Every three years, the US Copyright Office undertakes an odd ritual: they allow members of the public to come before their officials and ask for the right to use their own property in ways that have nothing to do with copyright law.
It's a strange-but-true feature of American life. Blame Congress. When they enacted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1998, they included Section 1201, a rule that bans people from tampering with copyright controls on their devices. That means that manufacturers can use copyright controls to stop you from doing legitimate things, like taking your phone to an independent service depot; or modifying your computer so that you can save videos to use in remixes or to preserve old games. If doing these legal things requires that you first disable or remove a copyright control system, they can become illegal, even when you're using your own property in the privacy of your own home.
But every three years, the American people may go before the Copyright Office and ask for the right to do otherwise legal things with their own property, while lawyers from multinational corporations argue that this should not happen.
The latest round of these hearings took place in April, and of course, EFF was there, with some really cool petitions (as dramatized by the science fiction writers Mur Lafferty, John Scalzi, and Cory Doctorow [ahem]), along with many of our friends and allies, all making their own pleas for sanity in copyright law.
We commemorated the occasion with a collection of short video conversations between me and our pals. Read the rest
Every three years, the US Copyright Office lets the public beg for limited exemptions to Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which bans bypassing DRM, even in your own property, even for strictly legal reasons.
Read the rest
Every three years, the US Copyright Office asks America about the problems with Section 1201 of the DMCA, which bans breaking DRM even for legal reasons, and America gets to answer with requests for exemptions to this rule.
Read the rest
The 2017 Hugo nominees were announced yesterday; attendees at this year's World Science Fiction Convention in San Jose, California will choose from among them to pick this year's Hugo Award winners.
Read the rest
On Sunday, I'll be appearing at Chicago's Volumes Books with Max "Cards Against Humanity" Temkin, as part of the Walkaway tour (which includes stops tonight in Chapel Hill at Flyleaf Books with Mur Lafferty; tomorrow in Cincinnati at Joseph Beth; and more dates in Winnipeg, Denver, Austin, Houston, Scottsdale/Phoenix, San Diego, Portland, Seattle, Bellingham, Vancouver and Burbank, before I head to the UK). Read the rest
My latest Locus Magazine column is Weaponized Narrative, about the pulp fiction convention of mashing up "man against nature" stories with "man against man" stories to tell "man against nature stories" (first the tornado smashes your house, then your neighbors come over to eat you). Read the rest
I'm in New York City today for the Walkaway tour and the event -- an onstage conversation with Edward Snowden -- is sold out (you can watch the livestream free, starting 7PM eastern), but there's still space at my upcoming events. Read the rest
The Freemasons. Fight Club. The Bilderberg Group. The Illuminati. The Watcher’s Council. The Knights Templar. The Order of the Phoenix.
Bookburners is available from Amazon.
Bookburners, out now from Saga Press, is about a team of experts trying to keep magic from breaking out all over the world. It’s a secret team inside a (fictional) secret organization inside a (real) institution prone to secrecy. When Serial Box assembled its writing team for the first volume of Bookburners — Max Gladstone, Margaret Dunlap, Mur Lafferty, and me — we didn’t have to look far for inspiration. I didn’t have to look much farther than my own town.
Those of us who live in and around New Haven, CT are no strangers to secret societies. We see Yale’s secret society buildings right on the street -- nearly windowless constructions that look like temples, or like tiny libraries. The societies that own them have names like Skull and Bones, Scroll and Key, Book and Snake, Berzelius, and no one outside of the societies is really sure what goes on them.
Book and Snake
Scroll and Key
Skull and Bones
A small secret organization even governs the enormous town green in the center of the city: the Committee of the Proprietors of Common and Undivided Lands at New Haven, a group of five people appointed for life to preserve and maintain the Green. When members die, they are replaced by other people who then serve for life. The Proprietors were formed at the start of the New Haven Colony in the 1600s, and they’re still going strong. Read the rest
Readers of Boing Boing have joined me in chronicling the variegated science fiction career of Mur Lafferty
: novelist, podcast pioneer, editor -- today, she publishes her latest novel, a hard sf murder mystery called Six Wakes
, in which the crew of a generation ship awake in a blood-drenched shipboard cloning bay, in fresh bodies to replace their murdered selves floating in the alarming null-gee, memories restored to the backup they made just before launch, a quarter-century before.
Mur Lafferty, an amazing author and podcaster, had her mainstream publishing debt in 2013 with the wonderful Shambling Guide to New York City, about a travel writer who gets tapped to write a guidebook for spooks, haints, vampires and werewolves. Read the rest
The Campbell Award for best new writer is voted on and presented with the Hugo Awards -- to be eligible, you must have made your first professional sale in the previous two years. Read the rest
Mur Lafferty writes, "Mothership Zeta is the first ezine project to come out of Escape Artists (publisher of podcast magazines Escape Pod, Pseudopod, and Podcastle). We are an ebook-only zine that focuses on new fiction with a fun theme, along with nonfiction from experts in science fiction, science, and more!"
Read the rest
Mur Lafferty sez, "This week, Storium launched its Kickstarter and reached funding ($25000) in the first day. Storium is a web-based online game that you play with friends. It works by turning writing into a multiplayer game." Read the rest
Last weekend saw the presentation of a slew of major science fiction and fantasy awards, starting with the Hugo awards, whose winners included John Scalzi's Redshirts (for best novel); Brian K Vaughan's Saga (for best graphic story); a(nother) best editor Hugo to Patrick Nielsen Hayden (my editor!); and a much-deserved John W Campbell Award for best new writer to my former student Mur Lafferty, whose debut novel, The Shambling Guide to New York City shows her talent off to great effect. All the winners were notable, of course, especially the richly deserved Best Novelette prize to Pat Cadigan for "The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi."
Also presented were the Parsec Awards for best genre podcasts, whose winners included Now Cydonia by Rick Kennett (Best Speculative Fiction Story: Small Cast) and I Have Your Heart... by Molly Crabapple, Kim Boekbinder & Jim Batt (Best Speculative Fiction Video Story).
Finally, I was delighted to accept the Libertarian Futurist Society's Prometheus Award for my novel Pirate Cinema, which coincidentally comes out in paperback this week. Patrick Nielsen Hayden was kind enough to read an acceptance out on my behalf (I missed the ceremony because I was at Burning Man), which you can check out below, along with the video for "I Have Your Heart." Read the rest
Mur Lafferty is one of the worst-kept secrets in science fiction and fantasy publishing. "Secret" in that her fiction has not been widely published (until now). "Worst-kept" in that she has been such a force of nature -- the podcaster's podcaster, author of a huge corpus of excellent self-published work, and a skilled editor currently running Escape Pod -- that anyone who's been paying attention has known that there were great things coming from her.
Great things have come from her. The Shambling Guide to New York City is the first volume in a new series of books about Zoe Norris, a book editor who stumbles into a job editing a line of travel guides for monsters, demons, golem-makers, sprites, death-gods and other supernatural members of the coterie, a hidden-in-plain-sight secret society of the supernatural.
The volume opens with a desperate, out-of-work Zoe prowling the streets of New York, looking for a publishing job -- any publishing job. She finds herself chasing down a mysterious advertisement for an editor for Underground Press, which turns out to be the hobby-business of an ancient vampire with a modern idea. Phil, the owner, wants to produce the first-ever line of tour-guides for travelling coterie. And it just so happens that Zoe's last job was editing a successful line of (human) travel guides, a gig she excelled at and would have held still save for her philandering boss, who neglected to mention that he was married (to a psycho police chief!) before he seduced her. Read the rest