On the Forbidden Planet blog, Jen Wang and I discuss the origin-story of In Real Life, our graphic novel, which comes out on Oct 14.
This is the third iteration of an idea that I’ve been circling around since the early 2000s. It started with a Slashdot story about a (notoriously unreliable) games developer announcing that he’d been secretly paying cheap Mexican workers to labour in a popular video-game in order to amass game-treasure that could be sold on Ebay.
That idea rolled around and around in my head and in summer 2005, I wrote a story called “Anda’s Game” (the title a play on “Ender’s Game”), which imagined labour unions taking advantage of the fact that “gold farmers” worked in a gamespace that their bosses didn’t own — a space that actually prohibited the bosses’ business! — so that they could organise workers who were otherwise not reachable.
This, in turn, related to my frustration with the dialog about globalism and labour that started in the 1980s, with the Reagan/Thatcher/Mulroney war on unions. When the car wars kicked off and jobs began to move from Detroit and southern Ontario to Mexico, the workers there acted as though the enemy was Mexicans, not their bosses.
This was profoundly ahistorical. In the early days of the labour movement, when waves of new immigrants were regularly presenting themselves as new industrial workforces, it was common for the bosses to fire striking workers from one country and replace them with scabs from another, and then use racism to play them off against each other – — “You’re the proud sons of Germany! Are you going to let some lazy Irish pig tell you that you’re not allowed to earn a buck?”
Director’s Commentary : Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang talk In Real Life [Forbidden Planet]
Jen "Klingon Pop Warrior" Usellis records covers of pop songs, translated into Klingon, the apex of which is surely her rendition of "Let it Go" ("yIbuSQo'") from Frozen. (via Borderlands)
The Lixada LED Handheld Flashlight is a $9 stocking-stuffer ($29 for 4): a six-LED/36 lumen flashlight that clips directly over the terminals of a 9V battery, forming an easy flashlight rated for up to 10,000 hours (battery life depends on whether you're switched to 6, 4 or 2 LEDs). One reviewer uses 9V batteries swapped […]
3D printing is a dumpster fire of stupid, obvious patents, but thankfully many of these are expiring; this year, the stupid patent on putting sides on a 3D printer (extrusion printers are very sensitive to errant breezes and just a puff of wind can ruin a print that took hours, just minutes before it completes).
Weighted blankets are officially a thing. And if you’ve ever tried one, you know there’s a reason for the fuss. Parents have known for generations that swaddling a baby has a profound calming effect, and the gentle pressure that blanket weights provide can have the same effect on restless sleepers. Pretty much all parts of […]
Walk through any office, and you will likely spot a few bobbleheads. These wobbly figurines are great fun to have around, although most celebrate people we will never meet. For something a little more personal, try Handmade Custom Bobbleheads. These mini caricatures are sculpted and painted by skilled artisans, based on any photo you provide. […]
In the early days of the web, everyone wanted a .com domain for their site. As a result, all the good ones got snapped up. But .com no longer has the cachet it once did. In fact, many new businesses and individuals are opting for other top-level domain extensions. One of the most memorable is […]