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Internet Column from Science Fiction Age,
November 1998

Cory Doctorow

James D. Macdonald and Debra Doyle are a rare treasure: a couple who like each other well enough to collaborate. Their books and lives are enumerated in detail at their site, http://www.sff.net/people/doylemacdonald/. Don't miss their personal newsgroup, where they charmingly recount their daily round and interact with their fans.

Robert J. Sawyer's new site, http://www.sfwriter.com gets an E for effort. Rob's put an enormous amount of content relating to his work online: excerpts, illustrations; biographies, notes and so forth. However, while he may be a well-respected SF writer, an information architect he isn't -- organizing this much content is a big job, and while Rob's given it the old college try, the site remains a little confusing and under-designed. Nevertheless, diligent fans will find a wealth of material here.

Nalo Hopkinson, recent winner of the Warner First Novel contest and author of the spectacular Brown Girl in the Ring isn't an information architect, either. Luckily, her partner, David, is. The site they've built together at http://www.sff.net/people/nalo/ is a delight to the eyes and the mind.

Lucy Snyder's Webzine, Darkplanet, is an ambitious effort. Using donated space from the good people at SFSite, Darkplanet publishes a ton of fiction on a pretty regular basis, at http://www.sfsite.com/darkplanet/. The quality of the work is surprisingly high, if slightly spotty.

It's a truism that magazines and newspapers are in the business of selling advertising, not content -- the cover price is a fraction of the overall cost of production. Taking this model to heart, Glen Hauman's BiblioBytes gives away hundreds of high-quality SF and fantasy novels -- and cover the cost of publication with advertising. From Harlan Ellison to Ron Goulart, the thrifty SF reader will find millions of worthwhile words at http://www.bb.com.

Last time I was in NYC, I proudly showed off my PalmPilot to Senior Editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden. Before leaving home, I'd loaded it up with twenty-odd electronic novels and dozens of short stories, drawn from various sites. The next time I talked to Patrick, he had a Pilot of his own, and now, Tor is selling Pilot-readable versions of their tremendous line through Peanut Press, at http://www.peanutpress.com.

Whenever a news-crew is sent out to an SF convention, the first thing they do is zero-in on someone in an elaborate costume. There's no question that costumers are the most mediagenic segment of fandom, and the highlight of the costumers' social calendar is CostumeCon. Unfortunately, the CostumeCon site at http://www.costumecon.org/ is a disappointment: there's an embarassing absence of pictures, for one thing; and of introspection on the costumer's art.

Undead Theatre is everything that an amateur site should be: slightly ugly, awfully funny, and wonderfully creative. The Undead Theatre crew use their site (http://www.olywa.net/zombfied/undead.htm) to self-publish little seven-minute videoclips they create by cutting up classic horror movies and dubbing in their own dialog and stolen music samples. Think class-clown meets Mystery Science Theatre 3000.

Richard Tibbetts, author of the forthcoming Red Planet Pioneer, wrote to me and asked me to take a look at his site, http://www.redplanetpioneer.com/. I did. It's pretty. There's some neat stuff about the comic's backstory. You can buy t-shirts. But I left the site unsatisfied and wondering why there didn't seem to be any excerpts -- no artwork, no text.

Equally frustrating is Warren Ellis' site, at http://www.warrenellis.com/. Ellis' Stormwatch and Transmetropolitan series are some of the freshest, coolest comics I've come across in a long time, but the site barely hints at it. Exceptionally stingy with artwork and excerpts, warrenellis.com leaves the visitor with hardly an inkling of the depth of the work.

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