In 2001 I wrote an article for The Industry Standard about the Harlan Ellison's one man war against people uploading his short stories to Usenet. I interviewed him on the phone for the piece and the first thing he told me was, "I can't talk to you. I'm very busy. I've got a deadline." He then launched into a 30-minute rant about everything wrong with the world (example: "You just look around and say, 'Mother of God, the gene pool is just polluted and we really ought to turn it over to the cockroaches if we can't do any better than this!'") Here's the article.
Clowns. Morons. Thieves. Thugs. Little pirates. Self-indulgent adolescents. That's what Harlan Ellison calls people who post his fiction on the Net without his permission.
Such talk has made Ellison as legendary for his acts of vengeance as for his literary work. Sure, he's written 74 books and classic episodes of Star Trek and Outer Limits. But an angry Ellison also once mailed a dead gopher to a book editor. On another occasion, he flew from Los Angeles to New York to tear apart an editor's office. Then there's the time he brought a gun to a meeting. (He swears it wasn't loaded.)
But Stephen Robertson probably didn't know any of that, or surely he would've been more careful. Last April, Robertson, a 40-year-old motel manager in Red Bluff, Calif., was caught uploading several of Ellison's short stories to a newsgroup where hundreds of free - and unauthorized - digitized books and stories are posted for the taking. Read the rest
Filmmaker/writer/games developer Jim "Ghosts With Shit Jobs" Munroe (previously) has just launched his first VR venture. Manimal Sanctuary is a "lurking simulator" that "leverages low-end VR technology to enable every player’s ultimate fantasy: to play a creature part coral reef, part Cthulhu, who consumes human emotions. Set after the rest of the city is consumed by gibbering monstrosities, you eavesdrop on the survivors and their dramas involving things like bad potato crops and graffiti tags. And if those everyday emotions aren’t filling enough, you can always uncover some devastating secrets…" Read the rest
Indie sf movie kingpin Jim Munroe writes, "Ever wonder how the Hilton and the Marriott families feel about Airbnb? What would happen if the heir to a hotel chain empire gets fed up and decides to rebrand the sharing economy... as the scaring economy? A concept trailer for a new tech-horror webseries called THE INTERNET WANTS by Postopian Pictures, the guys behind HAPHEAD and GHOSTS WITH SHIT JOBS." Read the rest
In the decade since publishing embraced ebooks in earnest, we've seen a cornucopia of exciting and innovative ways technology is being used to enhance reading. By utilizing all the tricks at our Internet- and device-savvy disposal, publishing companies are creating stories that are manifested in and influenced by the digital platform. Read the rest
Wonderland is a wonderful idea for a game. It's an old-timey audio drama that lets you solve a puzzle at the and of each chapter—and if you can't, you can walk with your phone to get clues. Read the rest
Hapheads, the incredible crowdfunded science fiction drama (previous) is about to get its NYC premiere at Games of Change, and to celebrate, the creators have put all 75 minutes of season one online as a single video, without interruptions. Read the rest
Jim Munroe sez, "In our webseries set 10 years from now, teenagers have learned that shaving their hair at the haptic cable's point of contact allows them to overclock their game's tactile feedback. As well as boosting the signal and muscle memory retention, the shaved stripes become a subcultural indicator of sorts." Read the rest
Jim Munroe writes, "We've put our science fiction visions of Toronto's future together in a 2015 calendar called FALLEN TORONTO as a new Kickstarter reward for backing our neo-noir sci-fi webseries HAPHEAD. If you live here you can shiver in nameless dread all the year round, and if you live elsewhere you can revel in schadenfreude at the fall of our socialist den of iniquity." Read the rest
Haphead, the wonderful science fiction webseries about gamer culture that I wrote about in March, is kickstarting a budget for kick-ass post-production. It's from Jim Munroe, who made Ghosts With Shit Jobs. Read the rest
One year ago today
Cory's HOW I WORK interview: What apps/software/tools can't you live without?
Ubuntu and the suite of GNU tools in any robust Unix system. A good text editor (currently Gedit)—I keep all of my working files at .txts. A robust, highly configurable browser (Firefox/Firefox for Android). A fast RSS reader (presently Google Reader, likely to be Newsblur next). A tetherable mobile connection—I use EasyTether for Android to circumvent tether-blocking as deployed by some of the carriers I use around the world, especially Rogers in Canada. AirDroid for moving files on/off Android devices in my life. An external USB battery (currently PowerGen 5200mAh External Battery Pack).
Five years ago today
Terror cops in Wales mistake jazz musician for terrorist: Victor Frederick, 63, was arrested and strip-searched just yards from his home, just moments after his partner Andrea Heath and their daughter had infra-red sights trained at them and were told they would be shot if they moved.
Ten years ago today
Everyone In Silico, licensed for remixing: My friend Jim Munroe is a brilliant sf writer, author of Angry Young Spaceman (which I reviewed for Wired), Everyone in Silico, and Flyboy Action Figure Comes With Gas Mask. Silico is a particularily interesting novel about the corporatization of public spaces (Jim used to be a managing editor at AdBusters), and among Jim's publicity stunts for the book was a letter-writing campaign to corporations mentioned in the book, shaking them down for money for "product placement."
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Salgood Sam -- who worked on great projects like Sea of Red and Therefore, Repent! sez, "In the last leg of a successful Kickstarter to print my next graphic novel, I've set up some unlockable interactive stretch goal rewards you might want to check out to help me make it to the west coast and print more books! If you can manage to time your pledges to hit the mark that puts my Kickstarter over one of three stretch goals, I'll draw your deepest darkest dreams for you. Or alternately bright and silly ones are an option." Read the rest
Jim Munroe sez, "Ten years from now, videogames are so immersive that teenagers learn lethal skills just by playing. They're called hapheads.
The folks I made Ghosts With Shit Jobs with made this trailer I adapted from a book-length story I'm working on. Don't know if we can honestly call what we do lo-fi sci-fi anymore -- with fight scenes and full-on special effects, it's way more in the mold of traditional action sci-fi. I'm thinking what'll set it apart is the characterization of the father & daughter (my emotional entry into the story, thinking about my relationship with my daughter in 10 years) and the subcultural millieu that'll emerge."
(Thanks, Jim!) Read the rest
Just Ella is a new short film from Jim Munroe, creator of the awesome science fiction mockumentary Ghosts With Shit Jobs. It was made for the Lo-fi Sci-fi 48 Hour Film Challenge, and is a taste of a new Jim Munroe project called Haphead, which will be made with the same crew and cast as "Just Ella." Jim's looking for production volunteers in Toronto for Haphead, email if you want to help Read the rest
Jim Munroe sez, "The first WordPlay Festival of Writerly Games is happening at the majestic Toronto Reference Library on Sat. Nov. 16 for International Games at Your Library Day. It has an in-discussion-with interview with the Chicago-based Kentucky Route Zero game makers, a workshop led by Christine Love for making your own interactive fiction, and a panel on book/game intersections featuring Hamlet CYOA author and webcomics impresario Ryan North and Hugo award winner Peter Watts. It even features a world premiere delivered by Oculus Rift!"
Curl up with a good game.
(Thanks, Jim) Read the rest
Jim Munroe sez, "We've just launched KTR 451, a game I developed for the Toronto Public Library. Drawing on the themes and characters in Fahrenheit 451 (the TPL's One Book this year), it's a simple alternate reality game -- part scavenger hunt, part audio drama -- and people in Toronto can play it by calling (647) 931-1585. There's three missions, one per week, until a live event on April 22nd."
If Jim's name sounds familiar, that's because he's behind the Ghosts With Shit Jobs movie, as well as co-producing the controversial oil pipeline game.
Take Your Seashells Out of Your Ears! Read the rest