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Internet Column from Science Fiction Age,
January 1999

Cory Doctorow

After much procrastination, I've put up an archive of this column online at my site, at http://www.craphound.com. If you have any suggestions or recommendations for sites to be reviewed herein, email me at doctorow@craphound.com. Thanks this month go to Martin Kelly, Michael Walsh, Martha Soukup and Pat York.

Everyone knows everyone, eventually. We've all played this game at parties: "Oh, you went to Miskatonic U? Do you know C'Thomas Dennison? You do? I dated his sister!" and so on. A popculture version, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, has made headlines on slow news days for the last couple years. It's about time that someone formalized the kooky, serindipitous network that binds us all. Someone has: sixdegrees, at http://www.sixdegrees.com , is a free system for tracing the linkages. Enter your name and email address, list ten friends, and voila, you can trace your connection to anyone else on the system.

Remember The Visible Man? An entire generation used the Visible Man model kit to mine the dark secrets of the human form, and to learn the basics of abdominal surgery (I can remove a well-labelled appendix armed with nothing but a bottle of acetone and the original instructions). The Visible Man is back! The US National Library of Medicine took a male and a female cadaver, sliced their bodies into 1 mm cross-sections, and then scanned them. The results of this process are available as raw data at The Visible Human Project homepage, at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/research/visible/visible_human.html. Linked from this site are wicked-cool applications of the dataset, generated by the general public: anatomical fly-throughs, a "pelvis browser" and more!

After a years-long drought, Dr Demento faves Firesign Theatre have finally released their new disc, Give Me Immortality Or Give Me Death, the story of a radio station on the eve of the millenium, changing formats every five minutes. They've given over their site at http://www.firesigntheatre.com to a quirky tribute to said station. Character backgrounds, downloadables.

Since 1982, FactSheet 5, the 'Zine of 'Zines has been the central nexus of 'zine culture the world 'round. For the uninitiated, a 'zine is a self-published magazine, usually produced by a single person or small group of friends as a labor of love. The 'zine world is full of delightful obsessives who center-staple their visions of work, home, music, art, literature, and excreta on an irregular basis. Whether you want to read or write a 'zine, FS5 and its online equivalent, Factsheet 5 Electric at http://www.factsheet5.com/ is the place to start.

James O'Ehley asked me to have a boo at his site, The Sci-Fi Movie Page, at http://members.xoom.com/scifimovies/. The site contains O'Ehley's reviews of hundreds of genre movies, news on upcoming films, message boards and downloadables. It's nicely organized, easy on the eyes, and an impressive testimony to one filmgoer's obsessions. The reviews, however, tend to be a little superficial, a little lightweight.

Neverworlds is one of the best-looking webzines I've ever seen. Editor Kevin McPherson has assembled an online magazine that's as pretty as any in our genre, at http://www.neverworlds.com. I wish I could laud the fiction as highly, but, frankly, I found it slightly stilted and amateurish, though there were occasional bright spots.

Digital Blasphemy is an archive of very high-quality science-fiction artwork for use as Windows startup screens, animations, icons and wallpaper. Artist Ryan Bliss is a dab hand with 3D and 2D image manipulation software, and has produced a hell of a site, at http://www.digitalblasphemy.com.

Another spectacular artist-driven site is Dirigibilosity, from William Michael Mott. Mott has produced a 3D-rendered photo-essay/travelogue of a fictional dirigible journey through a crystalline world, at http://www.erc.msstate.edu/~mott/1_Dirigibiliosity.html.

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