Nice piece in today's National Post about Makers and my approach to publishing:
Presently, Doctorow is in the midst of a short North American book tour promoting Makers, which, like all his work, is free to download from his website, craphound.com,under a Creative Commons licence, which allows readers to share and remix the work as long as it's not for commercial purposes. Interestingly, Doctorow doesn't accept payment from readers who've downloaded his book. Instead, he posts the addresses of libraries and schools who have requested the book and asks donors to buy them a copy instead. It's his commitment and encouragement of sharing that makes Doctorow a thorn in the side of some in the publishing industry (though it should be noted his own publisher, Tor, is part of Macmillan, which in turn is a subsidiary of the massive German conglomerate Holtzbrinck). He wants his books to be read, he wants his books to be passed around and he wants his books to be copied.
"I copy, you copy, everybody copies. Pretending we don't copy is just hypocrisy," says Doctorow, whose own early attempts at sci-fiwere pastiches of Conan the Barbarian stories and Star Wars fan fiction. "It's the 21st century: Art will be copied. If you're making art not to be copied, you're not making contemporary art. It's lovely that someone wants to be the blacksmith at Pioneer Village, but that's not my job. I'ma science-fiction writer."
Hey, New Yorkers! I'm reading from and signing my new novel Makers tonight at the Borders in Columbus Circle at 59th Street, starting at 7PM. Hope to catch you there! Philadelphians, you're next -- Philadelphia Free Library on Friday, then Philcon (in Cherry Hill, NJ) over the weekend.
I recently conducted an interview with AMCTV's Sci-Fi Scanner about my new novel MAKERS, in which we got into some nice, juicy detail about what makes Disney Parks so fascinating for science fiction treatment.
Q: So how did the concept evolve into creating a hacker Disney World in a Wal-Mart? Did it come from your other novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom?
A: What it evolved out of was the incredible fun I had researching a novel set in a theme park. I've got a real interest in gadgets and doodads, and I set out to reverse engineer a novel plot that revolved around my getting to do fun stuff to research it. Amusement park rides, buying interesting junk, visiting hacker spaces, looking at 3D printers... What novel fits in there?
Q: And then you made Disney the villain.
A: Disney is essentially a privately run city that has 50,000 employees on site and does some novel social stuff as well as lots of interesting technical stuff. And in a world in which the costs of organizing people is going through the floor, Disney ends up with a product that is more expensive. What if in ten years, doing 60 percent of what Disney World does costs a tenth of a percent of what Disney World costs? At that point, Disney World is in real trouble. Disney is a thing unto itself, and science-fictionally it's bottomless.
Andrew Schwab recorded last night's MAKERS launch in Toronto, a stellar event that was standing-room only, featuring free Ubuntu disks (thanks, John!), presentation of the Sunburst Award, a reading, and Q&A.
Tonight, I'm launching my latest novel Makers in Canada, at the excellent Toronto sf reference library, the Merril Collection, at 239 College St. (3rd floor), east of Spadina. The event starts at 7PM, and I'll be doing a reading, taking questions, and signing books.
Books are being sold by Bakka Phoenix, and if you can't make it tonight, they're happy to take your pre-orders for signed, personalized copies -- I'll sign them tonight and they'll ship them out right away. They're at +1 416 963 9993 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today's Toronto Star has a good piece about my upcoming book-launch for Makers in Toronto on Nov 12, and on the politics that informs my work.
Cory Doctorow will have mixed feelings when the news reaches him that employees of the Toronto Public Library system will not be on strike this week.
The U.K.-based author and blogger will launch his new novel, Makers, with an event Thursday at the Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation and Fantasy at the Lillian H. Smith Branch on College St. Had the library been surrounded by pickets, Doctorow planned to stage the event on the sidewalk outside, with the consent of the striking workers and their union. (A tentative agreement between the library and its unionized workers was reached on Wednesday.)
"I grew up in protest politics, so doing it on the street would be really fun," he says, during a phone interview from his London home last week. "I've spent enough time standing on the street with a bullhorn that it would feel very natural to me. It would be great theatre to do it on the sidewalk."
Doctorow’s novel fizzes with ideas and jumps with breathtaking speed from one technological breakthrough to another until you’re no longer sure what’s based on reality and what’s purely a figment of his inventive mind.