When I first saw Will Stahle‘s cover art for my novel Walkaway, I was pleased beyond all reason (and not least because I am an unabashed Stahle fanboy, as he is behind some of the greatest covers of our era, from Yiddish Policeman’s Union to Autonomous to A Darker Shade of Magic to All the Birds in the Sky).
On Monday, the World Wide Web Consortium published EME, a standard for locking up video on the web with DRM, allowing large corporate members to proceed without taking any steps to protect accessibility work, security research, archiving or innovation.
In my latest Locus column, “Demon-Haunted World,” I propose that the Internet of Cheating Things — gadgets that try to trick us into arranging our affairs to the benefit of corporate shareholders, to our own detriment — is bringing us back to the Dark Ages, when alchemists believed that the universe rearranged itself to prevent them from knowing the divine secrets of its workings.
Yesterday, I left the Black Rock Desert after Burning Man and my phone came to life and informed me that my novel Walkaway had been awarded DragonCon’s Dragon Award for Best Apocalyptic Novel!
I wrote the novella Party Discipline while I was on my grueling US/Canada/UK tour for my novel Walkaway, last spring. Today, Tor.com publishes the tale, in which two seniors at Burbank High confront their uncertain future by planning a “Communist party” in which they take over a defunct factory and start it up again, a tangible, dangerous, playful reminder that material abundance is here, it’s just not evenly distributed.
Tomorrow, I’m turning off my email and hitting the road for Burning Man, where I’ll be giving three talks, and I hope to see you there: at 4PM on Weds, Aug 20, I’m speaking at Palenque Norte at Camp Soft Landing; at noon on Thursday, Aug 31, I’ll be speaking at my home camp, Liminal Labs (6:15 and Rod’s Road); at 4:30PM on Friday, September 1, I’m speaking at the Center Camp Cafe stage. See you there — or back here after Labor Day!
My Walkaway book-tour is basically over, but I’m taking a little victory lap tonight at my local library, the Buena Vista Branch of the Burbank Public Library. Hope to see you there!
Dragon Con’s Dragon Award ballot was just published and I’m delighted to learn that my novel Walkaway is a finalist in the “Best Apocalyptic Novel” category, along with Daniel Humphreys’ A Place Outside the Wild, Omar El Akkad’s American War, Declan Finn and Allan Yoskowitz’s Codename: Unsub, N.K. Jemisin’s The Obelisk Gate, Rick Heinz’s The Seventh Age: Dawn, and J.F. Holmes’s ZK: Falling.
Science-fiction is a genre that imagines the future. It doesn’t necessarily predict the future (after all, where are flying cars?), but it grapples with the technological and societal changes happening today to better understand our world and where it’s heading.
So, what does it mean when so much of our most popular science-fiction – The Handmaid’s Tale, The Walking Dead, and The Hunger Games – present bleak, depressing futures? Cory Doctorow might just have an answer. He’s a blogger, writer, activist, and author of the new book Walkaway, an optimistic disaster novel.
* Doctorow thinks that science-fiction can give people “ideas for what to do if the future turns out in different ways.” Like how William Gibson’s Neuromancer didn’t just predict the internet, it predicted the intermingling of corporations and the state.
* When you have story after story about how people turn on each other after disaster, Doctorow believes it gives us the largely false impression that people act like jerks in crises. When in fact, people usually rise to the occasion.
* With Walkaway, his “optimistic” disaster novel, Doctorow wanted to present a new narrative about resolving differences between people who are mostly on the same side.