Tag Archives: blog

No Rock and Roll Fun

Do you love music? Do you like snark? Do you like it when people turn the tools of the tabloid hacks on the tabloid hacks themselves, and gleefully shove hypocrites from their pedestals?

Then you should be reading No Rock and Roll Fun, if you’re not already. A little gem from this morning’s selection:

“Given that the Pistols were, basically, a marketing exercise – albeit a wonderfully executed one – Lydon still popping up banging on about how great they were is a bit like seeing, say, the PG Tips chimps or the Guinness Toucan sharing their opinions about modern beverages.”


I got the feeling io9 wasn’t going to be my sort of blog …

… and it appears my suspicions are confirmed within a few weeks from launch:

Today’s most popular stories are

Today’s most discussed stories are
Ten Scifi Songs You Should Take to a Barren Asteroid (48 comments), Science Fiction Angels Who Are Really Aliens in Disguise (31) and Live-Action Star Wars TV Will Satisfy Your Boba Fettish (28).

And we wonder why no one takes science fiction seriously. *sigh*

[tags]io9, blog, scifi, skiffy[/tags]

The Great Shark Hunt redux – two Brits on the US election campaign trail

This caught my eye at Forbidden Planet the other day, and I’m glad I filed it for further inspection. Basically, a British journalist (Dan Hancox) and a British cartoonist (Tom Humberstone, aka The Vented Spleen) are heading off to the US to cover the forthcoming election.

I’m sure I’m not alone in finding the US election process fundamentally arcane and baffling*. In fact, I know I’m not alone – I’ve had American friends cheerily admit it makes little logical sense to them either.

Everything I know about US politics I learned from Hunter S. Thompson**, and so I’m fascinated by the idea of two British guys aiming to do a Thompson & Steadman style campaign trail trek aimed at reporting back to Blighty on the process.

Not just because this is a pretty important election on a global scale, but because (however unwisely) I actually trust two independent counter-cultural blogger types to give me a better understanding of the process than the mainstream media. If nothing else, I’ll be listening to people I can relate to. Or think I can relate to, at least.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in following, they’ve got their “My Fellow Americans” blog up and running already, posting little preliminary details before the primary race kicks off in the new year.

Hell knows we’re going to be bombarded with information about it whether we like it or not – I figure I might as well stick with a supplier that provides a palatable flavour.

[* I’m not claiming the UK version to be any more logical, by the way. It is, however, vaguely more familiar.]

[** Yes, I know, that’s hardly fair and balanced. Sue me.]

[tags]US, election, politics, blog[/tags]


It’s a strange thing, blogging – often a largely thankless task, a genuine labour of love (or of egotism, in the opinion of some who may not be entirely incorrect). But suffice to say that, except for the industry bigwigs and AdSense farmers, there’s little reward for running a blog.

Indeed, all you can hope for is recognition, a little bit of kudos – which is why I was incredibly chuffed to discover that Futurismic is listed among PC Magazine’s 100 Favourite Blogs, alongside major heavyweights like BoingBoing, Gawker and Lifehacker.

I’ve thought about quitting Futurismic a number of times in the last year or so; I was reaching a point where being the only person with the available time to struggle with the old broken Moveable Type installation, just to make sure there were a few fresh posts every day, felt like head-butting a brick wall – only without the consolation of an audience that head-butting a brick wall brings (in this town, at least).

But now I feel immensely glad I stuck with it, and that I recently hired in my new crew of bloggers. Futurismic will probably never pay me one red cent, and I never joined in the expectation that it would. I joined because I liked what it was trying to do … and making it onto that list means that other people have noticed it, and that they like it too.

Once we get the fiction and columns up and running again (which promises to be sooner rather than later), we’re going to kick some serious arse, right across this here blogosphere. I hope all of you will be watching us do it, too.

Burst culture – publishing in the internet age

Proof (as if proof were required) of the old adage that “if you don’t blog about it today, BoingBoing will have pipped you to the post tomorrow” … but better late than never; here’s a sterling post from Warren Ellis on internet publishing and ‘burst culture’.

In keeping with the spirit of what he’s saying, I’m just going to snatch out the bits I want, but you should really go and read the whole thing – it’ll take a few minutes at most, and it’s time well spent.

“365Tomorrows was an ideal reaction to sf publishing in new media, the concept of flash fiction and the way the medium works. 100-word bursts of speculative fiction, daily. JR Blackwell’s gotten herself a career out of it. And note how 365T kept producing and fulfilled its mandate even as sf sites and sf print magazines died on either side of it.”

365T is a good little site; Jeremy Tolbert and a bunch of co-conspirators have something quite similar going on at The Daily Cabal (which, for my money, carries higher quality fiction, but as far as I can tell doesn’t yet have the reach of 365T).

“How far behind the curve is the sf publishing community? When International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day came around, hundreds of writers of gift and ambition ran short work for free on the web. This came about following a recently-resigned official of the Science Fiction Writers of America calling those who produce material for the web SCABS.”

I can add nothing to that.

“The web isn’t a replacement medium — it’s *another* medium. That said, if your concept of a magazine is something designed in one-page bursts, or three pages that only carry 500 words due to the mass of images, then, really, you’re not doing anything the web can’t do better, are you?”


“Bursts aren’t contentless, nor do they denote the end of Attention Span. If attention span was dead, JK Rowling wouldn’t be selling paperbacks thick enough to choke a pig, and Neal Stephenson wouldn’t be making a living off books the size of the first bedsit I lived in.”

The death of print does not mean the death of reading. At least, it doesn’t *have* to.

“And just a thought: if you’re an sf writer grappling for space in one of the fiction magazines for seven cents a word or whatever the rate is now — what exactly are you losing by teaming with writers of like mind, going to the web and convincing a friend to work out the monetising bells and whistles for you?”

I refer you again to The Daily Cabal. And also to the No Fear of the Future group-blog, which has been running some brilliant material since it started up, and has done a great job of shoving the names of a bunch of previously unfamiliar authors in front of my eyes on a regular basis. Sure, it’s early days yet – but there’s a lot to be said for boarding the train early while it’s easy to find a comfy seat.

Nothing particularly new there, at least not to anyone who’s been reading rants (by me and others) about this sort of thing for a little while. But because Ellis has come out and said it, the meme will get a lot further (31 links to the piece as counted by Technorati at time of posting this response). For some reason, people pay a lot more attention to him than they do to me … 😉