"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.

Read the rest

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

Hugo ballot is up -- Little Brother up for best novel!

Hot damn! The 2009 Hugo Awards ballot is live and it's a doozy, and not just because I'm on it twice (Best Novel: Little Brother and Best Novella: True Names, with Ben Rosenbaum). No, it's better than that -- the entire ballot is just killer, especially my competition in the Best Novel category (hell, three quarters of the authors were invited to my wedding, and I'd have been delighted to have the remaining one in attendance). A million thanks to all of you who nominated both works!

I can't wait to see who wins (and no matter who wins, I can't wait for the annual Hugo Losers party, which is bound to be a hell of a thing and a half). I'm going to the WorldCon for the awards, of course -- my tux is hanging in its dry-cleaning bag awaiting its annual airing.

And hey, look at that, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, who edited Little Brother, is also up for Best Editor!

Best Novel * Anathem by Neal Stephenson (Morrow; Atlantic UK) * The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins; Bloomsbury UK) * Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (Tor Teen; HarperVoyager UK) – Free download * Saturn’s Children by Charles Stross (Ace; Orbit UK) * Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi (Tor)

Best Novella * “The Erdmann Nexus” by Nancy Kress (Asimov’s Oct/Nov 2008) * “The Political Prisoner” by Charles Coleman Finlay (F&SF Aug 2008) – Read Online * “The Tear” by Ian McDonald (Galactic Empires) * “True Names” by Benjamin Rosenbaum & Cory Doctorow (Fast Forward 2) – Free download * “Truth” by Robert Reed (Asimov’s Oct/Nov 2008)

Best Novelette * “Alastair Baffle’s Emporium of Wonders” by Mike Resnick (Asimov’s Jan 2008) – Read Online * “The Gambler” by Paolo Bacigalupi (Fast Forward 2) – Read Online * “Pride and Prometheus” by John Kessel (F&SF Jan 2008) * “The Ray-Gun: A Love Story” by James Alan Gardner (Asimov’s Feb 2008) – Read Online * “Shoggoths in Bloom” by Elizabeth Bear (Asimov’s Mar 2008) – Read Online

Best Short Story

* “26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss” by Kij Johnson (Asimov’s Jul 2008) – Read Online * “Article of Faith” by Mike Resnick (Baen’s Universe Oct 2008) * “Evil Robot Monkey” by Mary Robinette Kowal (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Volume Two) * “Exhalation” by Ted Chiang (Eclipse Two) * “From Babel’s Fall’n Glory We Fled” by Michael Swanwick (Asimov’s Feb 2008)

Another thing about this ballot -- it's the copyfightingest ballots in my memory, filled with writers and editors who advocate for sharing, fanfic, and looser copyrights. Read the rest

Locus award for best sf of 2008 ballot online

It's time again for Locus Magazine's annual public poll of the best works in science fiction for the preceding year, with the winners taking home the prestigious Locus Awards. I've been privileged to win several of these awards, and they're among the highest honors I've ever been paid. The Locus Awards are open to the general public, and attract more voting participation than any other award in the field.

I'm on the ballot again this year, three times: Little Brother (Best Young Adult), The Things That Make Me Weak and Strange Get Engineered Away (Best Novelette) and True Names (with Benjamin Rosenbaum, Best Novella). Looking at this year's nominees, it's clear that I'm in damned good company.

Happy voting!

2009 Locus Poll and Survey Ballot

(via Charlie Stross)

Previously: Locus Magazine critics' choice for best sf of 2008 - Boing Boing Locus Magazine critics' choice for best sf of 2007 - Boing Boing Read the rest

Locus Magazine critics' choice for best sf of 2008

Locus Magazine has published its annual roundup of the top science fiction of 2008. As with every year, this is a fabulous starting point for anyone who wants to get up to speed with what the field has on its mind these days -- there's a lot of breadth and gusto in these selections. What's more, they were kind enough to select three of my works for inclusion: Little Brother (Best Young Adult), The Things That Make Me Weak and Strange Get Engineered Away (Best Novelette) and True Names (with Benjamin Rosenbaum, Best Novella). Happy reading!

2008 Recommended Reading List

(via Scalzi)


Locus Magazine critics' choice for best sf of 2007 - Boing Boing Read the rest

Online Hugo nominating ballot is live!

A couple weeks ago, I posted to let you know that nominations for the Hugo awards had just opened -- and promised to re-post once the online nomination form went live. I've just noticed that it's up -- handy if you want to save the hassle of printing out the form and putting it in the mail!

Here's the original post:

The 2008 Hugo award nominations have opened -- if you were a member of the 2008 WorldCon in Denver, or have bought a membership to the 2009 WorldCon in Montreal, you're eligible to nominate. I'll be sending in my nominations this week, and just in case you were wondering, here's the stuff I wrote that's eligible for this year's ballot:

* Best novel: Little Brother, Tor, 2008 * Best related book: Content, Tachyon, 2008 * Best novella: True Names (with Benjamin Rosenbaum), published in Fast Forward, Pyr Books, 2008, edited by Lou Anders * Best novelette: The Things That Make Me Weak and Strange Get Engineered Away, Tor.com, July 2008

Nominating Ballot for the 2009 Hugo Awards and John W. Campbell Award

Previously: Hugo nominations open! - Boing Boing Read the rest

Tumbarumba: a surreal fiction anthology in the form of a browser plugin

Ethan Ham sez,

Turbulence.org recently released “Tumbarumba,” a project by Benjamin Rosenbaum and myself (Ethan Ham).

Tumbarumba is an anthology in the form of a browser add-on. To read the stories, readers must stumble upon them while browsing the web. The browser add-on will occasionally insert a story fragment into a web page as it loads it. The result is a disorienting surreal sentence that sometimes is nonsensical and sometimes amusingly close making sense. If the reader spots the fragment, they can interact with it in a way that will cause the full story to appear–albeit in the format of the web page on which it was found.

The authors in the anthology are:

Haddayr Copley-Woods, Greg van Eekhout, Stephen Gaskell, James Patrick Kelly, Mary Anne Mohanraj, David Moles, John Phillip Olsen, Tim Pratt, Kiini Ibura Salaam, David J. Schwartz, Heather Shaw, Jeff Spock


(Thanks, Ethan!) Read the rest

Hugo nominations open!

The 2008 Hugo award nominations have opened -- if you were a member of the 2008 WorldCon in Denver, or have bought a membership to the 2009 WorldCon in Montreal, you're eligible to nominate. I'll be sending in my nominations this week, and just in case you were wondering, here's the stuff I wrote that's eligible for this year's ballot:

* Best novel: Little Brother, Tor, 2008 * Best related book: Content, Tachyon, 2008 * Best novella: True Names (with Benjamin Rosenbaum), published in Fast Forward, Pyr Books, 2008, edited by Lou Anders * Best novelette: The Things That Make Me Weak and Strange Get Engineered Away, Tor.com, July 2008

No matter what you plan on nominate, I urge you to send in your form! Hugo participation seems to dwindle every year. The present form's just a PDF, but they're promising a web-based one shortly (I'll post again when it's live).

Hugos Read the rest

The Exquisite Corpuscle -- a game of telephone played by 22 sf writers and artists

Frank Wu sez, "Jay Lake and I have edited an anthology called "The Exquisite Corpuscle." It's not just a random assortment of stories - it's a literary version of the game "Telephone." An experiment in creative groupthink. I started out doing a painting, which I handed off to Gary Shockley (who's had a number of stories in "The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction"). Gary wrote a story inspired by the painting, and then handed the story off to Tim Pratt (a Hugo Award winner), who wrote a poem. And so on. So we established three separate chains of 7 people each, and then Jay Lake wrote a story to unite all the chains of thought together, and Matt Taggart did an endcap painting. All in all, we had 22 separate people involved in this - Kenneth Brady, Alan DeNiro, Richard Doyle, Michaela Eaves, M.C.A. Hogarth , Michael J. Jasper, Jay Lake, Aurora Lemieux, Kristin Livdahl, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Tim Pratt, Bruce Holland Rogers, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Nigel Sade, Maia Sanders, Heather Shaw, Diana Sherman, Gary W. Shockley, Christina Sng, Matt Taggart, Greg van Eekhout, Frank Wu. Because of the sequential nature of the project, it took over three years to complete. After this long birthing process, it's been published by Fairwood Press."

The Exquisite Corpuscle publisher's page, The Exquisite Corpuscle on Amazon

(Thanks, Frank!) Read the rest

Fast Forward 2: original sf from the cutting edge, including "True Names," a novella by Benjamin Rosenbaum and me!

Fast Forward 2 is the second volume in Lou Anders' excellent science fiction anthology series, featuring knockout stories from Karl Schroeder and Tobias Buckell, Kay Keyon, Ian McDonald, Paolo Bacigalupi and many others. I'm very proud to have a story in the book, too -- a long, long novella I co-wrote with Ben Rosenbaum called True Names, which tries to imagine what the wars between light-speed-lagged, self-replicating nano-machine-based galactic civilizations would look like as different nanites warred to see who would convert the universe to computronium first.

While all the stories herein are at least excellent, there were a couple of absolute knockouts that I want to mention. First is Toby Buckell and Karl Schroeder's Mitigation, a taut military thriller about the global geopolitics of genomic seedbanks. Also fantastic is Ian McDonald's Eligible Boy, which returns to the fractured future India he delivered in his brilliant, Hugo-nominated novel, River of Gods, and explores the hard problem of matchmaking in an era of demographics upturned by gendercide. Finally, Paolo Bacigalupe's The Gambler should be required reading at every school of journalism in the world, exploring as it does the question of click-driven news and coming up with genuinely novel and sometimes disturbing things to say about it.

Lou's posted two of the stories from the anthology online as free samples: "Catherine Drewe" by Paul Cornell" and Paolo Bacigalupi's "The Gambler". I'm especially fond of this latter, as I mentioned above.

I'm delighted to announce that Ben and I are releasing True Names today as a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike download, to accompany the podcast of the story we released earlier this year. 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

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