ELLEN ULLMAN: reading from + discussing by blood, with jaron lanier

[youtube_video width=399 height=233]By Blood[/youtube_video]

[ Wed Mar 21 12 ]

Ellen Ullman read from her new book By Blood and spoke with Jaron Lanier in Berkeley’s Mrs. Dalloway’s. This event was co-sponsored by The Bay Citizen and ZYZZYVA, whose managing editor, Oscar Villalon, served as moderator.

Above is the entire evening. Click “Play” to watch all, “Next” to skip forward, or the small “Insert” screen (to the right of the video time) to see thumbnails and watch them directly. Below is a loose topic guide to each video:

  1. Introduction: Oscar Villalon introduces Ellen Ullman and Jaron Lanier
  2. Ullman “sets the scene” for the novel by reading select passages
  3. Conversation: Doug Engelbart and humanism in the computer tech world | Close to the Machine and “the triumphalism of nerd culture” | The deeper mission of literature in the future, or: How people connect with reality | The purpose of the single purpose instrument | Finding a voice and finishing a novel
  4. Conversation: Before you and the internet: the narcissism of our times | Synopsis and background: By Blood and the feeling of dread in early 70s San Francisco | The auditory elements in By Blood
  5. Conversation: Authors, their publishers, and social media | “The frenetic optimization of the world” | The devaluation of the expert
  6. Q&A: The Maoification of the internet | The evolving roles of the visual + the auditory in our culture | Research and reality: the importance of accuracy
  7. Q&A: The Social Network, Facebook + integrity (in coding and in practice)


  • Review in 300 charactersBy Blood is a page-turning psychological mystery without any crime that probes such heavy topics as obsession, insanity, heritage, and self-worth through an engaging story uncanny in its literary form. The writing is as sharp as the intellect it reveals, with a tension that boders on the manic.
  • Watch the trailer for By Blood
  • Read the reviews: LA Times | The Rumpus | Slate | NYT | The Bay Citizen | SF Chronicle | NPR | Kirkus | Publisher’s Weekly
  • Listen to Ullman read passages from the beginning of By Blood