The rooms are neither as dusty, nor as bald of sound, as one might imagine the cloisters of the Oxford English Dictionary. There are no books piled in the cracked tile hallways, no atmospheric beams of light angling into the tranquil gloom. No old clunking timepiece marks the infinitude of time.
Yet this place--and those who study within it--are older than most of us can imagine. Today they were gathered, as they are but once a year, in solemn manifestation of their immortal calling. In the cloisters' largest and deepest chamber, the Council of New Words assembled to determine what coinages should enter The Dictionary. Seated in neat semicircular rows, they gazed at a television, placed where the speaker's lectern usually stood.
The video recording was short, perhaps a minute long, played in an endless loop. But they stared for hours, speechless, transfixed. A hundred faces lit by the cold, flickering phosphors of metamodernity. A leering tongue. A gyrating arse.
Some were horrified by what they saw. Some were enchanted. Others studied it impassively. Many felt the fleeting impression of Change, the heart of their calling, that which disturbs the will of Ankou. And all of them--the youngest among them celebrated her 146th birthday in July--were wise.
When the vote was called, there was only a single abstention.
'Twerking' and 'selfie' added to Oxford dictionary [BBC]
A decade ago, I published the first Madeline Ashby story to see print, “In Which Joe and Laurie Save Rock n’ Roll,” in Tesseracts 11; four years ago, I reviewed her outstanding debut novel, vN, and then revelled in its sequel a year later: but now, a decade later, Ashby is an overnight success, with a breakout novel about love, labor, shame, sex and Singularity cultists: Company Town.
Next April, Tor Books will publish Walkaway, the first novel I’ve written specifically for adults since 2009; it’s scheduled to be their lead title for the season and they’ve hired the brilliant designer Will Staehle (Yiddish Policeman’s Union, Darker Shade of Magic) for the cover, which Tor has just revealed.
In 1989, Canadian activist, engineer and thinker Ursula Franklin gave a series of extraordinary lectures on the politics of technology design and deployment called “The Real World of Technology.”
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