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Writers against mass surveillance


A group of writers from around the world, including Nobel laureates, have signed onto a petition calling on the world's governments to limit online surveillance. I was honored to be asked to be among the initial signatories, in good company with the likes of Margaret Atwood, Don DeLillo, Martin Amis, Günter Grass, Pico Ayer, Will Self, Irvine Welsh, Jeanette Winterson, Lionel Shriver, Paul Auster, Dave Eggers, Jonathan Lethem, and many, many others. The petition is now open for your signature in support of a set of simple, important core principles:

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Boing Boing Charitable Giving Guide 2013

Here's a guide to the charities the Boingers support in our own annual giving. As always, please add the causes and charities you give to in the comments below!


Electronic Frontier Foundation
Could there be a year that's more relevant to the EFF? As Edward Snowden has made abundantly clear, there is a titantic, historic battle underway to determine whether the Internet is there to liberate us or to enslave us. EFF's on the right side of history, and I figure giving them all I can afford is a cheap hedge against the NSA's version of the future. —CD



Creative Commons
CC continues to make a difference -- this year, they released the 4.0 version of their flexible licenses, a major milestone. More than anyone else, CC has reframed the way we talk about creativity and copyright in the Internet era, providing practical, easy-to-use tools to make it possible for creators and audiences to work together in a shared mission of creating and enjoying culture.—CD

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Samuel R Delany named a science fiction Grand Master


The incredible, incomparable Samuel R Delany has been named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America. It's hard to imagine a writer more deserving. You should really read his whole canon, but if I had to pick just one, it'd be Stars in My Pockets Like Grains of Sand, an extraordinary book even among his extraordinary body of work.

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Weird Tales seeking Tesla fiction!

Wt361 cover Starting tomorrow, the current incarnation of Weird Tales magazine is opening up to fiction submissions. They're looking specifically for stories that fit the theme of two upcoming issues: "Ice" and Nikola Tesla, "devoted to strange takes on the inventor who loved pigeons and intercontinental wireless transmission. These stories should have Nicola Tesla as a character, or at least a presence." Weird Tales: Opening to Fiction Subs! And New Submissions Editor! (Thanks, Dave Gill!)

Cory coming to Melbourne next week for four events

I'm heading to Melbourne, Australia next week to do a series of events with the Center for Youth Literature of the State Library of Victoria. I'm doing four events: The science of fiction, Creative versus Commons, Digital fiction masterclass, and Future fiction with teens. I hope you'll come out to them!

Sf writers on writing, for Nanowrimo

Nina writes, "In honor of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, five acclaimed science fiction writers deconstruct their creative process and tell us what motivates them to write."

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A conversation with Terry Pratchett, author of The Carpet People

Cory Doctorow and the famed author discuss building worlds, the legitimacy of authority, and the future.

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Charlie Stross on spooks: paranoid, fumbling, all-powerful

Charlie Stross, who's written a rather wonderful series of spy novels disguised as fat fantasy novels, has a fabulous riff on the surrealism of spies, who are often incompetent, paranoid nutcases, vested with terrifyingly limitless power.

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Microsoft Word considered harmful

Charlie Stross really, really hates Microsoft Word. So much so that he's written a 1600-word essay laying out the case for Word as a great destroyer of creativity, an agent of anticompetitive economic destruction, and an enemy of all that's decent and right in the world. It's actually a pretty convincing argument.

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Trailer for Wonderbook: an illustrated guide to creative imaginative fiction

Jeff VanderMeer sez, "Greg Bossert (who's actually also a World Fantasy Award finalist this year!) put together a cool animated video based on the instructional story fish in Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction."

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Help Nebula Award winning author Eugie Foster meet her cancer bills

Nebula Award winning writer/editor Eugie Foster has aggressive cancer in her sinuses, and while she's insured, her insurance sucks. She's asking her friends and colleagues to help her make ends meet. She's got a ton of books and ebooks for sale -- or you can PayPal her at eugie@eugiefoster.com.

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Gonzo essay on the limits of chip design

The term "gonzo journalism" gets thrown around pretty loosely, generally referring to stuff that's kind of shouty or over-the-top, but really gonzo stuff is completely, totally bananas. Case in point is James Mickens's The Slow Winter [PDF], a wonderfully lunatic account of the limitations of chip-design that will almost certainly delight you as much as it did me.

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Writing the Other workshop, Chattanooga

Mary Robinette Kowal sez, "Many authors struggle to write beyond what they know and write the other. While conventions are tackling this material, there is frequently not enough time to delve into this tricky and nuanced skill. The Writing the Other Workshop and Retreat is designed to have lessons and conversations at a more advanced level. By pairing it with a retreat, we give the participants an opportunity to work on projects in a nurturing environment. This weeklong event gives you one on one time with the instructors David Anthony Durham, K. Tempest Bradford, Mary Robinette Kowal, Nisi Shawl, and Cynthia Ward."

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The best pen

According to Wirecutter's survey of top pen bloggers, it's the Uniball Jetstream.

My own favorite, the Pilot Precise (pictured above) comes in joint second place.

Of course, there's rarely any reason not to just use a pencil.

RIP, Ann "AC" Crispin

Ann Crispin -- science fiction writer, crusader against scams, Star Trek novelist, and nice person -- has died. She wrote of her own impending death, "I want to thank you all for your good wishes and prayers. I fear my condition is deteriorating. I am doing the best I can to be positive but I probably don’t have an awful lot of time left. I want you all to know that I am receiving excellent care and am surrounded by family and friends." Ann taught a writing workshop at a Toronto science fiction convention I attended as a teenager, and gave me good advice that I took to heart. I never forgot it. Good bye, Ann.