Tag Archives: podcast

Professional politics means lots of free fiction

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!

Bruce Sterling in full effect

Regular readers will be aware that I venerate Captain* Bruce Sterling as not only a damn fine author but also one of the greatest minds on the face of the planet. OK, so he’s never invented a new type of engine, or solved Fermat’s last theorem or anything like that, but he’s a synthesist; he can pull together all the disparate threads of the world and weave you a big scary rug from them – a rug with a pattern that makes sense.

If you want the proof, go and listen to a recording of Sterling speaking at the SXSW Interactive festival earlier this week. He talks about blogs, crowdsourcing, computers as unreliable platforms, climate change, terrorism and a whole raft of other stuff, and it’s all part of one continuous flowing thing. He’s a big-picture guy, and pretty damn funny at times to. Give up an hour, sit down and listen. I challenge you to not be challenged by the things he says.

[*As far as I know, the only person in the world who refers to Bruce Sterling as ‘Captain’ is me. I expect if I met him, and called him ‘Captain’, he’d have some very short sharp words to say. I wouldn’t care. I am not old enough to be completely beyond certain forms of hero-worship and placing-upon-pedestals.]

Podcast round-up

It’s taken me a little while, but I’m finally getting into the podcast thing. Not making them, you understand (not yet, anyway), but listening to them. Once the routine is nailed, it’s a great format – subscribe in your feed-reader, download new episodes, dump them to your phone and listen on the way to and from work. Beats the hell out of radio, and removes that whole ‘which album’ dilemma that music brings with it. So, here’s a little round-up of the podcasts I’ve started to follow, most (but not all) of which have a science fictional flavour to them. Please let me know if there are any missing that you think I might be interested in! Continue reading Podcast round-up