Robin "Sourdough" Sloan is using a machine-learning autocomplete system to write his next novel

Robin Sloan is a programmer and novelist whose books like Sourdough and Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore are rich and evocative blends of self-aware nerdy playfulness and magical speculation. Read the rest

Stet, a gorgeous, intricate, tiny story of sociopathic automotive vehicles

Sarah Gailey's micro-short-story STET is a beautiful piece of innovative storytelling that perfectly blends the three ingredients for a perfect piece of science fiction: sharply observed technological speculation that reflects on our present moment; a narrative arc for characters we sympathize with; and a sting in the tail that will stay with you long after the story's been read. Read the rest

Congrats to this year's MacArthur "geniuses," including the amazing Kelly Link!

The MacArthur Foundation has announced its 2018 Fellows (AKA the "MacArthur Genius Prize winners"), a list of 25 remarkable people from all disciplines, including the incomparable Kelly Link (previously), who joins other science fiction writers who won the prize, including Octavia Butler and Jonathan Lethem. Congrats, Kelly! Read the rest

Astrohaus' Freewrite Traveler might not be ideal for every writer, but maybe you'll dig it

Our Jason Weisberger isn't a huge fan of the Freewrite that he bought a few years back. Others feel differently about the pricey mechanical keyboard and E Ink display-equipped focused writing slab. From the looks of things, enough people dig it that the device's parent company, Astrohaus, felt that it was time to release a more portable version. Enter the Freewrite Traveler.

Weighing in at just under 30 ounces, the Freewrite Traveler is a lightweight E Ink writing machine with a folding display, which'll take up a whole lot less room in a Scrivener's bag than Astrohaus' original typing slab did.

From The Verge:

The Traveler weighs 1.8 pounds compared the original’s four pounds, which can partially be attributed to a change in keyboards. The Freewrite features a full-size mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Brown keyswitches. The Traveler includes a thinner scissor-switch keyboard, which might be less enticing to some die-hard mechanical keyboard users, but it also had to be swapped out to make the Traveler lighter and thinner. The new device keeps the original 6-inch E Ink display, and it still charges over USB-C. Astrohaus says the Traveler battery should last for around 30 hours. It’ll cost $269 with early bird discounts on Indiegogo, and it will eventually retail for around $599. It comes in one colorway: a white interior and black exterior.

Unfortunately, while the hardware might be a great step forward from a portability standpoint, the Freewrite Traveler still suffers from some of the same needless bullshit that users of its older sibling have been forced to suffer. Read the rest

The classic BIC 4 color pen

Not particularly wonderful to write with, but awesome none-the-less, I had to have a BIC 4 color pen. Read the rest

Why Edgar Allan Poe's work is still so damn good and creepy

Edgar Allan Poe scholar Scott Peeples explains the black magic of Poe's work nearly 170 years after he died. From TED-Ed:

The prisoner strapped under a descending pendulum blade. A raven who refuses to leave the narrator’s chamber. A beating heart buried under the floorboards. Poe’s macabre and innovative stories of gothic horror have left a timeless mark on literature. But just what is it that makes Edgar Allan Poe one of the greatest American authors? Scott Peeples investigates.

Read the rest

Lynda Barry's 'Writing the Unthinkable' lesson

TIL: the fabulous Lynda Barry teaches at the University of Wisconsin! In this lesson, called "Writing the Unthinkable," she shares a neat method to get started on a new piece. It begins by drawing a tight spiral as a meditation.

"Once I start to draw this spiral, I'm starting to get in the mood to write some kind of story."

(Wertzeen) Read the rest

Richard Kadrey talks about his latest book and what comes next after Sandman Slim

I’ve known Richard Kadrey for a number of years. We generally mouth off at each other about technology, injuries we acquired while we were young/dumb, barbecue, tiki drinks and movies. There’s not much jibba-jabba, however, about what either of us does for a living. He writes constantly. So do I. It’s nice to talk about anything but your gig, from time to time.

That said, the rent must be paid, so here we go.

On August 28th, the tenth book in Kadrey’s Sandman Slim series, Hollywood Dead, will be available in the United States. Last last week, after reading an advanced copy that was sent out to me, I got on the horn for a chat with him about the new book, his plans for Sandman Slim and what he’s got cooking beyond the massively popular urban fantasy series.

SB: I read Hollywood Dead over the weekend. I think one of the things I enjoyed the most about the new book is how the tension ramps up as Stark came to understand how screwed he really was.

RK: I really wanted him off-balance. He felt off-balanced in The Kill Society—Stark was basically hiding who he was. But I wanted him to be genuinely fucked up in this book. He thinks everything’s going to be fine now and nothing is fine. Everything is fucked up. There’s no problem he can solve by punching it. Yeah, there’s bad guys, but his overall situation can’t be solved with violence. In the book, a lot of the truth of what[Stark]is comes out of Kasabian’s mouth, the way it always has. Read the rest

Trademark troll who claims to own "Dragon Slayer" now wants exclusive rights to book covers where someone is holding a weapon

Austin's Michael-Scott Earle, last seen around these parts when he filed a trademark on the phrase "Dragon Slayer" for use in fantasy novel trademarks, has found a new depth to plumb: he's filed a trademark on book covers "one or more human or partially human figures underneath, at least one of the figures holding a weapon; and an author's name underneath the figures; wherein the title/series and author's name are depicted in the same or similar coloring." Read the rest

WordTsar: WordStar updated "for the 21st Century"

In an age before Microsoft Word, even before Corel WordPerfect, WordStar ruled the DOS word processing world. Beloved to this day for its simplicity, power and wealth of keystroke commands, some writers never gave it up: G.R.R. Martin maintains a DOS machine just to run WordStar 4. Enter WordTsar, a clone cut to run on modern machinery, brings the classic into the 21st century.

The keyboard controls we love. WordTsar understands most of the Wordstar keyboard controls, and more are on the way,

The user interface we all know. WordTsar gives you a look and feel similar to the original interface.

A new GUI. WordTsar gives you a Graphical User Interface that will feel right at home.

There's something odd about just how many apps are made with writing (rather than coding) in mind, but how few of them offer much tooling for prose—let alone the ability to write and edit without mousing. Read the rest

Sponsor my next Little Brother novel and a short story in the Clarion Write-a-Thon

I'm in the home stretch on CRYPTO WARS, the third Little Brother novel; and making good progress on RADICALIZED, a short story about suicide bombers and US health care; you can follow my progress and sponsor my work on the Clarion Write-a-Thon, which raises funds to subsidize the tuition at the Clarion Writing Workshop, which I graduated from in 1992 and donate to every year. Read the rest

EFF on Cockygate: trademark trolls vs romance literature

Romance author Faleena Hopkins earned the wrong kind of notoriety when she registered a trademark on the word "cocky" for use in romance novel titles and then began indiscriminately threatening to sue her peers for using this common trope. Read the rest

RIP Gardner Dozois, pioneering, genre-defining science fiction editor who helped launch my career

Gardner Dozois started his career in science fiction as a (very good) writer, but quickly transitioned to the role that defined his life in the field, as an editor, taking over Asimov's from 1984 to 2004, winning 40 Hugos, 40 Nebulas, 30 Locus Awards, and the best Professional Editor Hugo Award 15 times. Read the rest

"Cocky" romance novelist embarks on a second career as a trademark troll: will romance writing fall from grace?

Over the past 20 years, the world has become a lot more cognizant of the risks of unbalanced copyright, as what was once a way to help creators gain leverage over publishers, studios and labels became a rubric for mass surveillance, unaccountable censorship and monopolism. Read the rest

Beautiful chart shows how the English alphabet evolved

Matt Baker from UsefulCharts.com made a detailed poster and video of how the English alphabet evolved over the last 4,000 years, but his elegant and colorful topline is the simplest iteration of the process: Read the rest

Little Brother is 10 years old today: I reveal the secret of writing future-proof science fiction

It's been ten years since the publication of my bestselling novel Little Brother; though the novel was written more than a decade ago, and though it deals with networked computers and mobile devices, it remains relevant, widely read, and widely cited even today. Read the rest

Romance writers sought for library residency at my former Toronto workplace

I was a teenaged page at the North York Central Library in suburban Toronto, working in the Business and Urban Affairs section, shelving books, taping together newspapers while we waited for their microfilm versions to arrive, and fiddling around with the newly installed (and poorly documented) computerised catalogue/lending system -- I worked there with many other would-be writers, like Nalo Hopkinson, who was a public service clerk a few floors down. Read the rest

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