Have there been any strange moments?
There’ve been a couple pretty weird ones. I’ve had two funny misunderstandings. A friend of mine was interviewing me for the Guardian over Skype at six in the morning in San Francisco. It was later in the day for her, obviously, and luckily she’s a good friend. I forgot the camera was on and answered the phone naked. I’d been up since five but I hadn’t gotten dressed yet.
The other funny bit was when a guy came to my signing in Austin and I said, “What would you like in your book,” and he said, “Drama Hobbit.” I said, “Drama Hobbit?” And he said, “Yeah,” so I drew him the most dramatic Hobbit I could. I’m not much of a drawer and I said, “There you go!” And he said, “No, no, draw Muhammad.” Well, nobody knows what he looks like…
The Hugo Award nominations are now open; attendees at last year’s World Science Fiction Convention in Melbourne or next year’s in Reno are eligible to nominate. I usually wait until the annual Locus List of notable publications to help me make my choices and jog my memory, but in case you’re wondering, yes, indeed, I do have some items eligible for this year’s ballot:
* Novel: For the Win (Tor, 2010)
* Novella: Chicken Little (Gateways, edited by Jim Frenkel, Tor, 2010)
* Novella: Epoch (published in With a Little Help, Sweet Home Grindstone press, 2010)
* Novella: There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow Now is the Best Time of Your Life (published in Godlike Machines, edited by Jonathan Strahan, Science Fiction Book Club, 2010)
* Short story: The Jammie Dodgers and the Adventure of the Leicester Square Screening, (Shareable.net, 2010)
* Short story: Ghosts in My Head (Subterranean Press, 2010)
Canadians: Now that summer’s over, it’s your last chance to select your favorite young adult reads in Indigo’s summerlong Teen Read Awards. They’re soliciting Canadians’ daily votes for great books for teens to read, as part of a longer and larger promotion of teen reading and literacy. I’m honored to note that my latest young adult novel For the Win is in the final heat!
A quick reminder: Canadian teens have one month left to vote for their favourite YA novels in Chapters/Indigo’s Best Canadian Reads series. You can vote every day, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that my latest novel, For the Win, is eligible for your vote!
I’m incredibly gratified to see Canada’s largest bookseller putting such a sustained, high-profile effort into promoting YA reading and YA literature. Please participate and show your support!
Reminder for Londoners! I’m doing a live event tonight at 7PM with China Mieville in Exmouth Market (EC1R 4QE), through the excellent Clerkenwell Tales bookstore. We’ve outgrown the store, so Pete, our host, has booked the Church of the Redeemer next door; but we’re nearly full there, too! If you’d like to come, RSVP (quickly!) to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @booksellerpete. We’ll be emceed by the wonderful Rob Sharp of English PEN.
Here’s some video of interviews I did with Nick Gillespie from Reason Magazine and Reason TV after my talk at Public Knowledge in DC last
month. We talk about For the Win and how technology and kids and society interrelate.
This story is fiction and describes a world known as “virtual.” Yet, the economics discussed in its pages are as real as your laid off friend or the foreclosures up and down the street. In a time when national economies rise and fall on algorithms designed to sell money that never existed and corporate executives go unpunished for stealing thousands of people’s pensions and livelihoods, the idea that the virtual world may well provide us with clues on how to organize the real one is not far-fetched at all. Perhaps we should listen up.
John Clute’s smashing review of For the Win in the latest Strange Horizons compares the book (and me) to Heinlein in his heyday. Color me delighted!
There are a lot of MMORPG battles in the first half of the book, and a lot of lessons—much more interesting —about gameworld economies, and gold farming, and derivatives, in the second. The climax of the tale is double: an at times kinetically arousing narrative of the joining of the oppressed of the world and gameworlds in worldwide strike actions; and a neat narrative—infodumps hanging into the page whenever necessary — explaining how the greedy corporations of the world have been lured into a ponzi scheme engineered by members of our extremely clever crew, and how these corporations are forced into a humiliating climb-down at the very end: in the line of SF created by Heinlein, proper mousetraps trap proper mice: period.
Doctorow doesn’t write a bad sentence; he doesn’t even ever write a sentence you have to read twice. You can feel story pounding through the arteries of For the Win