John McDaid's "(Nothing But) Flowers", sweet and haunting sf story

When Alice and I got married last autumn, we received many wonderful gifts from our friends, but one of the absolute standouts came from John McDaid and his family. John — a brilliant, award-winning science fiction writer — wrote a story for us called "(Nothing But) Flowers," a sad, haunting, hopeful post-apocalyptic tale that we…

John McDaid's brilliant sf story Keyboard Practice free online

One of my favorite sf stories of the past ten years has been shortlisted for this year's Nebula Award, and is being made available for free download during the final balloting season. Last December, I blogged about John McDaid's "Keyboard Practice, Consisting of an Aria with Diverse Variations for the Harpsichord with Two Manuals," I…

Nostril-wedged maggots of Portsmouth: Otorhinolaryngologist's expert opinion explained

More on yesterday's story about a nasal-wedged maggot scare in Portsmouth, RI's middle school (refresher: the Portsmouth Middle School sent parents a terrifying letter warning of a student Smartie-snorting epidemic and predicting that children would end up with maggots in their noses that feasted upon the sugar residue). John McDaid, the investigative blogger who broke…

Portsmouth Middle School warns parents about Smartie-snorting epidemic and the risk of nasal maggots

Parents in Portsmouth, Rhode Island got a letter from the Portsmouth Middle School warning them that students may be snorting and smoking ground-up Smarties candies. The letter warns of risks of cuts, lung infections, nasal passage scarring, nose-wedged maggots (!), and future cigarette and drug use. John McDaid, a writer and local investigative blogger, got…

Hyperlocal news manifesto

Ned Berke, editor of the Sheepshead Bites site — which provides comprehensive local news for the neighborhood of Sheepshead Bay — has a great manifesto about the delights and rewards of making hyperlocal news. I believe local journalism, local government and local economies are the linchpins of a vibrant, healthy nation. For decades, as conglomerates…

Checking the math in RI GOP Senate candidate Barry Hinckley's "economics for 5-year-olds" campaign spot

Citizen journalist John McDaid looks at RI Republican Senate candidate Barry Hinckley's campaign spot in which Hinckley's five-year-old son gives a lecture on economics and gas prices. The spot resulted in some pretty weird stuff (McDaid describes the "bizarre followup interview he and his son gave with Fox's Neil Cavuto, where Hinckley appeared to be…

Hugo Nominees 2011

Congrats to the nominees for the 2011 Hugo Awards, to be presented at this year's World Science Fiction Convention in Reno, NV. I'll be there and rooting for my favorites! Best Novel Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis (Ballantine Spectra) Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen) The Dervish House by Ian McDonald (Gollancz; Pyr) Feed by…

Bullshit about newspapers' future, dissected

Xark's Dan Conover, evidently a newspaperman, writes in "The newspaper suicide pact" about the mountain of bullshit that has entered the discussion about the future of newspaper business-models. This is some of the clearest, most interesting, best-referenced criticism of the newspaper industry's thrash-and-FUD I've read: Newspapers that are turning to paywall plans today are gambling…

McDaid's amazing story "Keyboard Practice" as an MP3

John McDaid's amazing, Nebula-shortlisted science fiction story "Keyboard Practice" is now available as a free MP3. Earlier this month, I blogged about how John had posted a free electronic edition of his groundbreaking story "Keyboard Practice, Consisting of an Aria with Diverse Variations for the Harpsichord with Two Manuals," which I had the good fortune…

If authors want to restrict indexing, why not restrict reading, too?

COCOA is a silly organization that is pushing for Amazon, Google, and other services that provide indexes and excerpts from books to abandon this perfectly legal notion in favor of a cumbersome process whereby any author could demand that scanned page images of parts of their books not be shown — for example, you could…

SF short story that you should seek out RIGHT NOW – UPDATED

Three years ago, I had the privilege of workshopping John McDaid's brilliant story "Keyboard Practice, Consisting of an Aria with Diverse Variations for the Harpsichord with Two Manuals" (see the all-too-short excerpt here). I have never read a story that was its like, before or since. Just thinking of it today can render me stuporous.…