Aug 19, 2013

Reading Science Fiction Online

Last year I started making some of my science fiction stories available to read online. For example, The Foundations of Eternity now exists on its own website.

I have bad eye sight and I've never really enjoyed having to read large amounts of text off of a computer display. However, I'm not particularly picky about the fonts and formats used to display text. For years I've been rather dismayed by the default settings available for displaying text on the free blogging services that I have used and now I finally decided to modify how the text of The Foundations of Eternity is displayed.

I'm old school. I still like the feel of a hardcover book in my hands, a book in which the text was printed at a reasonable size. For example, my copy of Araminta Station has lines of text that run 4.5 inches across the page. The lines are spaced at almost six lines per inch down the page without much wasted white space between lines.

In contrast, the default settings for the blog that I am using to put The Foundations of Eternity online makes the text appear slightly smaller and there is a bit more white space between lines.

Here is a scan from the book (page 98):

Here is a screen shot that compares some text displayed using default blog settings (left) to some modified settings (right):

For me, if I have to read large amount of text then the larger text makes the going easier. Below I show the HTML code of the original blog template settings (top) and my new settings (bottom):

It seems strange to me that bloggers need to search down through some 300 lines of code to the place where you can change something as fundamental as the appearance of your blog's text. When I bought my first Macintosh computer almost 30 years ago it had software that let me effortlessly control the font sizes in documents. I can't imagine why the folks at Google don't provide a similar friendly user interface for the people who use their software.
Free blogging get what you paid for.

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