“Wonka has retired,” he said. “I'm Bucket. What can I do for you? Factory tours are Saturday from noon Saturday to eleven a.m.”
“You mean from eleven to noon?”
“No, we get you on your way before you start. We don't have time to waste on tours. But they can't be avoided. It's a solution we can all live with.”
“I don't understand,” Lila Mae said. There really was nothing to understand, she knew. She could see where the elevator was. She recognized the gearbox in one of the towers. She understood that was where the elevator was, but it was most unusual because it went up, but there was nothing to go up into. It was an exposed elevator shaft. Just the shaft and no floors.
In the talk after the reading, Briggs discussed his work for Publication Studio, a Portland-based "sustainable publication" project. Briggs was most pleased with Publication Studio's ebook annotation service, in which people can comment directly on the passages of an ebook with other readers, starting a conversation that lives on the virtual page, allowing the readers to discuss, socialize, and "live," as Briggs put it, "inside the book." The conversation, which covered ebooks, Espresso Book Machines, and book jacket design, was intelligent and very accepting of new ideas. It was a hopeful night for readers.
Briggs's new novel, The Strong Man, is available from Publication Studio now. Pilot Books' Small Press Fest continues all month long.