"benjamin rosenbaum"

Kickstarting Dream Askew and Dream Apart, no-dice, no-GM RPGs about radical justice, queers and Jewish shtetl life

Dream Askew and Dream Apart are "no-dice, no masters" RPGs where players collaborate to tell stories together without dice or dungeon masters: Dream Askew uses the system to create campaigns in "a queer enclave enduring the collapse of civilization" and Dream Apart is set in "a Jewish shtetl in a fantastical-historical Eastern Europe." Read the rest

Leave your kids alone: a free-range parenting journey

Writing in Boston Magazine, Katherine Ozment recounts how she went from hovering over her kids to keep them from harm to adopting a hands-off regime that let them take risks and play on their own. I had dinner last night with my writing-collaborator Benjamin Rosenbaum and he said he saw his duty as a parent as "preventing damage," not "preventing pain" -- pain (emotional and physical) teaches us a lot, and parents need to allow some measure of it in their kids' lives to help them learn important lessons, but a parent also should intervene to prevent pain from giving rise to damage. Knowing the difference is tricky -- of course.

My heart sank. How times had changed. I still remember the time my two older brothers built an igloo in our front yard. It had a domed roof and arched entrance, and they strung an overhead work lamp from the ceiling and laid out a small rug so we could all sit in it for hours. Witnessing my children’s paltry fort-making skills, I thought, Is this what our kids will remember of winter — digging little holes in the snow as their mother hovered nearby? Where has the childhood I once knew gone?

In my nine years as a parent, I’ve followed the rules, protocols, and cultural cues that have promised to churn out well-rounded, happy, successful children. I’ve psychoanalyzed my kids’ behavior, supervised an avalanche of activities, and photo-documented their day-to-day existence as if I were a wildlife photographer on the Serengeti.

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True Names in Polish

"True Names," the Hugo-nominated novella that Benjamin Rosenbaum and I published in 2008, has been republished in a CC-licensed Polish edition, courtesy of Ireneusz Dybczyński. Read the rest

The Guy Who Worked For Money: A Shareable future

My sometimes-collaborator Benjamin Rosenbaum has written a story called "The Guy Who Worked For Money" for Shareable.net's "Shareable Futures" series, science fiction stories about a future in which sharing is the norm. Other installments are Bruce Sterling's "The Exterminator's Want-Ad" and my "The Jammie Dodgers and the Adventure of the Leicester Square Screening":

"I didn't mean it like -- you're a banker?" Nera sent an urgent message to her mouth to stop talking, but apparently it had to go by carrier pigeon. "Literally? Is that even legal?"

"Oh Nera, come on," Malka said, laughing. "Do you read anyone's page before you meet them?"

"It's definitely legal," Jörg said, "Outlawing money exchange would lead to even more extreme distortions in our metrics than we've got." His fingers flicked, his eyes briefly on a point above her head, and more incoming green pinged at the corner of her vision, but she wasn't going to read his goddamn footnotes in the middle of the party. "The Free Society doesn't compete on force or fiat, it outperforms on joy. Wherever there's a reversion to the money economy, that's a signal of a deficit of either trust, satisfaction ability, or information flow. It's better to let that signal manifest rather than --"

"All right, all right," Malka said, patting Jörg on the shoulder. Jörg smiled his goofy grin.

The Guy Who Worked For Money

(Image: 337/365: The Big Money, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No-Derivative-Works (2.0) image from daviddmuir's photostream) Read the rest

Fighting spam with captured botnet hosts

Clever spamfighters are allowing botnets to infect one isolated computer, then analyzing the spams it sends to figure out the template used to generate its messages. This template is then propagated to spam-filters:

"This is an interesting approach which really differs by using the bots themselves as the oracles for producing the filters," says Michael O'Reirdan, chairman of the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group, a coalition of technology companies. But he adds that botnets have grown so large that even a 1-minute delay in cracking the template would be "long enough for a very substantial spam campaign".

Funny: this was a sub-plot in True Names, the Hugo-nominated novella that Benjamin Rosenbaum and I published last year.

To beat spam, turn its own weapons against it

(Image: File:Zombie-process.png png, Wikimedia)

Previously: Have botnet prices crashed? - Boing Boing Awesomely bad spam - Boing Boing Dream Captcha for spam-free sleep - Boing Boing Paintings inspired by spam subject-lines - Boing Boing Hank Paulson's bailout 419 letter - Boing Boing Boing Boing: The Strange World of Blogspot Spam Blogs Flarf: highfalutin word for spam/wordjunque poetry - Boing Boing Read the rest

True Names: story podcast about the warring superintelligences of the Singularity

I've just posted the first installment of a podcast reading of a new novella that I co-wrote with Hugo- and Nebula-nominee Benjamin Rosenbaum. The story's a big, 32,000-word piece called "True Names" (in homage to Vernor Vinge's famous story of the same name), and it involves the galactic wars between vast, post-Singularity intelligences that are competing to corner the universe's supply of computation before the heat-death of the universe.

Ben and I will be reading the story in weekly installments, taking turns as our schedules allow. The reading is Creative Commons licensed -- Attribution-ShareAlike-NonCommercial -- and the story itself will be published this fall in Fast Forward 2, Lou Anders' followup to his knockout 2007 anthology, Fast Forward (regular Boing Boing readers will remember Paul Di Filippo's Wikiworld story from that volume). Lou's given us permission to post the story's text simultaneous with the book's publication, under the same Creative Commons license.

I had a nearly illegal amount of fun working on this story with Ben, who is a gonzo comp-sci geek with a real flair for phrasing, and I hope you'll enjoy hearing it as much as we enjoyed writing it!

Link, Podcast feed Read the rest

Hugo nominees announced

This year's Hugo nominees are out -- congrats to all the great nominees! It's amazing to see great books like "Glasshouse," "Rainbows End," and "Blindsight" on the ballot, along with stories like Ian McDonald's "The Djinn's Wife," Bill Shunn's "Inclination," Geoff Ryman's "Pol Pot's Beautiful Daughter," Ben Rosenbaum's "The House Beyond Your Sky" not to mention Neil Gaiman's "How to Talk to Girls at Parties," Tim Pratt's "Impossible Dreams" -- and the list goes on! An art book by Picacio, a bio of Alice Sheldon, a memoir by Chip Delany; badass movies like Children of Men and V for Vendetta, and a really top-flight list of Campbell nominees! Christ, it's going to be hard to pick favorites this year.

Novel Michael F. Flynn, Eifelheim (Tor) Naomi Novik, His Majesty’s Dragon (Del Rey) Charles Stross, Glasshouse (Ace) Vernor Vinge, Rainbows End (Tor) Peter Watts, Blindsight (Tor)

Novella “The Walls of the Universe” by Paul Melko (Asimov’s, April/May 2006) “A Billion Eyes” by Robert Reed (Asimov’s, October/November 2006) “Inclination” by William Shunn (Asimov’s, April/May 2006) “Lord Weary’s Empire” by Michael Swanwick (Asimov’s, December 2006) Julian: A Christmas Story by Robert Charles Wilson (PS Publishing)

Novelette “Yellow Card Man” by Paolo Bacigalupi (Asimov’s, December 2006) “Dawn, and Sunset, and the Colours of the Earth” by Michael F. Flynn (Asimov’s, December 2006) “The Djinn’s Wife” by Ian McDonald (Analog, July 2006) “All the Things You Are” by Mike Resnick (Jim Baen’s Universe, October 2006) “Pol Pot’s Beautiful Daughter” by Geoff Ryman (F&SF, October/November 2006)

Short Story “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” by Neil Gaiman (Fragile Things) “Kin” by Bruce McAllister (Asimov’s, February 2006) “Impossible Dreams” by Timothy Pratt (Asimov’s, July 2006) “Eight Episodes” by Robert Reed (Asimov’s, June 2006) “The House Beyond Your Sky” by Benjamin Rosenbaum (Strange Horizons, September 2006)

Related Book Samuel R.

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Cory at Chicago group-signing next Sunday

Next Sunday, May 1, I'll be participating in a group book-signing in Chicago, following on from the Nebula Awards banquet the night before. Other signers include Kevin J. Anderson, Lois McMaster Bujold, Eric Flint, Janis Ian, Geoffrey Landis, Todd McCaffrey, Jack McDevitt, Rebecca Moesta Anderson, Mike Resnick, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Steven H Silver, Laurel Winter and W.R. Yates. Hope to see you there!

When: Sunday, May 1, 11AM-1PM

Where: Borders, 150 North State Street, Chicago, IL (312.606.0750)

Link Read the rest

Diamonds are for pussies

Fuck diamonds. Isotopes are a girl's best friend. Let others dream of ice this Valentine's Day -- real men procure hunks of ultra-highly-irradiated uranium ore for their honeys. And they buy it online, for $45.00 a shot.

They deliver it with postapocalyptic bouquets of Man-in-The-Moon Marigolds, then they make sweet radioactive love in the blue-green glow of nuclear lust. Nine months later, they have four-armed babies who grow up to be frag champions in the offworld Olympic Electronic Games.

Snip from the website where, honest to Zogg, I'm told you can buy this stuff right now:

"[Shown,] a larger Torbernite sample measuring over 2.25' across. Although not very visible in the photograph, the rock features large patches of absolutely brilliant, emerald green crystals, and some very large crystal plates. The crystals shimmer & look beautiful under bright light. This is currently our most active sample in this category at over 27,000 CPM. Samples such as this are very difficult to obtain due to the civil unrest in the Congo. As time goes on, these Uranium ore samples will rapidly climb in value. Imported from the People's Republic of Congo, Africa."

Link (Thanks, Siege, whose worksafe photography site is here.).

Update: For the record, I filed this post in jest. I am not actually suggesting that you purchase Congolese Torbernite, particularly if you're trying to get laid on Valentine's Day. Why? First, because, hello, it's fucking radioactive. Secondly, as Boing Boing reader Benjamin Rosenbaum points out, it appears to be a product of the same deeply corrupt, violent economic system that surrounds production of most of the world's diamonds. Read the rest

Ben Rosenbaum story under remixable CC license

Benjamin Rosenbaum is one of the best new science fiction writers working in the field today. He's just released his story "Start the Clock" (originally published in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction) under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Sharealike license that allows you to mix your own versions. It's a fine story and a brave experiment:

The real estate agent for Pirateland was old. Nasty old. It's harder to tell with Geezers, but she looked to be somewhere in her Thirties. They don't have our suppleness of skin, but with the right oils and powders they can avoid most of the wrinkles. This one hadn't taken much care. There were furrows around her eyes and eyebrows.

She had that Mommystyle thing going on: blue housedress, frilly apron, Betty Crocker white gloves. If you're going to be running around this part of Montana sporting those gigantic, wobbly breasts and hips, I guess it's a necessary form of obeisance.

She said something to someone in the back of her van, then hurried up the walk toward us. "It's a lovely place," she called. "And a very nice area."

"Look, Suze, it's your mom," Tommy whispered in my ear. His breath tickled. I pushed him.

It was deluxe, I'll give her that. We were standing under the fity-foot prow of the galleon we'd come to see. All around us a flotilla of men-of-war, sloops, frigates, and cutters rode the manicured lawns and steel-gray streets. Most of the properties were closed up, the lawns pristine.

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Cory's final WorldCon schedule

I'm in Dallas Ft Worth airport en route from an EFF gig in Chile to Boston for the WorldCon and thought I'd post my finalized WorldCon schedule, which has a couple minor changes from the last time around:

* THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 2:

6PM: Unlimited Access: Issues involving unlicensed access to spectrum. With Harold Feld from the the Media Access Project.

* FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 3:

10AM: Group reading from The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases

11AM: Locus Award ceremony

5PM: Drunk on Technology: With Patrick Nielsen Hayden and Charlie Stross

* SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 4:

12PM: The End of Copyright: Can the Arts Survive the Digital Age? With Charlie Petit, Daniel Grotta, Steve Miller, and James M. Turner

1PM: Tradeoffs between Freedom, Security, and Privacy. With Joseph Lazzaro, Teresa Nielsen Hayden and Don Sakers

2:30-3PM: Charlie Stross and I will be signing our new short novel, Rapture of the Nerds, just published in the new issue of Argosy Magazine, at the Borderlands Books table in the Dealers' Room

5PM: Postcapitalist Social Mechanisms. With M. M. Buckner, David Friedman, Benjamin Rosenbaum and Charlie Stross

* SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 5:

10:30AM Ebooks: Neither E Nor Books. A recapitulation of my talk at the O'Reilly Emerging Tech Conference

4PM: Reading

5PM: Sign at the Asimov's Magazine table in the Dealer's Room

6PM: Group signing for Re/Visions anthology in Room 107 in the Hynes

* MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 6:

11AM: Kaffeeklatsch

12-12:30: International Copyright Issues

Link Read the rest

Cory's WorldCon schedule

Well, I'm off for a week-and-chage-worth of holidays in a couple hours -- I really need it! I'll see you again in ten days or so.

Meanwhile, here's my schedule for the World Science Fiction Convention in Boston this Labor Day -- hope to see you:

* THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 2:

4PM: Unlimited Access: Issues involving unlicensed access to spectrum. With Harold Feld from the the Media Access Project.

* FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 3:

10AM: Group reading from The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases

11AM: Locus Award ceremony

5PM: Drunk on Technology: With Patrick Nielsen Hayden and Charlie Stross

* SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 4:

12PM: The End of Copyright: Can the Arts Survive the Digital Age? With Charlie Petit, Daniel Grotta, Steve Miller, and James M. Turner

1PM: Tradeoffs between Freedom, Security, and Privacy. With Joseph Lazzaro, Teresa Nielsen Hayden and Don Sakers

2:30-3PM: Charlie Stross and I will be signing our new short novel, Rapture of the Nerds, just published in the new issue of Argosy Magazine, at the Borderlands Books table in the Dealers' Room

5PM: Postcapitalist Social Mechanisms. With M. M. Buckner, David Friedman, Benjamin Rosenbaum and Charlie Stross

* SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 5:

10:30AM Ebooks: Neither E Nor Books. A recapitulation of my talk at the O'Reilly Emerging Tech Conference

4PM: Reading

5PM: Sign at the Asimov's Magazine table in the Dealer's Room

* MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 6:

11AM: Kaffeeklatsch

12-12:30: International Copyright Issues

Link Read the rest

Benjamin Rosenbaum's "The Orange" online and CC-licensed

Benjamin Rosenbaum, whose knockout story "The Ant King: A California Fairytale" convinced me that he was desitined to be one of the great talents in science fiction, has Creative-Commons-licensed his story "The Orange," which originally appeared was reprinted in Harper's Magazine (selling an sf story to Harper's is itself quite a coup!).

An orange ruled the world.

It was an unexpected thing, the temporary abdication of Heavenly Providence, entrusting the whole matter to a simple orange.

The orange, in a grove in Florida, humbly accepted the honor. The other oranges, the birds, and the men in their tractors wept with joy; the tractors' motors rumbled hymns of praise.

Airplane pilots passing over would circle the grove and tell their passengers, "Below us is the grove where the orange who rules the world grows on a simple branch." And the passengers would be silent with awe.

Link

(Thanks, Ben!) Read the rest

Argosy Magazine reborn

Argosy Magazine got a nice write-up in the Birmingham News. Charlie Stross and I just turned in a novella for the next ish of Argosy, a sequel to Jury Service, called "Appeals Court." Argosy is publishing both stories together in a perfect-bound package, as a fix-up novel called "Rapture of the Nerds."

The original Argosy ran from 1896 to 1943, publishing stories by authors as noted as fantasist Edgar Rice Burroughs, Western author Louis L'Amour and mystery writer Dashiell Hammett. One of the first pulp fiction magazines, Argosy crossed genre boundaries before those boundaries were sharply defined...

The first issue, which came out in November, featured contemporary fantasy by Jeffrey Ford; suspense by Ann Cummins; a science fiction/horror story by Caitlin R. Kiernan; mystery by Barry Baldwin; an interview of groundbreaking science fiction author Samuel R. Delany by author Adam Roberts; a history of Argosy by Rick Klaw; and science fiction by Benjamin Rosenbaum.

Each issue includes a separately bound novella, with both volumes packaged in a single slipcase. The first issue's novella, "The Mystery of the Texas Twister" (an alternate-history Western with "undercurrents of political satire," Anders said), was written by famed fantasy author Michael Moorcock and illustrated by Jon Foster.

LInk Read the rest

Benjamin Rosenbaum, the talented science

Benjamin Rosenbaum, the talented science fiction writer responsible for "The Ant King: A California Fairy Tale," is doing a monthly series of vignettes describing fantastic stories on StrangeHorizons, an online sf magazine. Wonderful stuff.

The Censors' Building is in an olive grove gone wild (olive oil is no longer among the principal products of Bellur), and during their afternoon break and their evening break the censors wander the groves, picking and nibbling on the bitter olives, searching for inspiration. Censorship in Bellur is an art, it is the Queen of the Arts. Other cities celebrate their poets or sculptors, offer the world their playwrights and clowns; Bellur, its censors. The censors of Bellur can censor the twentieth part of the thickness of one serif of the letter h in 10-point Garamond type, and alter the meaning of a poem entirely; they can censor four thousand pages of a four thousand and fifty page novel, and leave its meaning intact. But this is not the extent of their art; these are mere parlor tricks, mere editorishness. Censorship is a dance with history; by censoring the right word at the right historical moment, the gifted censor can unleash or throttle a revolution.

LinkDiscuss Read the rest

Fabulous vignette by the magnificent

Fabulous vignette by the magnificent new sf writer, Benjamin Rosenbaum. If you can find a copy of the July issue of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, scarf it up and devour his brilliant, comical, touching debut short story, "The Ant King: A California Fairy Tale." Not since Bradley Denton's "The Calvin Coolidge Home for Dead Comedians" and David Marusek's "The Wedding Party" have I been so gobsmacked by a short story in a magazine.

A light bulb salesman fell in love with a duck.

He followed the duck to Canada in his little red van, the light bulbs rattling and clicking in their cases.

Past trout, moose, and grizzly bears, and into the tundra, he drove the van, calling to his duck beloved, "Sarah, my darling, will you come to me, will you lay your small head against my knees?"

Driving, sleeping, he dreamt of the duck, of kissing her webbed feet, of laughing together by the lakeside, of holding a can of beer for her to drink from in the summer night.

Link Discuss (Thanks, Pat!) Read the rest

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