Misc

And now for some good news

May 20th, 2014  |  Published in Misc

Smashwords (where I have a bunch of stuff) has just announced that it has partnered with Overdrive (the company that most libraries use for ebooks). This is awesome on a number of fronts. First of all, authors on Smashwords will have the opportunity to sell to libraries and get exposure through them. Second the publishing industry has been very reluctant to sell ebooks to libraries (and when they did, often selling them at exorbitant prices) and it appears that libraries will be able to purchase from Smashwords at pretty much the list price (although there is a price floor of $1.99 due to Overdrive). This move will hopefully add some leverage to the library side of things (after all, they do have budgets for procuring new material and it is more difficult to set one-sided terms if there is an alternative). Finally, this will allow libraries to better work with the independent and local community. All in all, good news.

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What a thoroughly odd day.

May 10th, 2014  |  Published in Misc

Today was strange. I was tired all day–exhausted, really–and kind of cranky. On top of that, ShoStoWriMo seems to be fizzling this year, with participation much lower than would be expected from the initial response (I have some ideas on what I can do better next year, though). Finally, I had trouble finding any short stories to listen to at  work (from the Clarkesworld and Escape Pod podcasts) that did anything for me.

On the other hand, today was excellent. I finally got to the point in my follow-up to “There Are No Words” where I get to explore Calvin and Hobbes from the perspective of a guy in a post-literate society (everyone has computers in their heads, among other things). Also, I’ve been thinking again of doing a Kickstarter for Caldera (to have it edited, get it printed, and commission some art), which has a distinctly optimistic feel to it.

In short, I was depressed, but had a blast writing on my lunch break and am optimistic about doing something more with one of my favorite stories. What a weird day.

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Analog

August 7th, 2012  |  Published in Misc

I’m not quite sure what to call this. It’s not poetry and not really prose. In any case, I wrote it when my friend Mike left town, and I think that you may enjoy it:

Analog

They say that we now live in a digital world, that reality is being subsumed by a tidal wave of bits so massive that it will one day swallow the  entire universe. They believe that this seemingly perfect map that is coming into being will one day surpass the original in scope, detail, and quality.

It cannot.

For in its precision, it forgets that though you may leave, you take us with you just as we keep some small part of you here. In a digital world, you cannot be both here and there, and yet there you are, and here you are.

So farewell, friend, and remember that the world was, is, and always will be, analog.

I found it!

July 1st, 2011  |  Published in Misc

A few years ago, while at Toronado in San Francisco, my wife ordered a beer. She hated it, and so it got passed to me. It was tangy and sour and vinagery, probably the best beer that I have ever had. The only problem is that I didn’t quite catch the name, and didn’t think to write it down while I was there. I searched, but no luck. I gave up on finding the beer, thinking that it was some French import or something.

Fast forward a couple of years. I’m reading the comments on Reddit about a site talking about the best American beers and lamenting the fact that only a couple of the beers on the list are from Portland, which is sort of the hub of Micro-Breweries. Lo and behold, someone points out that PBX hasn’t come out with a sour beer that could compete with New Belgium’s La Folie. A quick google search later, and I found it.

It is a good day. Thank you Reddit!

Pick of the Week

October 29th, 2010  |  Published in Misc

My favorite thing about my job is that I get to see just about every book that my store carries, and occasionally I find something really cool. Today, I pulled out a copy of The Unidentified by Rae Mariz. The snappy cover and Cory Doctorow blurb got me to take a closer look, and it looks awesome. If you liked Little Brother (it’s awesome and you can download it for free, so if you haven’t read it, you should) or Jennifer Government, this might well be the book for you. I’ll let you know when I read it next week.

October Reading List

October 8th, 2010  |  Published in Misc

Current:

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer – by Lish McBride – which is very good (reminds me a little of Try Not To Panic), I’ll write more when I finish it in the next couple of days.

Breathers – by S.G. Browne

Planned:

Logicomix

Das Capital, Volume 1 !!! (I plan on it being awesome, unless it kills me).

Anyway, enough dwaddling, time to go make some Gai Ga Prow.  Mmmm.

Power

May 14th, 2008  |  Published in Misc, Society, writing

I remember being young (no older than eleven, as my parents’ divorce was still in court) and wondering what power was.  I was thinking about it in a purely one-on-one sense, if someone told me to do something, what was it that made me do it?  This led to the question of whether someone could force you to do something.  I didn’t have an answer for it then, but while I was reading an article about the lies that we tell our children (which is a good read, by the way), something clicked.  No matter the situation, power is an agreement.  Whenever someone (or a group) instructs you to do something either directly or indirectly, you have a choice.

The parties in the agreement are not always equal, for example when the government tells you to pay your taxes, you can refuse, but you will probably go to prison.  The natural reasoning that comes out of this is that society is held together by a bunch of agreements, a sort of social fabric.  This in turn brings up several issues.  First, our society is much more stable than, say Roman society, with relatively few coups and such.  My only thought is that perhaps as society is more complex than it was then, that the social fabric is more resilient than it was back then (or possibly that the coups are simply more subtle).  The second is that there must be a limit to the resiliency of the social fabric.  For example, with measures such as the PATRIOT Act, the agreement between the government and it’s constituents has been severely altered.  The government has removed it’s responsibilities to its citizens while doing nothing to relieve citizens’ responsibilities.

The theme of power and responsibility is one that I am quite fascinated with, and that I have started to explore in Uprising, but it feels good to make it explicit.  For those of you who are more familiar with the philosophical canon than I am, I apologize for going over topics that have doubtlessly been covered at great depth by better minds than mine.

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Publicity

May 11th, 2008  |  Published in Fiction, Misc, Publishing, Society, writing

Recently I have gotten a job with a bookstore, one of the big chains.  So far, it has been great to be just surrounded by books.  On the other hand, I have been able to see first-hand how many books get sent back.  I had heard about the numbers (only 5% of published books being profitable and whatnot), but seeing the sheer volume of books that are returned is something else entirely.  Although I feel some of this could be avoided by actions on the publishers part (advertising books other than Harry Potter, for example), part of it also has to do with the shift towards digital fiction, a shift which has been suppressed by the publishers.

With digital fiction, the means of publication is very simple, just about anyone can create a text file, a PDF, or an e-book (although that takes slightly more work).  The means of distribution is also very simple, once its on the net, anyone can access it.  The problem now is the means of publicity.  It matters not how good your fiction is if no one can find it.  Personally, I envision a dedicated Reddit style site that people submit fiction to, but right now there isn’t one (the best that I have been able to find is the scifi subreddit for genre works).  The other side of this is that authors need to start making an effort to read fiction online, to help bootstrap things.

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Distances

May 10th, 2008  |  Published in Misc

You know how distances seem longer when you aren’t familiar with the route?  I guess that since your brain has no way of gauging your progress, it seems like every part of the trip is the beginning.  In any case, imagine if you were a roman legion, or a European Crusader, traveling across the known world with nothing more than a rolled up map.  What sort of effect would that have psychologically?

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Free NIN Album

May 6th, 2008  |  Published in Misc, News

For those of you who haven’t already heard, Trent Reznor has released a new album, entitled The Slip. On the site, Reznor said, “as a thank you to our fans for your continued support, we are giving away the new nine inch nails album one hundred percent free, exclusively via nin.com.” I haven’t listened to it yet (still downloading), but of course I think that this is quite cool. There will be a CD released, and I think that part of this will be to gather data on how downloads affect sales, but for now, I’m just happy for the new music.

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