Blackstone audio has produced a professional, DRM-free audiobook of my 2003 novel EST, a novel about jet-lag, conspiracies, management consultants, crypto-contracts and P2P that William Gibson called “Utterly contemporary and deeply peculiar — a hard combination to beat (or, these days, to find)”
Warren Ellis called it “just far enough ahead of the game to give you that authentic chill of the future, and close enough to home for us to know that he’s talking about where we live as well as where we’re going to live; a connected world full of disconnected people. One of whom is about to lobotomise himself through the nostril with a pencil. Funny as hell and sharp as steel.”
As with my other books, Audible refuses to carry this title because I won’t allow them to use DRM on it. You can get it at Downpour, where all audiobooks are DRM-free. I’d really appreciate it if you’d share this with your audiobook-loving friends and encourage them to vote with their wallets for businesses that let artists choose whether their works should be locked down with DRM.
Paul Clip was inspired by my novel Eastern Standard Tribe and made a set of analyses of world population by timezone.
I cheated a little by using a simplifying assumption: if a country has multiple time zones, I divide its population evenly between them. This inaccuracy doesn’t change the fact that our top three are…
UTC+8: China and others
UTC+5.5: India and others
UTC+1: Western Europe and a good chunk of Africa
According to Mathematica, there are 39 different time zones ranging from UTC-11.5 to UTC+14. I wonder if anyone has visited them all? Now that would be a glorious adventure! :-)
HarperVoyager, my UK publisher, have just published British editions of the three novels they didn’t already have in print: Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, Eastern Standard Tribe, and Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town. There’s also a UK paperback edition of Makers out this week.
I’m going to be celebrating all these UK launches at Clerkenwell Tales in London on July 20, in an event with China Mieville, chaired by English PEN’s Robert Sharp. The event’s set for 7PM and space is limited (though attendance is free). Email Clerkenwell Tales to RSVP.
My second novel Eastern Standard Tribe has been published in German by Heyne, under the title Upload. As with the German edition of Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (published as Download), they’ve released the German text under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. Given that Heyne’s a division of the mega-publisher Bertelsmann, this is pretty cool news — especially considering that the CC release was their idea!
I did a recent interview about CC licensing and science fiction with the German net-show WatchBerlin, too.
Link to free text of Upload/Eastern Standard Tribe, Link to WatchBerlin episode
Update: There’s also an interview with me from the German netcase NetzPolitik: Link
Dr. Graham J. Murphy, a prof in the Cultural Studies and Department of English at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, has written a swell academic paper about my novel Eastern Standard Tribe. The essay, “Somatic Networks and Molecular Hacking in Eastern Standard Tribe,” was originally published in Extrapolation Vol.48, Issue 1 (2007), from The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College. Graham and his publisher have given me permission to put a PDF of the article up, too!
Art’s Tribal activities as an agent-provocateur are obviously Doctorow’s
satirical critique of a wired marketplace that regularly has the end-user tied to the whims of a hostile corporate culture. Admittedly, Art is initially part of the end-user problem because his loyalty to the ESTribe requires his work at V/DT to be founded on maximizing end-user hostility. It is not until he is in the sanatorium that he has an epiphany that his life has been wasted. After roof-Art has been hurt while trying to escape off the roof, he is introduced to Dr. Szandor, a medical doctor who stands diametrically opposed to the sanatorium’s psychiatrists. Unlike the mental-health practitioners who have repeatedly ignored Art’s claims of wrongful incarceration and have opted to put him on medications that leave him in a drugged stupor, Dr. Szandor actually talks to Art and learns a great deal about the man. A key topic of discussion is the problems with mental-health facilities. During those discussions Art begins to sketch out potential alternatives to the sanatorium system that has him caged, a theoretical facility he dubs HumanCare. Dr. Szandor is noticeably impressed with Art’s acute vision of HumanCare while Art feels “a familiar swelling of pride. I like it when people understand how good I am at my job. Working at V/DT was hard on my ego: after all, my job there was to do a perfectly rotten job, to design the worst user experiences that plausibility would allow. God, did I really do that for two whole goddamned years?” (179). Art comes to recognize that the last two years of his life at V/DT have been a waste because his agent-provocateur mission, founded on end-user hostility and corporate stagnation, has stifled what amounts to his innate skills as a molecular hacker.
Evo Terra and the Podiobooks folks have posted the podiobook of my reading of Eastern Standard Tribe, my second novel.
Podiobooks are free audiobooks that are delivered to your podcast player in installments. Instead of getting a full ten hours of audio in one go, the story is sent to you in manageable chunks, on the schedule you set.
The raw audio for this podiobook came from my podcast, but the Podiobooks people have taken my readings and cleaned them up, cut out the intros, and equalized the levels across all the installments. It sounds dynamite.
The timing on this couldn’t be better — this is just in time for International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day, when Internet creators post free material for sharing and enjoying.
What’s more, this book also has the distinction of having been banned by the Mayor of Boston from Boston’s free WiFi network (Boing Boing is also banned!) I’m especially proud of this, since part of the book is set in Boston. I’m lucky to have been censored by the best.
(Thanks, Evo and David!)
Inspired by the /shitlist chat command in my novel Eastern Standard Tribe, Ian modified his IRC client to add similar functionality:
I finished up a set of specially-crafted aliases for irssi that use the trigger.pl plugin to implement shitlist like so:11:59 -!- annoyingbastard [firstname.lastname@example.org] has joined #frijole-test
12:00 < annoyingbastard> im so annoying
12:00 < annoyingbastard> blah blah blah
12:00 < annoyingbastard> !list
12:00 < annoyingbastard> wtf no warez?
12:00 [notice(#frijole-test)] annoyingbastard added to frijole’s shitlist
12:00 < annoyingbastard> [shitlisted]
12:00 < annoyingbastard> [shitlisted]
12:00 -!- annoyingbastard [email@example.com] has left #frijole-test [“fucker…”]
Here’s the first installment of the podcast of my second novel Eastern Standard Tribe, a novel of political intrigue among high-tech, sleep-deprived management consultants. This is my most ambitious podcasting project to date — I figure it’ll take 4-6 months to complete.
I’ve found a half-brick that was being used to hold down the tar paper around an exhaust-chimney. I should’ve used that to hold the door open, but it’s way the hell the other side of the roof, and I’d been really pleased with my little pebbly doorstop. Besides, I’m starting to suspect that the doorjamb didn’t fail, that it was sabotaged by some malevolently playful goon from the sanatorium. An object lesson or something.
I heft the brick. I release the brick. It falls, and falls, and falls, and hits the little blue fartmobile square on the trunk, punching a hole through the cheap aluminum lid.
And the fartmobile explodes. First there is a geyser of blue flame as the tank’s puncture wound jets a stream of ignited assoline skyward, and then it blows back into the tank and boom, the fartmobile is in one billion shards, rising like a parachute in an updraft. I can feel the heat on my bare, sun-tender skin, even from this distance.
Explosions. Partial nudity. Somehow, though, I know that this isn’t the climax.
Today’s Doonesbury strip has a nice, EST-like riff on timezone tribalism.