It's time for another Boing Boing seasonal tradition: our charitable giving guide, a list of charities we personally support and want to give more attention to. And as in previous years, we invite you to add your own favorite charities to the list in the comments section. This is going to be a rough holiday for the charitable sector -- we're all tightening our belts. Don't forget the charities that keep the world fair, free and healthy this holiday season.
Electronic Frontier Foundation: Once again, my largest donation for the year goes to EFF. They're suing GW Bush and Gonzo over warrantless wiretapping, seeking DMCA exemptions for video remixing and phone unlocking, working to keep e-voting honest, busting the phone companies and fighting against telecom immunity; overturning crappy patents -- the list goes on an on. Architecture is politics: the structure of the net will determine the structure of the society it underpins. If we lose the net's freedom, we lose everything. I've worked for EFF in the past and I know exactly how far they stretch every dime. It's magic.
Creative Commons: Five years in, and CC is better than ever. Governments around the world are releasing their material under CC; it's become the norm for science, documentation, fan-media, and many kinds of literature, as well as podcasts. The launch of ccLearn for schools was a huge step this year, and the organization keeps on doing fantastic work on a shoestring budget.
Youth Radio: Pesco sez, "Youth Radio is an afterschool program that teaches journalism, media, and audio production skills to underserved young people, mostly high school age You can hear their stories on National Public Radio, local airwaves, and of course online. Read the rest
Kelly Link just released her second book, Magic for Beginners, online for
a year under the Creative Commons license. 2 of the 9 stories aren't
included due to contractual agreements but this is huge news because two
giant companies, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (who published it in paperback)
and HarperPerennial (who published the UK edition) have agreed to take a
chance and be a part of the CC movement.
Kelly's first collection, Stranger Things Happen, has been downloaded
60,000+ times since it was put online (and it still sells a couple of
thousand copies a year) and the derivative works include audio versions,
short movies, plays, and even a cello version of one of the stories...!
Kelly Link's stories are some of the smartest, weirdest, freshest material being written in any literary field. The title story is just about the perfect explication of why fandom is so totally satisfying. Two of these stories won a Nebula award in the year of publication -- that's half the short story awards to one writer's stories from one book.
This release coincides with the release of Kelly's new story collection, Pretty Monsters, which is every bit as good.
Magic for Beginners downloads,
Buy Magic for Beginners on Amazon
Kelly Link's "Magic for Beginners" - knockout short story collection
Kelly Link sweeps the Nebulas
Kelly Link's gorgeous short story collection now a CC download Read the rest
Neal Stephenson's forthcoming novel Anathem was inspired by the amazing Clock of the Long Now, a project to make a clock that runs for 10,000 years. The Long Now foundation is helping to launch the book with a signing in September in San Francisco, and its esteemed board members have been weighing in on the book:
“‘I suffer from attention surplus disorder,’ jokes a character in Anathem. Attention surplus is exactly what Stephenson teaches his readers, in a book so tightly crafted it rewards instant rereading.” - Stewart Brand
“It is a great story, set in an alternative reality where people take long-term thinking seriously.” - Danny Hillis
“Long Now’s 10,000-year clock inspired Neal Stephenson’s new story, Anathem, and now Anathem is inspiring the Long Now. In ten centuries, no one will be sure which came first.” - Kevin Kelly
Ask Neal Stephenson questions about Anathem
Spooky, wonderful music CD in Neal Stephenson's new novel
Long Now clock souvenir
Unveiling of second Long Now clock in Bay Area: photos Read the rest
The Starry Rift, a new anthology of teen-oriented science fiction, comes out today. It's edited by Jonathan Strahan, and includes fiction by Neil Gaiman, Steven Baxter, Greg Egan, Jeffrey Ford, Gwyneth Jones, Kathleen Goonan, Ian McDonald, Kelly Link, Scott Westerfeld, Garth Nix, Walter Jon Williams and others -- including me (with my story Anda's Game).
The editor, Jonathan Strahan, did a fantastic job in pulling this together, and it couldn't come at a better time. Teen literature is peaking right now, and a high-quality anthology that introduces young people to authors they can plunge into for books and books and books is a timely and great idea.
Jonathan's giving away five copies of The Starry Rift to the first five young readers who write to him and name the last sf novel they loved and why.
Link, Buy it on Amazon
Read the rest
I'm still on paternity leave, but a couple of matters have come up that are too important to wait (important enough to blog while my daughter naps on my chest!). Here's one from the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers' workshop, on whose Board I sit (I'm also a graduate and a former instructor):
Read the rest
Applications are now being accepted for the 2008 Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers' Workshop at U.C. San Diego. Established in 1968 by Robin Scott Wilson, Kate Wilhelm, and Damon Knight, Clarion is the oldest workshop of its kind and is widely recognized as a premier proving and training ground for aspiring writers of fantasy and science fiction. The 2008 workshop will take p lace from June 29 to August 9 on the UCSD campus. This year's faculty features Kelly Link, James Patrick Kelly, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Neil Gaiman, Nalo Hopkinson, and Geoff Ryman. Scholarship aid is available. Deadline for applications is March 1. For further details, please see our website.
Emily sez, "Taos Toolbox is a writer's workshop being run by Walter Jon Williams and Kelly Link in the summer of 2008. The workshop is an advanced workshop, aimed at grads of the Clarion/Odyssey science fiction/fantasy writing workshops to help them polish their skills and learn more about the business of writing. It'll take place in the beautiful Taos Ski Valley."
This is not a workshop for beginners. We won't teach you correct manuscript format or what an adverb is and why you shouldn't use one, because we'll assume that you already know. We want to concentrate on giving talented, burgeoning writers the information necessary to become professionals within the science fiction and fantasy field.
Though short fiction will be enthusiastically received, there will be an emphasis at Taos Toolbox on the craft of the novel, with attention given to such vital topics as plotting, pacing, and selling full-length works.
(Thanks, Emily!) Read the rest
It's that time of year again -- time to make some charitable donations while the giving spirit is on you and while you have the chance to shelter some of your income from the revenooers. I'm rerunning last year's Charitable giving guide for the end-of-year, with a few updates. I've been lucky enough this year to have some money to put toward the causes I support -- hope you're lucky enough to do this, too. Here's my charitable list for the year.
Electronic Frontier Foundation: EFF always gets my largest annual donation.
Last year: No organization works harder, spends smarter and gets more done for your personal long-term technological liberty than EFF. I spent years inside the org and I know for a fact that every dime donated makes a difference.
This year: Man, that goes TRIPLE this year. EFF's major work on clobbering the NSA and AT&T for their massive, illegal wiretapping program has convinced me to give EFF more money than I've ever given to a charity in my life. If one organization is going to keep the Internet free and open, it's EFF. Add to that a raft of incredibly smart hires this year, and you've got a powerhouse organization that deserves everything you can spare for them.
Last year: Just four years after launching CC has turned into a global movement. More than 160,000,000 works have been released under CC licenses. It's good news for creators and audiences -- but it's amazing news for the public interest. Read the rest
Small Beer press is the publisher started by Kelly Link and Gavin Grant, publishers of incredibly brilliant, mind-boggling science fiction and fantasy. They're copyfighter-friendly too, with many Creative Commons releases -- and they're committed to publishing some of the best independent work in the field.
Gavin writes, "Small Beer Press is having the End of the Year Blow Out Sale. All Books Come with Meaningless 100,000-Mile Invisible Warranty! All Books Printed on Paper! Guaranteed to Be Printed with Ink! All Books Guaranteed to Be Books! And all of them cheap as chips."
See also: Kelly Link's gorgeous short story collection now a CC download
Read the rest
The Clarion Science Fiction Writers' Workshop has announced its instructor lineup for summer 2008 -- and it's a stellar bunch! Clarion is a kind of six-week boot-camp for sf writers (I'm a graduate, sometime instructor and member of the Board of Directors for The Clarion Foundation, the nonprofit that oversees the workshop), and this year's teachers are: Kelly Link, James Patrick Kelly, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Neil Gaiman, Nalo Hopkinson and Geoff Ryman.
Not to be outdone, the Clarion West workshop (a kind of sister workshop, but located in Seattle instead of San Diego) has announced its lineup for this summer: Paul Park, Mary Rosenblum, Cory Doctorow, Connie Willis, Sheree R. Thomas, and Chuck Palahniuk.
Yes, I taught Clarion this past year and will teach Clarion West next year. There's a pretty good chance I'll end up doing another (undisclosed) Clarion the year after, and then I'm taking a several-year hiatus. These things are incredibly rewarding, but man, they're hard work!
Link to Clarion roster,
Link to Clarion West roster Read the rest
The latest installment of Rick Kleffel's Trashotron podcast is an interview with sf greats Karen Joy Fowler (whose magic realist novel about Chinese rail workers on the US frontier, Sarah Canary, still haunts me, nearly 20 years after I first read it), Kelly Link (author of the magnificent short story collections Stranger Things Happen and Magic for Beginners) and Gavin Grant (Kelly's husband and publisher of Small Beer Press and the wonderful sf zine Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet).
Kelly Link's "Magic for Beginners" - knockout short story collection
Kelly Link's gorgeous short story collection now a CC download
Kelly Link sweeps the Nebulas
Kelly Link's magic story "The Girl Detective" - free audiobook
Kelly Link's "Most of My Friends Are 2/3 Water" free audiobook Read the rest
This summer marks the first year that the venerable Clarion Writers' Workshop will run at the University of California at San Diego. Previously, the legendary science fiction writers' boot-camp was hosted at Michigan State, where I attended it in 1992 and taught in 2005.
I'm returning as an instructor this year, along with a truly superb line-up of teachers: Greg Frost, Jeff VanderMeer (he was one of my Clarion 1992 classmates!), Karen Joy Fowler, Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman. Each instructor teaches for a week (the last pair of instructors co-teach for two weeks). Every day, the small group of students (generally fewer than 20) critique each others' manuscripts, with the instructor pitching in. The instructors give lectures and meet one-on-one with students, sometimes throwing in assignments. They're available to chat with about the writing life, the business of writing, the creative process and so on -- it's an incredible opportunity for writers at the beginning of their careers to glean a wide range of industry contacts and perspective on what it means to be a professional science fiction writer.
Mostly, this is about the writing, though. Writing stories. Most students write a story every week of the workshop, and you will usually critique 3-5 stories on any given day. This is a lot of work -- it's not for the faint of heart. Clarion challenges its students to go beyond their limits and accomplish more than they ever knew they could. Writing that much, critiquing that much -- you end up living and breathing the craft, thinking of nothing else for weeks on end. Read the rest
It's time to donate -- the time of year when you have to give your money to charity or turn it over to the gubmint. I've just done a marathon round of end-of-year charitable giving:
Electronic Frontier Foundation: EFF always gets my largest annual donation. No organization works harder, spends smarter and gets more done for your personal long-term technological liberty than EFF. I spent years inside the org and I know for a fact that every dime donated makes a difference.
Creative Commons: Just four years after launching CC has turned into a global movement. More than 160,000,000 works have been released under CC licenses. It's good news for creators and audiences -- but it's amazing news for the public interest. The proof that there's more than one kind of rightsholder using technology today has stayed the hand of more than one regulator. CC keeps getting better, smarter and more global.
Free Software Foundation/Defective By Design: It's wonderful to see a campaigning group based on fighting DRM. Defective by Design has pulled off a number of audacious and clever actions that have raised public awareness of DRM. The fight starts here.
The Internet Archive: What would we do without it? I use it every day. Its mission: Universal access to all human knowledge. What could be more noble?
The Gutenberg Project: The world's leading access-to-public-domain project. They have truly created a library from nothing, and oh, what a library.
The MetaBrainz Foundation: I'm on the board of this charity, which oversees the MusicBrainz project. Read the rest
Alex Wilson, a student at the legendary Clarion science fiction writers' workshop, has posted a roundup of the blogs of this year's Clarion and Clarion West workshops, who are currently at week five of their six-week programs. Clarion is an intensive, boot-camp style workshop, taught by leading professionals, with an excellent track-record of graduating talented, successful writers like Dale Bailey, Octavia Butler, Ben Rosenbaum, Bruce Sterling, Lucius Sheppard and many others. Since the early 90s, many attendees have published running journals or blogs of their Clarion experiences (I did this on the GEnie online service when I attended in 1992).
I was privileged to teach Clarion last year, and to be invited to join the Board of the nonprofit, charitable Clarion Foundation, which oversees the administration of Clarion. This year's instructor lineup includes Samuel Delany, Michael Swanwick, Nancy Kress, Joe and Gay Haldeman (pictured left), Holly Black, Kelly Link, Tobias Buckell and Jim Hines.
Reading Clarion journals is a great way to get a flavor of the workshop and a peek inside the extraordinary learning process that takes place there.
Link to Clarion East journals, Link to Clarion West journals
Read the rest
The Locus Awards for science fiction and fantasy were just announced, and my story I, Robot won for best novelette! Thank you so much to everyone who voted for me, and to Eileen Gunn for publishing it and for delivering the acceptance speech I reproduce below. This is a stellar card of winners -- Neil Gaiman for best fantasy novel for Anansi Boys, Charlie Stross for best sf novel for Accelerando, Kelly Link for best novella for Magic for Beginners and many others besides.
I, Robot is a finalist for the 2005 Hugo Awards too -- fingers crossed!
This story literally could not have been written except for the kind encouragement and dear friendship of Pat York. Pat was a brilliant sf writer and a relentless critiquer who made everything I wrote better and my life warmer. She was killed last year in a car wreck. I miss her every day. Thank you, Pat.
Thank you to everyone who selected this story for this honour, and to Eileen Gunn for publishing it, and for Eando Binder for giving both me and Asimov such a great title to nick.
Link Read the rest
My friend Lauren McLaughlin, an excellent new sf writer, has a story up on today's Salon -- "The perfect man" -- the story of a woman who found true love by designing an AI, and then turning him loose.
Martin was a mouth breather. Jim lacked ambition. Rennie's head was too big. Craig licked my face like a dog.
But Pritchard. Pritchard is everything I want. And I'm not going to apologize about the way I met him. Especially not to my friends still slugging it out on LovePlanet.com. I did LovePlanet. Seventy-four dates with sixty-two men. You know what I learned? People lie. Sylvester was fifty-five, not thirty-five. Jacob was an unemployed bartender with halitosis, not a financial planner with a beach house. I admit I lied about my weight. All women lie about their weight.
But I can laugh at all of this now because I am off the roster. I am no longer "out there," as they say. And I didn't have to lower my standards or search outside my geographic region either. What I had to do was stop searching and start designing. That's right. I designed my boyfriend. I'm a busy woman. I don't have time for the Toms, Dicks, and Harrys the world keeps throwing at me.
Update: Here's a great interview that Lauren McLaughlin conducted with Kelly Link, the award-winning author of Stranger Things Happen and Magic for Beginners -- thanks, Matthew! Read the rest