... maybe they have no future, though John Updike thinks news of their passing may be premature: The End of Authorship. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
One passage intrigues me: "This is, as I read it, a pretty grisly scenario. 'Performances, access to the creator, personalization,' whatever that is — does this not throw us back to the pre-literate societies, where only the present, live person can make an impression and offer, as it were, value? Have not writers, since the onset of the Gutenberg revolution, imagined that they already were, in their written and printed texts, giving an "access to the creator" more pointed, more shapely, more loaded with aesthetic and informational value than an unmediated, unpolished personal conversation?"
What about before the Gutenberg revolution? Authorship pre-dates Gutenberg by quite a few centuries. Printing may have changed authorship, but it hardly caused it. The electronic revolution is also going to change it - probably already has. I wouldn't worry about it. Chaucer did pretty well without Gutenberg. I suspect he would have done just as well had he access to a printing press. And I suspect he would have done well with a computer and an online connection. In fact, we know he already has: Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog