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Internet Column from Science Fiction Age,
July 1998

Cory Doctorow

Welcome to WSFA, where we play your requests all day long! The third caller wins a pair of tickets to Supertramp! But seriously. This is the all-request column, where I review the Web sites that you, the pee-pul -- God bless ya -- recommended. Yes, I'm that lazy.

Serious literary criticism has a long and honoured tradition of reasoned commentary on the written word. Zzzzz. My attention-span simply doesn't have the mettle for Northrop Frye. The Book-A-Minute page, at http://pubpages.unh.edu/~ss1/bookaminute/ is seemingly designed for me and my ilk. The classics of SF are compressed into hilarious -- yet informative -- abridgements, such as this one, for The Collected Works of Edgar Allen Poe: "Some Guy: Oh no. I'm buried alive! Narrator: I died. Raven: Nevermore. The End." These things are like popcorn: betcha can't read just one!

Our most ambitious reader is Swavic Wojtowicz, who has put together a virtual clearing-house for science-fiction art on the Web, at http://home.interstat.net/~slawcio/artsf.html, with hundreds and hundreds of links. While it'd be nice to have some annotation with the links -- some idea of what's behind them, there's no denying the usefulness of this resource. Don't miss Swavic's own work, at http://home.interstat.net/~slawcio/myart.html.

Call me a blind patriot, but as a Canadian, I gotta say, it's a damned shame that Canada's fine SF magazines get so little play down there in the US. For example, Dale Sproule and Sally McBride do a very tasty little 'zine called TransVersions, where you'll find choice morsels from my fellow Canucks: De Lint, Sawyer, Gotleib, Stewart, et al. Swing by the TransVersions Web site at http://www.astro.psu.edu/users/harlow/transversions and see for yourself.

I got this tip stright from the competition: James Patrick Kelly -- who writes a (not nearly as cool but still worthy) Internet column for Another SF Magazine -- wrote to tell me about Seeing Ear Theater, at http://www.scifi.com/set/originals/dinosaur/. SET has revived the grand tradition of professional SF radio-play adaptations and put them on the Web. Jim mentioned a roster of Cool, Big-Name Writers who are scheduled to appear on SET, and then told me I couldn't mention them by name. Argh. Thanks, Jim.

Taking the prize for best company-name and funniest idea is Cheapass Games, at http://www.cheapass.com/start.html. At roughly $6 each, these board-games would be worth a shot even if you'd never heard of them. Now that you have, you'll know that Cheapass publishes some of the most addictive, playable boardgames on the planet. Don't say I never gotcha nothin' for Xmas. Thanks to Martha Soukup for bringing 'em to my attention.

Cary Thomas wrote to tell me about her indices to Locus and Analog at http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/carycwt -- heroic projects, to be sure, but I was dubious. The Internet Speculative Fiction Database (http://www.sfsite.com/isfdb/) already does a great job of this, and cross-references to a bunch of other indices, too. What Cary failed to mention was that her databases are downloadable-- they can be saved right to your very own hard-drive, for off-line persuing. Nice work, Cary -- but you could stand to make the links to the databases a little more prominent.

Tom Marcincko, who did very well for himself in this year's SF AgeReader's Choice Poll, hepped me to Daddy-O's Drive-In Dirt, at http://www.mst3kinfo.com/daddyo/index.html. Tom is the king of Mystery Science Theater 3000trivia (he got me hooked, too), and he seemed pretty excited by this site. Daddy-O's covers the inside scoop on all the stinky movies that got revitalized by MST3K, attempting to answer the question, "How did all this trash end up getting produced?"

That about wraps up the all-request hour here at WSFA, pumping atcha with 15 trillion watts of skiffy power. Keep watching the skies!

Click here for info on my second novel, Eastern Standard Tribe

Click here for info on my first short story collection, A Place So Foriegn and Eight More

Click here for info on my first novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom