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Internet Column from Science Fiction Age,
September 1998

Cory Doctorow

Omni was the first science-fiction magazine to crack a million circulation, largely due to the editorial acumen of Ellen Datlow. When Omni moved to the Web, Ellen continued to preside over it, bringing us some of the best short SF being published online on on trees. That all ended last Spring, when Omni Online was cancelled. That hasnŐt stopped Ellen! A new Web Őzine, Event Horizon, launches this August, with a never-seen-in-the-USA story by Pat Cadigan. Point your browsers at http://www.e-horizon.com/eventhorizon/.

Kilgour Trout, Kurt Vonnegut's fictional alter-ego, was the author of many bizarre, hackneyed science-fiction stories. They were invariably published in vile pornographic magazines, hidden amongst many pink, throbbing photos. Not unlike the Web, really. Trout has spawned -- ha, ha -- a horde of admirers, who use his work as a standard against which they judge their own efforts. They're pretty funny, actually -- http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/4953/trout.html.

The best all-round guide to things science-fictional remains the Internet Speculative Fiction Database, reviewed here earlier, now at http://www.sfsite.com/isfdb. But that hasn't stopped others from fielding their own efforts. I've been playing with Magic Dragon's Ultimate Science Fiction Web Guide. The Guide has several thousand links of note, and makes an attempt at indexing the bibliographies of many, many authors. The ISFDB is far more thorough in this regard, but the Guide offers many opportunities for serendipitious clicking, at http://www.magicdragon.com/UltimateSF/.

Thanks to Cary Thomas, who wrote to tell me about SETI@home (and who, despite reports to the contrary, is a he, not a she). Starting this summer, all you junior spacemen will be able to participate in the Search for Extraterrestrial Life -- from home! This isn't a joke; it's a sterling example of the kind of cool tricks you can do with the Internet. The SETI@home people are developing a "screen saver" that searches data from the Earth's most powerful radio-telescopes for evidence of extraterrestrial communications. Simply install the screen saver, add in some of the radio-telescope data -- downloadable from their site at http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu, and your computer will join the Great Work, while you go get a coffee. This is beyond cool, folks. It's science.

Internet Auctions are the big thing these days. EBay, the largest and best, lists hundreds of thousands of items at any time, and collects millions of bids per month. Go on, clean out the basement and put your old treasures up for sale -- you won't believe what some people will pay for your old Star Wars toys (alternately, go on and bid -- isn't it about time you got back all those toys your Mom threw away?). SF collectibles are at http://salamander.ebay.com/aw/listings/list/category152/index.html, but don't stop there. There's plenty of cool stuff all over the system.

Cab Calloway asks the musical question: are you hep to the jive? Every subculture has its own lingo, and fans, in particular, are crazy for wordplay. This lengthy glossary of fannish idiom is good for a few chuckles, at http://www.net1plus.com/users/notelrac/essays.dir/f_and_sf.dir/fannish_terms.html.

SF Site is a project with serious ambition, a twice-monthly Webzine full of quality reviews and news. They also host a number of important resources, including sites for some of this magazine's worthy competitors and the magnificent ISFDB. Bookmark http://www.sfsite.com.

After years of highly amusing derision, Harlan Ellison has finally joined the WWWorld. His minion, Rick Wyatt, has collaborated with Harlan to produce a humongous site, filled with news, photos, items for sale, items wanted, writing, and, of course rants. http://www.menagerie.net/ellison/ellicafe.htm.

Now that I've got a sat dish, I've got about nine million channels, and from Bab-5 to Xena, there's always some kinda skiffy TV-thing on. Problem is, who's got time to watch 'em all? Let's face, most TV sucks. A gang of geeks from downunder have taken a stab at this conundrum, at http://www.swd.net.au/geos/. This is GEOS, the Global Episode Opinion Survey, where you can read complete episode guides for twenty-some TV shows, and then rate 'em.

Terry Goodkind's novels have sold well enough to deplete a largish forest. Luckily, his fans have found a more environmentally sensitive means of expressing their affection, at Prophets, Inc., the Official Terry Goodkind Web Page, at http://www.serve.com/Zeddzorander/prophets.htm.

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

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