/ / News, Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town

Update: I’ve just been notified that this is the Schuler’s Books in Eastwood — not the one in Meridian Mall!

Tomorrow night, I’m doing my last Michigan appearance for the foreseeable future — a signing and reading at Lansing’s Schuler Books and Music (Meridian Mall) at 7:30PM. Last night’s event at Archive Bookshop went swimmingly, despite the torrential rains, and attendees got to hear a little of “Themepunks,” the novel I’m working on for next year. Tomorrow I’ll read from “When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth,” a novella I’ve been working on here at Clarion. Hope to see you there!

“Maybe I can fix it from here,” he said. He could login to the UPS for the cage and reboot the routers. The UPS was in a different netblock, with its own independent routers on their own uninterruptable power-supplies.

Kelly was sitting up in bed now, an indistinct shape against the headboard. “In five years of marriage, you have never once been able to fix anything from here.” This time she was wrong — he fixed stuff from home all the time, but he did it discreetly and didn’t make a fuss, so she didn’t remember it. And she was right, too — he had logs that showed that after 1AM, nothing could ever be fixed without driving out to the cage. Law of Infinite Universal Perversity — AKA Felix’s Law.

Five minutes later he was behind the wheel. He hadn’t been able to fix it from home. The independent router’s netblock was offline, too. The last time that had happened, some dumbfuck construction worker had driven a ditch-witch through the main conduit into the data-center and Felix had joined a cadre of fifty enraged sysadmins who’d stood atop the resulting pit for a week, screaming abuse at the poor bastards who labored 24-7 to splice ten thousand wires back together.

Where: Schuler Books and Music, Meridian Mall, 2820 Towne Center Blvd., Lansing, MI 48912, (517) 316-7495

When: Thursday, July 7, 7:30PM

/ / News, Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town

In preparation for my July 24 in-game virtual booksigning in Second Life, the Seocnd Lifers held a competition to design a virtual copy of my novel. The winner has just been announced and the virtual text is now freely available in-game. It’s a really sweet virtual artifact, too, designed by Second Lifer Falk Bergman.


In a particularly brilliant addition, Falk has created a script which will enable Cory to autograph the Second Life edition his novel. To do that, readers just have to bring their copy of his book to the event, and set it on a small table in front of Cory. To autograph it, Cory simply has to mouse-click the book, which causes a digitized picture of his real signature (with author’s dedication) to be superimposed on the cover. So signing the virtual edition of his book requires about as much effort as it does when he takes pen in hand to autograph the tree-based version.

Falk’s attention to detail is staggering. To recreate the cover of the hardback edition he brought Caliandris Pendragon onto the project, to painstakingly create an avatar resembling its exotic young woman in blue jeans. (Caliandris’ attention detail is also staggering: before fashioning a tribute to Dave McKean’s cover art for Someone, she led the team that created Numbakulla, a tribute to fantastic adventure games like Myst and Riven. The Second Life game is still in operation, thanks to a dedicated fan base, some of whom actually offered to help subsidize the monthly server costs of the island it’s based on.)

(Thanks, James!)

/ / News, Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town

Update: I’ve just been notified that this is the Schuler’s Books in Eastwood — not the one in Meridian Mall!

Tomorrow night, I’m doing my last Michigan appearance for the foreseeable future — a signing and reading at Lansing’s Schuler Books and Music (Meridian Mall) at 7:30PM. Last night’s event at Archive Bookshop went swimmingly, despite the torrential rains, and attendees got to hear a little of “Themepunks,” the novel I’m working on for next year. Tomorrow I’ll read from “When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth,” a novella I’ve been working on here at Clarion. Hope to see you there!

“Maybe I can fix it from here,” he said. He could login to the UPS for the cage and reboot the routers. The UPS was in a different netblock, with its own independent routers on their own uninterruptable power-supplies.

Kelly was sitting up in bed now, an indistinct shape against the headboard. “In five years of marriage, you have never once been able to fix anything from here.” This time she was wrong — he fixed stuff from home all the time, but he did it discreetly and didn’t make a fuss, so she didn’t remember it. And she was right, too — he had logs that showed that after 1AM, nothing could ever be fixed without driving out to the cage. Law of Infinite Universal Perversity — AKA Felix’s Law.

Five minutes later he was behind the wheel. He hadn’t been able to fix it from home. The independent router’s netblock was offline, too. The last time that had happened, some dumbfuck construction worker had driven a ditch-witch through the main conduit into the data-center and Felix had joined a cadre of fifty enraged sysadmins who’d stood atop the resulting pit for a week, screaming abuse at the poor bastards who labored 24-7 to splice ten thousand wires back together.

Where: Schuler Books and Music, Meridian Mall, 2820 Towne Center Blvd., Lansing, MI 48912, (517) 316-7495

When: Thursday, July 7, 7:30PM

/ / News, Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town

Dave Slusher from the Internet radio show “Voices in Your Head” on IT Conversations did a long interview with me about my new book, Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, and it’s live for download now. Also, Gabriel Serafini has gotten his friend Damon Wallace to do a series of illustrations based on the book — the first is live now!

/ / News, Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town

My novel deals with a group of people setting about to “unwire” Toronto by deploying free WiFi networks across the city. Wireless Toronto is just such a group in real life, and they’ve just launched their website. Truth is stranger than fiction!

Wireless Toronto is a not-for-profit group dedicated to bringing no-fee wireless Internet access to Toronto. Our aim is to encourage the growth of wireless networking and to build community in interesting and innovative ways.

Review:

Kirkus Reviews

Fine modern fantasy from up-and-coming SF writer (Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, 2003) and happening Web editor (boingboing.net) Doctorow, with the potential to please both SF and mainstream readers.

This chimera of a novel takes a plot with the geek appeal of a Neal Stephenson story and combines it with a touching family tale built out of absurdist elements that could have come from Italo Calvino or Kurt Vonnegut. We first meet Alan in Toronto, after he’s made some money running a series of vaguely bohemian enterprises—bookstores, used-clothing stores, etc. He has painstakingly renovated a house in the student district as the perfect setting for writing, but he’s distracted by his neighbors, primarily the sadistic punk Krishna, who is immediately hostile, and Krishna’s girlfriend, Mimi, an attractive young woman who’s revealed to have a set of wings, which Krishna regularly hacks off so that Mimi might pass among us. Both recognize Alan as something other than normal, and in the story’s other thread, they’re proven right. His mother was a washing machine, his father the mountain in which he grew up. Among his brothers are an island and three nesting-doll-like creatures, all of whom help Alan murder their resentful and dangerous brother David. Alan is further distracted when he meets Kurt, a techno-punk slowly installing wireless access points throughout the city to provide universal free Internet, a scheme that immediately engages Alan, who becomes the co-mastermind. Crisis blossoms when, with Krishna as his Renfrew, decomposing brother David returns to seek revenge, first by murdering the brothers, then targeting Mimi, now with Alan, and Kurt.

/ / News, Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town

The Book Standard has a great article on the use of Creative Commons licenses for electronic distribution of commercial print books, and the growing schism between the kinds of publishers and authors who complain about Google and Amazon’s services for searching the whole text of books and the kinds of publishers and writers who celebrate it.

“I don’t want to condone piracy,” says Hayden of Tor Books. “But in general I find it not so much appalling as encouraging. We’re the genre that the readers care enough about to be this obsessive about. I want to do something with this, not fight against it.”

Doctorow agrees. “Think about the care that goes into pirating a book!” he says. “That person has not done that because he hates the author and wishes to do the author harm, but because he loves the work and loves the author. Calling that person a thief is about the most suicidal thing you can do.” And, as Stross points out, “the availability of a free e-book actually undercuts the profitability of pirate paper or electronic editions.”

Tim O’Reilly, founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, the leading publisher of computer books in America, says his company certainly does encounter piracy, the more so since their work attracts the most technically savvy people in the world. The books of theirs that sell the best are the books that are most often pirated (and the most shoplifted, incidentally), but this doesn’t stop those books from selling well. “I’m sure there are people who pass around the links and use the pirate links,” says O’Reilly. “But in our experience they’re not the people who are likely to buy the books anyway.”