks available for download onto the Kindle or reader-apps on Android based devices. The virus, dubbed the Hemmingway Virus after the Nobel prizewinning author Ernest Hemmingway, has already found its way undetected onto numerous devices after being unwittingly downloaded from Amazon and other sites distributing ebooks.
A spokesman for Amazon stated ‘Last night we were made aware that a number of ebooks had become infected with the Hemmingway strand. We are currently taking steps to identify which have been affected and deal with them as we find them.’
No reports of any Hemmingway affected books have been made yet for Apple’s ipad, but it is believed to be only a matter of time. In a statement Apple have said that they ‘are monitoring the situation’. Waterstones have also said that they are concerned that the Hemmingway strand may have already found its way into printed material, though so far they are playing down any rumours that Hemmingway books may have made it onto the shelves.
The Hemmingway virus exploits a feature in ebooks using the Iceberg theory as well as the economy of style loophole. Though no antivirus software is made for the Kindle, Amazon are working on a patch for the system that will provide additional verbosity in any infected titles. In the meantime it is believed that they have a large number of writers working round the clock to address the problem. If you are concerned that you may have inadvertently downloaded an ebook affected by Hemmingway, literary experts have advised that it may be identified by the following method:
1. Open the ebook and read the first page, then jump to page 100 (or a page near the middle of the book), and read that page also.
2. Check the meaning of the text, is there any evidence of understatement?
3. Now check the way the sentences are constructed on each, do the sentences show signs of succinct editing, the removal of redundant clauses, overused phrases or adverbs?
4. Is the style compelling, does it make you want to read on?
If the answers are all yes, then you most likely have an ebook that has been affected by Hemmingway. So far, the only method proven to deal with a book that has been affected by Hemingway, is to read it through from beginning to end and then put up a post advising friends and colleagues to do the same.