Hurrah! Spider Robinson's put up another installment of his podcast (it's been understandably erratic for the past few years, as Spider and his family were doubly afflicted by cancer). As always, it features some great blues, jazz, roots and eclectic music (including some great tracks by Jeff Healey and Mose Scarlett as well as a Folk Uke's delightful tribute to poop) and a wonderful excerpt from his The Free Lunch.
The Free Lunch is Spider's 2001 contribution to the themepunk canon, a smashing novel about the greatest theme park ever made:
What if the world was so terrible that your only hope for a happy life would be to hide away in the world's greatest amusement park...Dreamworld? In The Free Lunch, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Spider Robinson transports us to Dreamworld, a place where everybody has fun, dreams can come true, and the only sadness is when they close for the night.
With his perceptive grasp of human emotions and his deft hand at humor, Robinson masterfully tells the take of Mike, a young teen who escapes our own dark, tormented near future into a dream--into Dreamworld. There he meets Annie, another refugee who has built a life in the underworld of this fantastic amusement park, perhaps the last vestige of innocence left in the world. But it is tainted by a dark secret--a ruthless competitor, who can't possibly create an attraction that's as much fun as Dreamworld, has decided that if he can't beat Dreamworld, he might as well destroy it. There's another threat to Dreamworld. Suddenly there are more trolls at the end of the day than were there in the morning...and nobody, not even Mike or Annie, knows where they're from. But it's up to them and their passion for preserving this last haven of joy in a world of horrors to save Dreamworld...and Earth's future.
Spider on the Web
In November, Bruce Sterling published “Pirate Utopia,” a dieselpunk novella set in the real, historical, bizarre moment in which the city of Fiume became an autonomous region run by artists and revolutionaries, whose philosophies ran the gamut from fascism to anarcho-syndicalism to socialism.
Randal Munroe nails it again in an XKCD installment that expresses the likelihood that your houseguests will be able to connect to your wifi (I confess to having been the “firmware” guide — but also, having been reminded to do something about my own firmware when other difficult houseguests came to stay).
Rainey from EFF writes, “EFF just launched a new video about its efforts to encrypt the web. It features bestselling author Baratunde Thurston explaining why encryption matters and two simple ways to ensure the web we love is encrypted.”
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