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Interview with Matt Taibbi about "The Divide"


Matt Taibbi is touring the States with his new book, The Divide, which is on my must-read list right after I finish Capital in the 21st Century. Rick Kleffel caught up with him for his San Francisco NPR show and posted the interview, along with his notes (which includes links to his previous interviews with Taibbi).

Taibbi was, until recently, the best reason to read Rolling Stone: a finance writer for the 99%, whose incandescent and meticulous columns were terrifying and enraging by turns.

The Divide

05-12-14: A 2014 Interview with Matt Taibbi

(Thanks, Rick!)

Mary Blair and the World's Fair: Rolly Crump describes the birth of "it's a small world"

Yesterday, I posted about the publication of More Cute Stories, Volume 4: 1964/65 New York World's Fair, an audio memoir of Disney Imagineer Rolly Crump. I've been listening to it today, and enjoying it immensely. I wrote to Bamboo Forest, the publishers, and secured permission to share a couple of MP3s from the collection with you.

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Imagineer Rolly Crump on the 1964 NY World's Fair: audio memoir


Jeff writes in with wonderful news: the release of Disney Legend Rolly Crump's More Cute Stories, Volume 4: 1964/65 New York World's Fair. This high-quality recording includes sixty minutes of all new stories about Rolly's involvement with the legendary 'Billion-Dollar Fair'. It is available on CD and as a digital download.

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Homeland audiobook, direct from me

My independently produced audio edition of Homeland, read by Wil Wheaton, is now available direct from me as a $15 MP3 download. The audiobook not only features Wil's reading, but also Noah Swartz reading his brother Aaron Swartz's afterword and Jacob Appelbaum reading his own afterword, recorded at the Berlin studio of Atari Teenage Riot's Alec Empire.

Here's a free preview of chapter one.

Homeland audiobook purchase

Podcast: Collective Action - the Magnificent Seven anti-troll business-model


Here's a reading (MP3) of a my November, 2013 Locus column, Collective Action, in which I propose an Internet-enabled "Magnificent Seven" business model for foiling corruption, especially copyright- and patent-trolling. In this model, victims of extortionists find each other on the Internet and pledge to divert a year's worth of "license fees" to a collective defense fund that will be used to invalidate a patent or prove that a controversial copyright has lapsed. The name comes from the classic film The Magnificent Seven (based, in turn, on Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai) in which villagers decide one year to take the money they'd normally give to the bandits, and turn it over to mercenaries who kill the bandits.

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In which I make Wil Wheaton read out Pi for four minutes

Chapter nine of Homeland opens with about 400 digits of Pi. When Wil Wheaton read the chapter, he soldiered through it, reading out Pi for a whopping four minutes! Here's the raw studio audio (MP3) of Wil and director Gabrielle De Cuir playing numbers station.

There's less than a week left during which you can get the independently produced Homeland audiobook through the Humble Ebook Bundle!

Interview with Lucius Shepard


Science fiction radio-host and podcaster Rick Kleffel writes, "Lucius Shepard was one of my guiding lights for reading; he worked in all the spaces I loved best. Here's a link to my one conversation with him [MP3], back in 2005. He'll be missed very much; and remembered every time we read his work." (Thanks, Rick!)

Lucius died last week. It was far too soon, and he is very much missed.

Noah Swartz reads Aaron Swartz's afterword to Homeland

Before he died, Aaron Swartz wrote a tremendous afterword for my novel Homeland -- Aaron also really helped with the core plot, devising an ingenious system for helping independent candidates get the vote out that he went on to work on. When I commissioned the indie audiobook of Homeland (now available in the Humble Ebook Bundle, I knew I wanted to have Aaron's brother, Noah, read Aaron's afterword, and Noah was kind enough to do so, going into a studio in Seattle to record a tremendous reading.

Here is Noah's reading (MP3), released as a CC0 file that you can share without any restrictions. I hope you'll give it a listen.

And a reminder that the complete Humble Ebook Bundle lineup is now available, including work from John Scalzi, Mercedes Lackey, and Ryan North, as well as the core bundle, which features Wil Wheaton, Holly Black, Steven Gould, and Scott Westerfeld!

Jake Appelbaum reads his Homeland afterword, with bonus Atari Teenage Riot vocoder mix

Two of my friends contributed afterwords to my novel Homeland: Aaron Swartz and Jacob Appelbaum. In this outtake from the independently produced Homeland audiobook (which you can get for the next week exclusively through the Humble Ebook Bundle), Jake reads his afterword at The Hellish Vortex Studio in Berlin, where he is in exile after several harrowing adventures at the US border. Hellish Vortex is run by Alec Empire, founding member of Atari Teenage Riot. Alec recorded this clip (MP3), and also mixed an alternate version.

Originally Jake had intended for his afterword to be anonymous (I didn't understand this at the time, and there was no harm done!). In keeping with this, Alec mixed this vocoder edition (MP3), that is pretty awesome.

Humble Ebook Bundle

Wil Wheaton's subconscious wants to "melt some camels" (?!)

When Wil Wheaton was reading the audiobook for my novel Homeland (exclusively available through the Humble Ebook Bundle for the next nine days!), I had the great pleasure of listening to the raw, unedited studio recordings before they were mastered. Together with editor John Taylor Williams, we collected some of the best outtakes, which I've been posting here all week. Here's the last one (MP3), in which Wil's subconscious supposes that Marcus Yallow has a hankering to "melt some camels."

Homeland audiobook behind the scenes: Wil Wheaton explains his cameo to the director

The Humble Ebook Bundle is going great guns, with a collection of recent and classic books from both indie and major publishers, all DRM-free, on a name-your-price basis. Included in the bundle is an exclusive audio adaptation of my novel Homeland, read by Wil Wheaton, who also appears as a character in the novel.

When Wil got to the part where the protagonist, Marcus, meets "him" in the story, he kind of lost it, cracking up as he read Marcus's breathless (and thoroughly deserved!) praise of Wil.

Here's audio (MP3) of Wil explaining the context of the scene to Gabrielle de Cuir, the director who worked with Wil on his reading.

Listening to the raw daily studio sessions in February was a great treat, and I hope these outtakes give you a sense of some of that behind-the-scene action.

You've got 12 more days to score the Humble Ebook Bundle, which includes Steven Gould's Jumper, Holly Black's Tithe, Scott Westerfeld's Uglies, Wil Wheaton's The Happiest Days of Our Lives, and the audio adaptation of Homeland, read by Wil!

Crowdfunding a binaural, video-less videogame

Paul Bennun, who helped created the groundbreaking, video-less binaural sound videogame Papa Sangre sez, "We're making a 'video game without video' and we're turning to Kickstarter to fund it. Team Papa Sangre has been responsible for some fantastic 'work of art' games over the last few years; games with the unique quality of having no graphics whatsoever, based on some (dare we say it) kick-arse technology that helps us make entire worlds in sound. The one-before-last starred Benedict Cumberbatch; the last one starred Sean Bean and was the best-reviewed iOS game of 2013 according to Metacritic. The next one most certainly isn't art (well, actually it is but that's not so obvious). It's you versus the zombies and it's just batshit crazy. We want make something much more direct. The problem is the economics of audio games are tricky. If we don't get defined support it's going to be a lot more tricky to know when or how we can game the game out -- so we've turned to Kickstarter."

I know Paul personally and he gets stuff done. While all kickstarters carry the caveat that you may get nothing for your money, I have extremely high confidence that if this is funded, it will happen.

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Wil Wheaton has a surreal moment reading the Homeland audiobook

As mentioned yesterday, the DRM-free, independent audiobook of my novel Homeland is available from the Humble Bundle for the next two weeks, along with a collection of brilliant science fiction and fantasy from authors ranging from Scott Westerfeld to Holly Black.

I commissioned the audiobook for the project, and paid Wil Wheaton to read it at the Skyboat Studio in Los Angeles, for mastering by John Taylor Williams in DC. If you've read the book, you'll know that Wil has a cameo in the story, early on, and when he read that passage, he couldn't help but crack up. Gabrielle de Cuir, the talented director, made sure we captured that audio, and here's your chance to hear it (MP3).

Wil's reading is amazing, and it was such a pleasure to listen to the roughs as they came in from the studio. There are a couple more of these funny moments I'll be publishing this week, so watch this space!

Humble Bundle, featuring the DRM-free audio edition of Homeland

Podcast: If GCHQ wants to improve national security it must fix our technology

Here's a reading (MP3) of my latest Guardian column, If GCHQ wants to improve national security it must fix our technology where I try to convey the insanity of spy agencies that weaken Internet security in order to make it easier for them to spy on people, by comparing this to germ warfare.

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Bruce Sterling's closing remarks from SXSW Interactive: who isn't in the room?

As ever, Bruce Sterling's closing remarks to the SXSW Interactive festival were a barn-burner; in them, Sterling rattles off a list of people who should be in the room, either because they know something that is lost on mainstream geekdom, or because they serve as examples for what not to become -- from GCHQ spies to Italian net-politics ninjas, from the Dread Pirate Roberts to Barrett Brown. Sterling dips into the future ("the future is full of cities full of old people who are scared of the sky") and wonders where Silicon Valley will decamp to once California is destroyed by climate change.

It's 45 minutes of funny, uncomfortable, storming invective, and a bracing way to pass the Ides of March. Here's an unauthorized MP3 rip in case you want to listen on the go (warning, may not work very well!).

Bruce Sterling Closing Remarks - SXSW Interactive 2014

Scowler, Daniel Kraus's masterpiece of psychological horror, as a DRM-free audiobook

Daniel Kraus's 2013 horror novel Scowler was pure nightmare fuel, a book that literally made me shriek aloud on the bus one afternoon. Now, the novel has been released as an audiobook by Random House audio, read by Kirby Heywood.

The unabridged audiobook is available as a DRM-free MP3 CD, and as a DRM-free MP3 download from BN.com.

The reader on the adaptation of Scowler is the very talented Kirby Heyborne, who also read the audio adaptation of my novel Little Brother.

Listening to Scowler read aloud can only heighten the terror to a masterpiece of psychological horror. Here's my original review:

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Talking with Jeff VanderMeer about his new novel Annihilation

Rick Kleffel writes, "I sat down in my living room with Jeff VanderMeer to talk about his latest novel Annihilation, and the Southern Reach trilogy it begins. We took a break, then came back for round 2, discussing how he edit those giant anthologies with his wife Ann, and more generally, the new publishing landscape." (MP3 1, MP3 2)

Podcast: EFF, Trustycon, and The Day We Fight Back

Nathan sez, "This is Episode 9 of Embracing Disruption Podcast (EDP). In this episode I interview April Glaser from the EFF. We talk about internet activism, the EFF, TrustyCon, and The Day We Fight Back."

009 EFF, TrustyCon, and The Day We Fight Back

Podcast: What does David Cameron's Great Firewall look like?

Here's a reading of a recent Guardian column, What does David Cameron's Great Firewall look like? which debunks the UK government's stupid arguments for its national anti-porn firewall:

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Podcast: Imagineer Rolly Crump on designing the Haunted Mansion


Jeff sez, "On episode 5 of the DoomBuggies Spook Show podcast (MP3), designer Rolly Crump gives a very candid interview in which he talks about his career working on Disneyland's Haunted Mansion with Walt Disney at WED Imagineering, and tells personal stories including the time he spent working with co-tinkerer Yale Gracey designing special effects for the Haunted Mansion, and how he was drummed out of the Haunted Mansion project after Walt died."

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Scientology Remix Project: weird Scientology audio

Phineas Narco sends us The Scientology Remix Project , "Broadcast on KFJC, May 9th 2013, mixed live with JC Clone and Phineas Narco on The Mr. Pumpkinhead Show on KFJC in Los Altos Hills, CA. This was a show remixing samples having to do with, and deconstructing, the controversy of Scientology/Dianetics. Originally a four hour program presented here on bandcamp (newly today) in post-produced, synthesized, 3-hour 'Narco Edit' digest form. Available on a name-your-own-price basis."

The Scientology Remix Project

Podcast: Cheap writing tricks

Here's a reading of my latest Locus column, Cheap Writing Tricks, which discusses the mysterious business of why stories are satisfying, and how to make them so:

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Flowers From Al, written with Charles Stross (conclusion)

Here's the second, concluding part of my reading of my 2003 short story "Flowers From Al," written with Charlie Stross for New Voices in Science Fiction, a Mike Resnick anthology (Here's part one). It's a pervy, weird story of transhuman romance.

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Maker doctor builds his own rural hospital equipment out of scrap

Dr Oluyombo Awojobi founded the hospital at Eruwa, Nigeria, a rural location without consistent access to electricity. Dr Awojobi is an accomplished maker, and over 27 years, he's built a variety of vital medical apparatus out of scrounged materials.

His guiding principles are that devices should be simple and easy to repair, and should not require access to off-site power to run.

He's built an operating table with a foot-pumped jack to raise and lower it, a bike-powered centrifuge, a pedal-powered suction pump made from an inner tube, a corn-cob-powered boiler made from an old propane tank, and more.

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Lessig's corruption talk as a talking blues

Bloo sez, "With the advent of the US election cycle, it's a great time to reference a remix featuring Lessig - a blues featuring prolific ccmixter contributor

Christmastime daddy-daughter podcast with Poesy

Every year, there's a day or two between the date that my daughter's school shuts and the day that my wife's office shuts for Christmas holidays. Those are the official seasonal mid-week daddy-daughter days, and for the past two years, my daughter and I have gone to my office to record a podcast. Last year's was great (MP3), but I think we hit a new high this year (MP3).

(Photo: Jonathan Worth)

Boombox history

JVC RC 550 el diablo

Miles Lightwood is a boom box archivist. His site, Boomboxラジカセ Creators, celebrates the history of these "portable" social music machines. Collectors Weekly talked to Lightwood about his passion for badass boomboxes:

Collectors Weekly: Where did the boombox originate?

Miles Lightwood: The boombox by its typical definition—a handled, portable, radio cassette deck with one or more speakers—was actually invented in the Netherlands by Philips in 1969. The one considered the first boombox was made so that you could record from the radio onto the cassette without having any external cables for a microphone.

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More audio memoirs of Rolly Crump, pioneering Imagineer


Jeff sez, "After the success of It's Kind Of A Cute Story and More Cute Stories Vol 1, Disney Legend Rolly Crump is proud to announce the release of More Cute Stories, Volume 2: Animators and Imagineers (CD/MP3). This high-quality recording includes nearly an hour of all new stories about the people Rolly worked with at WED and the Disney Animation Department, as told by Rolly himself."

More Cute Stories, Vol 2: Animators and Imagineers

Wil Wheaton reads "Just a Geek" - audiobook

Wil Wheaton has performed and recorded an audio edition of his wonderful memoir Just a Geek. Listen for free, or pay $12 for a DRM-free download. Wil's story is an interesting and inspiring one, and he's really a wonderful reader (I loved his reading of Ready Player One).

Just A Geek: Teh Audio Book

Muzzling Canadian scientists: Comparing US and Canadian routine scientific secrecy


Canada's Conservative government has become notorious for muzzling government scientists, requiring them to speak through political minders (often callow twentysomethings with no science background who received government jobs in exchange for their work on election campaigns). Government scientists are not allowed to speak to the press alone no matter how trivial the subject, and the default position when reporters seek interviews is to turn them down. (Much of Canada's state-funded science pertains to the climate and the environment; Canada's Tories were elected with strong backing from the dirty tar sands and other polluting industries)

A group of University of British Columbia students decided to measure just how extraordinarily secretive science has become in Stephen Harper's Canada. Dave Ng writes:

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