In a scene from the near future, a young boy uncovers an unusual object in the basement of his home and brings up to his mother.

Young boy: Hey Mom, what's this? I tried scanning it with my iPod, but Siri was useless and just kept making silly jokes without providing any information.

Mother: (Takes off her Google Glass and looks at the item.) Oh, that's a book, Liam. We use to, um, what was the word? Ah yes, read them. Before we all had neural implants and were jacked into the NSA's CREEP (Central Repository for Everything Ever Produced), it was something we did for enjoyment, for enlightenment, to learn, and to share.

YB: Wow! That's an interesting picture. What is this book about?

M: That's "Fifty Shades of Gray." It’s about, um, interior decorating and the importance of colors.

I don't know how near or far off in the future that scene may be, but let's face it: Books ain't what they used to be, and with the proliferation of technology, they are only becoming less so. Still, they remain vital, and Boston's legacy of major book publishers gives them a particular potency here. The fifth annual Boston Book Festival will help celebrate all things literary.

The three-day celebration will include panels, presentations, writing workshops, booths, poetry readings, and more. Participants will include well-known international and homegrown writers such as Salman Rushdie ("Satanic Verses"), Newburyport's own Andre Dubus III ("House of Sand and Fog"), and Joe Klein ("Primary Colors"), as well as scholars, critics, and commentators. A particularly intriguing presentation, and apropos for the Halloween season, will be Writing Terror: An Exploration of Fear. Panel members will include horror movie scribe Wes Craven and outed CIA operative turned author, Valerie Plame Wilson.

There will also be live performances, costumed literary characters, and exhibitors offering items such as, you know, books. You remember them, right? OK, you can return to your Google Glass now.

Boston Book Festival
Thursday, October 17 to Saturday, October 19, 2013
Indoor and outdoor locations in Copley Square
Most events are free