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Posts from the ‘Free Speech’ Category

Mayflies

Now I lost interest in Twitter back when I found out that besides being the crack cocaine of social media (and just as good for you) it was the worst rated for sales/reader conversion. Something like 1 sale per 1000 followers, IIRC.

I’ve got books to write, a life to live, a farm to finish developing. But one the fans brought this bit of twitter-snark about an anthology I was delighted to be included in. A CHRONICLE OF DAVIDS. A chance to be in the same collection as Dave Drake and Dave Weber doesn’t come my way every day.

So this is his priceless (as in you can have it for free) gem (as in one man’s turd is another man’s treasure, especially in North Korea). Read more

Reality V. Fiction

Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.—Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar, Mark Twain

While we were on our trip to Washington DC there was one museum my son really wanted to go see, but I had been told it was very difficult to get into, so we left it off the itinerary. It was only when I made a remark to a friend who lives there that I discovered it was no longer timed, ticketed, and waiting-room-only to see the Holocaust Museum. So, as the final stop while in the city, that was our choice. It’s difficult to describe it, so I’m not going to entirely try. Suffice it to say that in a city where we saw several museums out of the lifetime’s worth you could see, this was the one that was hushed, beautiful in design, and utterly austere in message. Humanity is capable of the divine, and the most terrible things we can see on the face of this earth and beyond. Fiction writers can try to encapsulate evil in their villains, but nothing touches reality. Nor, perhaps, should we even try. Read more

Constant Scrutiny

As I was chatting with a fellow author last night, the topic came up of Amazon and their predilection for pulling reviews they find suspicious, or suspending the accounts of authors they think may be gaming the system. It was something John van Stry had talked about on the trends in Indie Publishing panel he and I were on, along with Jim Curtis and Lawdog. (Great panel, I was listening more than talking, and we had almost two hours so we got into the meat of the matter).

The upshot of that conversation, and the more private one later, is that as authors we must avoid all appearance of evil. Read more

Millions of Years of Reading Material

The book, in the forms we might recognize it, has been around for a heartbeat in terms of the universe. Even now, we discuss it’s demise, as we read on our e-readers, or our phones, and the shelves of paper seem so dusty and old-fashioned. Scientists come up with even newer ways to store data – they have encoded cat videos on DNA, to sum up the absurdity of the internet in one small petri dish. They have stored data on molecules that could endure for millions of years (at least, theoretically, none of them having proved that hypothesis).

Just like the storage of data on other mediums, though, this has it’s own problems. Paper is flammable and wettable. 8-tracks, cassette tapes, hard drives, CDs DVDs Blue rays and many many more need specialized readers to access the data stored on them. Sure, molecular data storage is tiny and durable. But do they make handheld mass spectrometers yet? Oh, wait, yes they do. And unlike many spectrometer detectors, the process is non-destructive of the sample being read (again, in theory. But we’re talking science fiction right now, not mass practicality for many people to carry in their pocketses). So yes, in theory we could have millions of books for millions of years, as long as we remember how to read them. Read more

Shut up! shutup! shutup!

Image pixabay.

“That’s cultural appropriation! You can’t do that! Shutup shutup shutup!”

“Do you think that cultures have a right to maintain their traditions, especially ones with a well-documented history going back hundreds of years? Cultural patterns which are as much part of their culture as breathing is part of your living? Cultural behavior which defines them, without which they would stop being their culture?”

“Of course!”

“Good-o. Piss off, Asshole.” Read more

Chilling? Downright Frigid.

Very first thing: if you haven’t read Amanda’s post from this morning, go read it. While this morality clause nonsense is dangerous to writers, and it’s certainly a CYA move on the part of the publishers including it in their contracts, I can’t help but wonder if it’s *also* being used as a means of further gatekeeping. “You’d better stay in the conservative closet, if you want to keep writing in your favorite world.” Read more

Writers, morality and the #MeToo fallout

I’ve been pondering whether to write this post for the better part of a week. I’d been hearing rumbling from traditionally published authors about a contract clause that is as evil–their words and I agree–as the rights grabbing clauses that have become common in publishing contracts. But then, several days ago, an op-ed piece appeared in the NYT and I knew what I needed to write. The clause? A morality clause. Yes, you read that right. More and more traditional publishers are now including a morality clause in their contracts. Read more