I’ll bet SFWA Vice-president Howard Hendrix is feeling more than a little silly right now. Or perhaps he’s sat at home railing at what he sees as the blind stupidity of his fellow professional writers. Either way, he should have worded that ‘pixel-stained technopeasant’ rant a little more diplomatically – his essential argument had some validity, but the signal got lost in the noise, and the opprobrium generated hasn’t done him any favours whatsoever.
Inadvertantly, though, he’s done a great favour to the genre fiction readership. After Jo Walton declared April 23rd to be International Pixel-stained Technopeasant Day, the science fiction weberati have come out in force and inundated the intertubes with free fiction for us to read – Andy ‘SFBC’ Wheeler has what appears to be the best roundup for those of us not connected to the web-within-the-web that is Livejournal, though there’s probably a few others floating around: leave links in the comments if you’ve spotted anything that’s worth a mention.
I’ll be bookmarking them all for a rainy day, myself – I have waaaay too many dead-tree books waiting to be read at the moment – but the prospect of being able to read Stross’s Missile Gap after missing out on the Subterranean paper edition is most satisfying.
Your added bonus material comes in the form of a podcasted panel from Penguicon (the open-source software / science fiction convention – why don’t we have one of those here in the UK?) – it features the aforementioned Mr. Stross, John Scalzi and Tobias Buckell talking about the pros and cons of giving away fiction for free as a marketing strategy. Enjoy!