Karl Schroeder's "Stealing Worlds": visionary science fiction of a way through the climate and inequality crises

Karl Schroeder (previously) is literally the most visionary person I know (and I've known him since 1986!): he was the first person to every mention "fractals" to me, then "the internet" and then "the web" -- there is no one, no one in my circle more ahead of more curves, and it shows in his novels and none moreso than Stealing Worlds, his latest, which is a futuristic roadmap to how our present-day politics, economics, technology and society might evolve. Read the rest

Talking with Neal Stephenson about his latest book, "Fall; or, Dodge in Hell"

Veteran reviewer/interviewer Rick Kleffel (previously) has just posted a long podcast interview (MP3) with Neal Stephenson, discussing his latest novel, Fall; or, Dodge in Hell ("a science fiction novel with a fantasy novel stuck inside of it"). Read the rest

The Church of the Subgenius's Salvation Pack is the best $35 I ever spent

A couple of weeks ago, I was thrilled to hear Subgenius founder, the Reverend Ivan Stang, interviewed on the Comedy on Vinyl podcast (previously) and to discover that the Church of the Subgenius was selling a $35 Salvation/Membership/Ordainment kit that was chock full of goodies. Read the rest

Announcing: the tour for "How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems," Randall "XKCD" Munroe's next book

[Randall Munroe traces the phenomenal success of his webcomic XKCD with this Boing Boing post; and I've avidly followed his career ever since (he's returned the favor), so I was delighted to learn in February that he had a new book coming out and I'm more delighted still to host the official announcement of his tour, which you can book extra dates for (see below) -Cory] Read the rest

Beautiful handpainted transport signs from Kolkata and south Bengal

South Indian indie publishing house Blaft Publications has tweeted a magnificent thread of hand-painted transportation signs from Kolkata and all around South Bengal, from taxi-door logos to bus-signs to danger signs to "for hire" signs. Read the rest

The New York Privacy Act goes even farther than California's privacy legislation

In 2015, California enacted groundbreaking privacy legislation and in 2018, the state took up the matter again with even tougher rules that have been fought tooth-and-nail by Big Tech companies, many of whom are headquartered in the state. Read the rest

Magic for Liars: Sarah Gailey's debut is a brilliant whodunnit in the vein of The Magicians

In a very short time, Sarah Gailey has distinguished themself as one of science fiction's best new writers, combining an inimitable voice with a bag of fresh and original narrative tricks. Now, in their first full-length novel, Magic for Liars, Gailey goes all-out in a magical murder mystery that's both a first-rate whodunnit and an unmistakably Gaileyish, chewy tale of high emotional stakes. Read the rest

The Canadian government has released the surprisingly sensible results of its extensive, year-long review of copyright law

[Editor's note: Whenever governments review their copyright, one of two things happens: either they only listen to industry reps and then come to the "conclusion" that more copyright is always better; or they listen to stakeholders and experts and conclude that a little goes a long way. Normally, when the latter happens, the government that commissioned the report buries it out of terror of powerful Big Content lobbyists. This time, miraculously, an eminently sensible Canadian report has seen the light of day. I was delighted to invite the legendary Canadian copyright scholar Michael Geist to present a short analysis of some of the important conclusions. -Cory]

The Canadian government launched an extensive review of its copyright law last year that led to months of study and attracted hundreds of witnesses and briefs. While some groups hoped the review would lead to new website blocking measures and restrictions on fair dealing (Canada's version of fair use), the Industry committee report released this week actually recommends expanding fair dealing, rejects site blocking without a court order, and rejects proposals to exclude education from fair dealing where a licence is otherwise available. The study covers a wide range of copyright issues, but its conclusions on fair dealing, digital locks, site blocking, and term extension are particularly noteworthy. Read the rest

Speech Police: vital, critical look at the drive to force Big Tech to control who may speak and what they may say

David Kaye (previously) has served as the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression since 2014 -- a critical half-decade in the evolution of free speech both online and offline; in Speech Police: The Global Struggle to Govern the Internet a new, short book from Columbia Special Reports, Kaye provides a snapshot of the global state of play for expression, as governments, platforms, and activists act out of a mix of both noble and corrupt motives to control online discourse. Read the rest

David Silverberg's "Terms and Conditionals": the things you just agreed to

[David Silverberg's As Close to the Edge Without Going Over is a new book of genre poetry from Canadian speciality press ChiZine (previously). I was tickled by his poem "Terms and Conditionals" (for reasons that will be immediately obvious) and I asked him if we could reprint it here -- he graciously assented. -Cory] Read the rest

Wrist-mounted artists' palettes: the best wearables are analog

You know what's better than a smartwatch? Literally everything else. But especially: the centuries' worth of wrist-mounted paint palettes worn by some artists. Read the rest

To do in Toronto: the Retro Futures exhibit at Metro Reference Library

Toronto's Metro Reference Library is hosting a Retro Futures exhibition until July 28, filled with exhibits from the collection of the Merril Collection (previously), the largest science fiction reference collection in any public library in the world. Read the rest

Help wanted! EFF is hiring a new copyright/trademark litigator

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is hiring a new staff copyright/trademark litigator, and "experience with or strong interest in patent, unfair competition, administrative law, privacy and/or First Amendment litigation is preferred but not required." Read the rest

Neal Stephenson's next book is a science fiction novel with a fantasy novel stuck inside of it

Neal Stephenson's next novel is Fall; or, Dodge in Hell, an 880-page Stephsonian brick of a novel that has ample room for two novels, and that's because Stephenson actually stuck a second novel inside the first one. Read the rest

A(nother) Lego Turing machine

Making a Turing machine is a kind of nerd rite of passage, like manually editing your X11 settings or building a two-second time-machine. As far back as 2005, we were chronicling the adventures of Lego Turing-machine builders (the state of the art advanced rather a lot by 2012), as well as the ongoing effort to attain Turing completeness in wood and also baked goods. Read the rest

Terminator bookends and tankard

The bookends ($79) are the clear winner here, but the robot hand tankard ($58) is pretty sweet too; they're made of painted resin (with a stainless steel insert in the tankard), pre-order now for July shipping. (via Geekologie) Read the rest

Fellowships to fund work on a "Human-Centric Internet"

Edgeryders -- "a company living in symbiosis with an online community of thousands of hackers, activists, radical thinkers and doers, and others who want to make a difference" -- is offering up to EUR10,000 bursaries (along with travel subsidies) for fellows who are contributing to its work on an "Human-Centric Internet." The deadline to apply is May 30. Read the rest

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