Boing Boing 

Andy Offutt, insanely prolific porn pioneer


Chris Offutt, son of Andrew J Offutt, a golden age science fiction author, reveals that his father wrote and published hundreds of early porn novels, pioneering descriptions of the clitoris in men's stroke-books, producing at least one book a month.

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SF/F writers: apply now for Clarion and Clarion West

Applications are open for both the Clarion Writing Workshop at UC San Diego and the Clarion west workshop in Seattle, a pair of legendary, six-week intensive instructional summer workshops for aspiring science fiction and fantasy writers.

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Downpour.com: audiobooks without the DRM


I love audiobooks, but I hate DRM (actually, I think it's an existential threat to humanity), and since Audible requires all its books to be sold with DRM (even when the publishers object), that's left me with limited options -- until 2014, when I discovered Downpour.

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How Kazuo Ishiguro wrote "Remains of the Day" in 4 weeks

In 1987, motivated by anxiety over his inability to produce a followup novel to his earlier sucesses, Ishiguru made a deal with his wife Lorna: he would write every day from 9h-2230h, with brief meal-breaks, 6 days a week: four weeks later, he finished Remains of the Day.

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Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: the audiobook, read by Wil Wheaton


I've independently produced an audiobook edition of my nonfiction book Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age, paying Wil Wheaton to narrate it (he did such a great job on the Homeland audiobook, with a mixdown by the wonderful John Taylor Williams, and bed-music from Amanda Palmer and Dresden Dolls.

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Interview with fantasy writer Tim Powers about being a "secret historian"

Mitch writes, "I interviewed fantasy novelist Tim Powers about how he writes. We talked about working through story problems, using YouTube as a secret weapon, why he avoids social media, and his obsessively detailed outlines and research notes. 'In order to build a building, you put up so much scaffolding that the scaffolding outweighs the building.'"

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Help Spider Robinson's daughter pay her cancer bills


Writer Spider Robinson writes, "My daughter Terri Luanna da Silva, a Stage IV breast cancer patient since 2011, is now in hospice in the Palliative Care wing of Middlesex Hospital, 28 Crescent St, Middletown CT 06457-36454. She is not expected to recover. (No visitors, please. But cards and flowers are welcome.)"

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Behind the scenes at Saga

Hey, Brian K. Vaughan here with an exclusive excerpt for my friends at Boing Boing of the creator roundtable between artist Fiona Staples, letterer Fonografiks, and Image Comics publisher Eric Stephenson featured in the back of SAGA: BOOK ONE, a new hardcover collection of our first eighteen issues. As the writer, I have arguably the easiest job of any of my collaborators, but check out how much I whine and complain at the scripting stage of our twelve-step process…

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Come ask me questions on IO9!

I'm doing a live Q&A on IO9 about my book Information Doesn't Want to Be Free at 1PM eastern/10AM Pacific today -- come on along!

Stories are a fuggly hack


My latest Locus Magazine column is Stories Are a Fuggly Hack, in which I point out the limits of storytelling as an artform, and bemoan all the artists from other fields -- visual art, music -- who aspire to storytelling in order to make their art.

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Paolo Bacigalupi and AS King on writing


Rick Kleffel writes, "I spoke with Paolo Bacigalupi (MP3) and A. S. (Amy) King (MP3 about SF, YA and comparing their different methods of composition (MP3) with predictably entertaining and smart results."

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Why (and how) games are art


I sat down for an interview with the LA Times's Hero Complex to talk about my book In Real Life (I'm touring it now: Chicago tomorrow, then Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Warsaw, London...), and found myself giving a pretty good account of why games are art, and how the art of games works:

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Scott Westerfeld's Afterworlds

Scott Westerfeld’s latest novel, Afterworlds is a book about a teenager who’s just sold her first book. It’s a story-within-a-story, and it works brilliantly. Cory Doctorow unpacks the nesting tales of Darcy Patel and Elizabeth Scofield.

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The Red Volume: benefit anthology of stories by Clarion SF/F workshop grads

Lara Elena Donnelly writes, "The Clarion class of 2012--known as the Awkward Robots--want to tell you a story. Or, more precisely, 17 stories. About post-singularity dreamscapes, gentrified haunted houses, and redcaps in the trenches at Verdun."

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Smart critical essays on the women of Terry Pratchett


This long-running series of essays by Australian fantasy author Tansy Rayner Roberts combine real affection for Pratchett's marvellous Discworld books with sharp critical insights on the portrayal of women in fantasy; historically, one of the more problematic genres for the portrayal of women.

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High-school English study guide for Homeland, the sequel to Little Brother

Neil Anderson from the Association from Media Literacy (which has a great-sounding upcoming conference) has produced an excellent study guide for my novel Homeland (the sequel to Little Brother) -- Anderson's guide encourages critical thinking about politics, literary technique, technology, privacy, surveillance, and history.

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Lisa Tuttle on the Starshipsofa podcast

Tony C Smith writes, You can listen to the 1974 John W. Campbell Award winning Lisa Tuttle on this week's StarShipSofa (MP3) -- Tuttle is an American-born science fiction, fantasy, and horror author who's published more than a dozen novels, seven short story collections, and several non-fiction titles."

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Confronting Lovecraft's racism


Award-winning horror writer David Nickle has been repeatedly frustrated in his attempts to have a frank and serious discussion of HP Lovecraft's undeniable racism; people want to hand-wave it as being a product of Lovecraft's times, but it is inseparable from Lovecraft's fiction.

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On writing fantasy: it's Narnia business


Lev Grossman, author of The Magician's Land, recalls the journey that took him from a Harvard and Yale-prescribed life of reading classics to writing fantasy novels, and how much it liberated him.

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Clarion West 2015 science fiction/fantasy workshop instructor list

I'm teaching, as are Andy Duncan, Eileen Gunn, Tobias Buckell, Connie Willis and Nalo Hopkinson.

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Photos of writers at work


Ernst writes, "For over three years, I've been collecting photos of writers at work, including Hemingway, Faulkner, Didion, but also modern day authors like Safran Foer and... Cory Doctorow. My collection consists over 400 photos now." Although watching people type is canonically dull, there's a lot of motion and potential in these portraits (above: Pearl Buck)

Mary Robinette Kowal and Jane Austen: separated at birth by a time-traveller


(Left: Mary Robinette Kowal. Right: Jane Austen, photo by TV West Country/Katie Rowlett)

Mary Robinette Kowal writes regency novels like Shades of Milk and Honey that blend magic with the milieu of Jane Austen.

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An American in Yemen: unlikely and wonderful tourism


Polish-American software developer Maciej Cegłowski decided to take a holiday in Yemen's capital city of Sana'a, home to breathtaking, 600-year-old skyscrapers that look like gingerbread houses.

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Elements of Spook Style

The terrible writing and design of spook memos and Powerpoint slides have come to the fore since June 2013. However, that doesn't mean that there's not some pretty good style guides available for America's brave spooks. USA USA USA.

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Novel-writing is very energy-efficient

How much energy is expended in all the keypresses made in the course of typing a novel? Not much: "With a lot of rewrites, you might expend several kilojoules—but you'd need to rewrite every word 10 times to match the energy stored in a single AA battery." [XKCD What If?]

Jay Lake, on blogging your own death

jaylake

Simon Owens writes, "I got a chance to interview Jay Lake extensively not long before his death and wrote a long profile on him and his cancer blogging that explores the impact he's had, both on the cancer and science fiction communities. He spoke extensively on what he hoped his legacy would be and how he'd be remembered after he died."

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RIP, Jay Lake


The first time I had a proper conversation with Jay Lake, it was after the 2006 Los Angeles World Science Fiction convention; I was invited to a dinner with a bunch of other Campbell Award winners from years gone by. It was the year John Scalzi won the award, and I want to say it was me, him, Jay and Elizabeth Bear, though these dinners do blend together and I may be missing a name.

The last time I had a proper conversation with Jay Lake, it was last July, at the San Diego Comic Con, where Jay was in a wheelchair, and when I asked him how he was, he said he was dying, and that he wasn't going to last more than about six months. He was frank about this, and seemed to have made some peace with it. His daughter, the other people around him, we all knew he was dying. He didn't let us get maudlin. But every conversation I had with him meant something, because I had gotten to know Jay by then, and to know what a fantastic person and what a fantastic writer he was. I made a conscious effort to fix every interaction in my mind. I hugged him goodbye when I left. He was still a bear of a man, but unmistakably frail.

Jay died today.

He'd had cancer for years, and had been brave about it, and had fought. He even beat it for a while. Not long ago, though, it became clear that he was going to lose. Every time I saw Jay thereafter, he was the model of a person who was looking death in its snake-eyed gaze and not allowing the fear to paralyze him.

But I think he was afraid, and his loss -- like the loss of every single person who is taken by cancer -- represents a loss to us all. Not just because he was a prolific, imaginative and talented writer. Not just because he was a devoted father and a very good friend. Not even because he was a good man. He was every one of those things.

But we lost something today when Jay died, because every person who dies of a mindless, terrible, awful disease like cancer costs our species something.

Good-bye Jay. You are missed already.

From the official announcement:

If you want to make a contribution in Jay’s name, please make it to:
Clayton Memorial Medical Fund
c/o OSFCI
P.O. Box 5703
Portland, Oregon 97228

See also:

* John Scalzi

* Tor.com

Clarion SF/F writeathon: write, sponsor writers, help a new generation

Once again, it's time for the Clarion Writers Workshop writeathon - we need writers and sponsors to help fund the Clarion Workshop, the respected, long-running science fiction writers' bootcamp. A writeathon is just what is sounds like: a fundraiser where writers ask their friends to sponsor their writing. I'm writing 1,000 words a day, five days a week, on UTOPIA (working tile), a novel for adults: you can sponsor me here. (Disclosure: I'm proud to volunteer as a board member for the 501(c)3 nonprofit Clarion Foundation)

You should try the 1913 Webster's, seriously


James Somers thinks you should switch to the Websters 1913 dictionary, and he cites John McPhee's composition method of looking up synonyms for problematic words as the key to his peerless prose style. Somers makes a great case for the romance of historical dictionaries, but for my money (literally -- I spent a fortune on this one), the hands-down best reference for synonyms and historical language reference is the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary, whose magnificence cannot be overstated.

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Interfictions: A Journal of Interstitial Arts

Ellen Kushner writes, "The editors of Interfictions Online are happy to announce the birth of the journal's latest issue, the third in the past twelve months of the trailblazing journal of the weird, the interstitial, and the uncategorizable. Interfictions: A Journal of Interstitial Arts is published online by the Interstitial Arts Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit devoted to giving border-crossing artists, academics, critics and the general public a forum and a focus to discuss and create works of art that defy categories and confound boundaries.

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