March 22, 2013 • 1:13 pm 0
February 15, 2013 • 11:12 am 0
Cory Doctorow‘s article on Tor/Forge echoes the remarks he’s been making on his soon to conclude book tour in support of Homeland.
I think it’s great that he’s focusing so much on what happened with Aaron Swartz, and also talking about the issues of depression and suicide, though I could wish that there was enough time on his tour to also talk more about the book, which is great, but also a slightly different proposition from Little Brother, the book for which it is ostensibly a sequel.
Homeland seems to take place earlier in time/history, and in an world very much more like our own than Little Brother, which was a cool, near-future dystopian reflection on trends in technology and the “war against terrorism.”
Homeland reads much more like one of Cory’s (excellent) articles or op ed pieces than did Little Brother – or any of his other fiction. It practically feels like non-fiction, and that’s both good and bad. It isn’t as satisfying a read, purely as a novel, as Little Brother, For the Win or Pirate Cinema. On the other hand, it’s extremely satisfying and effective as a political and social intervention. I want to go out and find Joe Noss and work on his campaign. I’m much more attentive to Alameda County’s attempt to buy drones than I might have been. I’ve been thinking about the issues it raises.
That’s great: Cory knows what he is talking about, and the issues that he is addressing are vital ones. But I still wanted a bit more fiction than I got. And along those lines, I certainly feel like the tween girl in the audience for Cory’s reading at The Booksmith on Haight Street last week: is there going to be a sequel to Pirate Cinema? I love Cory’s articles, op ed pieces, and his activism. I also love his novels. We were lucky over the past year to get three novels from Cory in pretty rapid succession: Pirate Cinema, Rapture of the Nerds, and Homeland. And based on his remarks about what he’s working on, we might continue to see something like that output in the future.
Written by Cory Doctorow
On January 11, a young hacker, hacktivist and entrepreneur named Aaron Swartz took his own life. He was 26, and I had known him since he was 14. He was facing 50 years in prison. His crime was to walk into an unsecured computer closet at MIT, near the Harvard campus where he had a fellowship, and plug a laptop into the campus network, with which he proceeded to download a large amount of paywalled academic journal articles from JSTOR, an online repository of scholarly works. It is widely speculated that he planned on making these available for free, though it may be that no one will ever know what he really intended.
Here’s what we do know: Aaron didn’t care about the freedom of information. Aaron cared about the freedom of *people* to make use of information. When I met Aaron, he was already someone…
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September 24, 2012 • 4:50 pm 0
The Doctor Who clip I wrote about earlier was taken down, but here is an even longer, better quality version of the same scene from “The Unicorn and the Wasp” – quite possibly the best scene ever in the Doctor Who reboot (though I am sure some would pick a scene with the young Amelia Pond, such as ‘fish fingers and custard‘):
And you can watch the whole episode online through Amazon instant video.
- The Unicorn and the Wasp – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
- BBC – Doctor Who – The Unicorn And The Wasp – Episode Guide.
- Amazon.com: Doctor Who: Season 4, Episode 8 “The Unicorn And The Wasp”: Amazon Instant Video.
September 17, 2012 • 4:33 pm 0
Two tasty quotes concerning our online life:
“have you ever wondered why discussions in chat rooms or instant messaging turn nasty so easily? Or wander off topic? It’s because the behavioural cues we use to trigger socially acceptable responses aren’t there in a non-face-to-face environment. If you can’t see the other primate, your ethical reasoning is impaired because you can’t build a complete mental image of them—a cognitive frame.”
We have information fatigue, anxiety, and glut. We have met the Devil of Information Overload and his impish underlings, the computer virus, the busy signal, the dead link, and the PowerPoint presentation.
September 13, 2012 • 9:23 pm 0
Wow – two of my favorite science fiction and technology writers in conversation…
Cory Doctorow: Charlie, do you remember what you had in mind when you wrote the opening passage to Jury Service? Were you explicitly thinking of Ken Macleod’s idea that the Singularity was like a rapturous, transcendant end-time for nerds?
Charlie Stross: Actually, no! I just had this stub of a story—only a couple of thousand words, if that—about this ordinary Joe, waking up in the bathtub after a raucous party, and finding a biohazard tattoo on his anatomy. It was one of a bunch of story-stubs I’d started and didn’t know what to do with. The “rapture of the nerds” idea was in my head at the time, but I was still working over the Accelerando stories when I wrote it. So it languished in development hell for a…
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May 4, 2012 • 8:45 pm 0
April 12, 2012 • 12:16 pm 0
March 26, 2012 • 11:12 pm 0
ITV Studios America and HDFILMS have announced plans to relaunch Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s 1970s TV series, Space:1999 — as Space: 2099. (A show called Space:1999 now would have to be about some routine shuttle mission, rather than about a moon base.)
The original series starred Martin Landau as Walter Koenig, Commander of Moonbase Alpha, and Barbara Bain as the base’s chief medical officer. The moon is blasted out of orbit by cataclysmic explosions at nuclear waste storage depots and the base’s surviving personal must each week cope with new dangers which their wondering home encounters.
The premise was far-fetched, to say the least, but it provided a platform for an often compelling science fiction series that was marked by, at least in the early episodes, a greater realism than Star Trek had provided – interstellar flying moon notwithstanding – and a look that seemed both futuristic and plausible, more indebted to 2001: A Space Odyssey than any other science fiction film or TV series.
It didn’t fare well in the ratings or with critics, though, and in the second season an attractive shape-shifting alien was introduce to liven things up. Unfortunately, she played to the show’s weaknesses more than its strengths, making it seem even less plausible and adding cheesy special effects on top of it.
But I was a huge fan of the first season, and have watched some of those episodes with pleasure in recent years, so I’m pleased and hopeful about this reboot. What they are going to do about the whole “moon blasted out of orbit” aspect, I have no idea. Recent discoveries of wandering planets throughout our galaxy might seem to lend some plausibility to the idea, but it’s difficult to imagine any realistic mechanism that would set the moon adrift — at interstellar speeds no less — but not destroy it (not to mention all life on Earth as well).
Further details on the reboot can be found on io9: Why Space: 2099 Won’t Be a “Dark and Gritty” Reboot of Space: 1999.
- IMDb – Space 2099 (TV Series 2013–)
- Space: 1999 – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Space: 1999 (TV Series 1975–1977) – IMDb
- Space: 1999 (30th Anniversary Edition Megaset) – Amazon.com
- Space 1999 Alpha Moonbase Model Kit – Amazon.com
- Space1999.org – Homage to the “Space: 1999” science fiction series
- Space: 1999 Net – a collection of fan-produced sites
- The galaxy may swarm with billions of wandering planets | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine
March 23, 2012 • 3:28 pm 0
(Before you say anything, that’s how you spell rebellion in Spanish.)
March 22, 2012 • 9:00 am 0
BIG Chief Studios Ltd. is proud to announce the Amy Pond 1:6 Scale Collector Figure, officially licensed and authorised by BBC Worldwide. Featuring a fully realised character portrait of “the girl who waited” as portrayed by actress Karen Gillan, authentically styled hand-tailored detailed costume, signature accessories and a partial TARDIS display base. (via Big Chief Studios.)
Given some of the comments on my previous post on the “pornification of Amy Pond” – not to mention the fact that this pose looks awfully close to that of a lady of negotiable virtue – I expect to see some interesting DIY outfits and accessories emerging pretty quickly.
January 22, 2012 • 9:44 pm 0