"City of Shadow and Glass" at Bull Spec

Happy Valentine’s Day to all! Hope you did something nice tofor someone you love.

“City of Shadow and Glass”, very short cyberpunk vignette, is available in the current issue of Bull Spec, which is excellent and you should order right away, not because of my story but because it regularly provides great speculative fiction in a high production-quality format, and is an honest-to-strawberries indie initiative with local (North Carolina) roots and good people. In a world with a truly appalling quantity of garbage conveyed by postal mail, Bull Spec is something I read cover to cover as soon as it arrives.

There is a sample of Issue 4 available for free in a pretty neat little web gadget, and because “City of Shadow and Glass” is so short, you can read the whole darn thing there if you like, as well as bits of other features, including a terrific interview with Lou Anders.

There will be more later. There is always more later. Hope you all are well and onto a great week.

"Why Your Game Idea Sucks", an interview, and other publishing updates

Hallo again all — I am still behind on comment replies to the Mac Attack!, but am on a plane again tomorrow so wanted to post this quickly.

“Why Your Game Idea Sucks”, a short-order article I wrote for the Escapist a couple of weeks ago, popped up in my google alerts yesterday. By the time I got to it, it already had about 25 comments, and now it’s up to 87 or so. Comments range from “brilliant” and “the most truthful thing ever written about game development” to “how dare you” and “a pointless article”, so I suppose YMMV.

Comparison inevitably arises between something like this and Josh Olsen’s highly contentious “I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script”, and ensuing Harlan Ellison shenanigans, which I suppose is fair. Olsen’s piece went up coincidentally the same day I got the green light from the Escapist, which made me groan. But thankfully a lot of people are reading the intended humor in the title and finding that it’s less acerbic and hopefully a bit more helpful than Olsen’s was for many a “butthurt nerd”. In all seriousness, I had some anxiety with the piece, because I do think it’s a valid criticism that releasing something negative into the world doesn’t reap a good result — but the proof is in the pudding here that people really don’t listen when you tell them some things nicely.

But that’s enough about that. I have also gotten wind that “Darkest Amber” will be running in the next issue of Electric Velocipede, debuting at World Fantasy, which is conveniently near home this year. It is a cyberpunk smashfest and those of you strange enough to be familiar with the Black9 world may recognize some homages.

But that’s not all! Ethics and Game Design: Teaching Values Through Play, containing my super-long “Sideways into Truth: Kierkegaard, Philistines, and Denying Death Through Video Games” as well as a coveted intro written by Henry Jenkins will be hitting shelves digital and otherwise this coming February.

You should also check out “Of Shifting Skin and Certainty” by [info]justinhowe in the most recent Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and the very excellent “Between Two Treasons” by Michael DeLuca, aka [info]boonofdoom, a continuation of his terrific centaur stories.

Finally, [info]charlesatan was kind enough to request and then write up a very thoughtful interview with me on his Bibliophile Stalker blog. It is going into my profile as a general whowhat?! link. 🙂

Publications Update: Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Farrago's Wainscot

Hi all. Behind on updates again, but just wanted to get in a quick update. More posts coming soon, including a Smeagol update — he has a vet re-visit next Saturday. Overall, he’s doing much better — more details soon. 🙂 Much travel ahead… NYC this weekend, Seattle next month (for LOGIN Conference, where [info]erikbethke and I will be discussing BetterEULA’s second year), NYC again in June for State of Play, TNEO in July, and of course many trips to LA in between… I’ve given up updating my Dopplr account.

So, writing stuff!

Here are some links:

In Beneath Ceaseless Skies, also check out Marie Brennan’s “Driftwood”, and, if so inclined, her wonderful post about the magazine on her LJ. If podcasts are your thing, also check out the mag’s audio fiction.

In Farrago’s Wainscot, also check out other great stories by Bruce Boston & Lee Ballentine, Toiya Kristen Finley, Jason Fischer, Jason Heller, S. J. Hirons, and Matthew Kressel, poetry by Miranda Gaw, and a very interesting experimental word piece by Jeffrey Barnes.

Go forth and read!

On writing the other

This is going to be my one and only contribution to the conflagration that shall not be named, mostly because it’s too ironic to resist. If you want more details, Mary Anne Mohanraj has a wonderfully thoughtful post on it, which also links to this great video. Most of the remaining bases have already been covered. I wish we could just be people. (Actually, I wish we could just be living things.)

So, this is from the questionnaire you take before taking any of the tests on Project Implicit, also linked from Mohanraj’s post (and according to which I have a slight preference for black people over white, and a strong preference for Obama over McCain; hmm).

I guess I should get to writing, then?

Also in the realm of interesting timing, in the craziness last week I forgot to mention that I have an op-ed up in the technology section of the Georgia Straight (which I’m told is the largest weekly newspaper in Vancouver) called “Finding a Greater Humanity Through Play”.

Happy holidays, and publishing update things

I am slowly clawing my way out of internet desynch, having foolishly made an initial attempt right before the holidays commenced their usual brain-eating. 2147 mails in my inbox, but the good news is only 384 of them are unread!

[info]jsridler has fallen full throttle into the livejournal thing, as I thought he would long ago, and so also made his one request before flying back to Kingston today that I manage an update, so here I am — specifically with the news that Space and Time has purchased “Lightning Over the St. Lawrence”, a poem of mine they’d been holding. It is much happiness. I picked up the summer issue of S&T at BookPeople in Austin last September, and enjoyed its poetry (and stories) greatly. In other Austin news, [info]anguirel should, I think, be on the road toward there by now, and I have told him to hie himself to BookPeople upon arriving. I still don’t have my Cold War Unicorns.

In other poem and story news, I quietly added this to my profile awhile ago, but never announced here — I have my contract now, so I think it’s officially official — I also sold a poem, “Osteometry”, to Sheila Williams at Asimov’s Science Fiction, which of course I was ridiculously excited about but didn’t know when I could mention it. Getting Asimov’s wirelessly delivered is one of my favorite things about owning a Kindle, and it’ll be decidedly weird but cool to be in its TOC. If you aren’t a subscriber, you may want to pick up the current issue — among its usual pleasing offerings it has a stirring story by Stephen King and “Lion Walk” by Mary Rosenblum, which may be the best thing I’ve read published this year — I’m anxious to hunt down her Water Rites based on its excellence. After many back-and-forths, “Impress of the Hills”, short hillbilly fantasy, was also officially accepted by Spacesuits and Sixguns last month or thereabouts.

Check out the new Ideomancer Livejournal group if you get a chance, too. I never mentioned largely because I wondered if we were supposed to be a sort of mysterious shadow council, but I’ve been reading slush for the magazine since May or so, and hopefully will be pitching in more as time goes on. Mentioned there recently is [info]ecbatan‘s review of Ideomancer this year, which includes a nice note for George S. Walker’s wonderful “Zorroid”, the first thing I fished out for them (no credit to me; Walker wrote a great story, I was only fortunate to be a minor conduit — I link it here mainly because you should go read it). I’ve always liked the magazine, from mission to content to staff and so on, so this is fun, and the LJ group is newly pretty and organized. Expect great things, if so inclined.

I’m half starved, so I think that’s all for now. Hope that you all had a terrific holiday of your choice, and hopefully are still so having. I’m off until Friday, which is nice, and working on slowly un-congealing my brain. I have managed to keep fairly up on twitter, if any of you are there, and I updated dopplr with at least the next three months’ planned travel. Inch by inch and all that. 🙂

The power of the multitudes

I have an Escapist feature up this week, “Someone Stole My Magic Sword”, with many thanks to Dave Weinstein and, of course, to Michelle, for coming forward and sharing her story. There was a lot to compress here — my interviews with Michelle alone totaled over 5,000 words — but hopefully we got the meat of the story across. I know I say it for just about every one of these things, but this one was difficult, due to its importance. It’s getting some interesting feedback on the forums, all naturally flowing into much of what we’re dealing with with Settlers of the New Virtual Worlds, so it’s cool to see these conclusions being drawn ‘live’ in the interactive space. But Michelle’s story itself is worth reading — I’ll be including an expanded version of it inside Settlers itself. After awhile you get to thinking you’ve seen it all when it comes to the behavior of big game companies, but I was astonished at some of the things she went through with Square Enix.

It’s also been interesting to watch the Escapist’s effect on pagerank. Prior to the article going up, I googled “someone stole my magic sword”, and of course all of the news-feeds from Dave’s interview popped up — many from high profile sites like Slashdot and the Washington Post. I thought, crap — it was the perfect title for the article, but I assumed it would be buried beneath the bigger sites.

Not so. It’s only been up for two days and it’s shot to the top of the page-rank, likely due to the number of times the Escapist syndicates across various blog feeds, and how many hits it racks up on individual articles and every time someone accesses its forum thread. I checked out “Slave to the Beat”, and sure enough, it’s there on the first page, despite being a relatively common phrase. Conclusion: the Escapist owns at the pagerank game.

A small bouquet of updates

Of the publishing variety. “Whatever Shall Grow There, Dear” is now live in the current issue of Lone Star Stories, along with other excellent fiction and poetry that you should imbibe immediately. Take a look at [info]sovay‘s “Firework-Makers”, and the poems of [info]papersky and [info]seajules. Everyone seems to be on LJ these days. 😉

While you’re at it, head over to Schezerezade’s Bequest, the online edition of Cabinet des Fees, and check out [info]sovay‘s lovely “Bonny Fisher Boy”. And before you conclude that I am stalking [info]sovay, I say this as segue to the update that SB has recently accepted my poem “The Fall of Fairy Castle” for their September issue.

When you’re done doing that, you should hie yourself out and purchase a copy of the first issue of Tales of Moreauvia, containing as it does [info]jsridler‘s very excellent “Engine of Desolation”, as well as a story by the habitually skillful and entertaining Rita Oakes. Can’t lose.

Last but certainly not least, feast your eyes upon the snazzy page that is Beneath Ceaseless Skies, which will be debuting this Fall under the steady hand of Scott H. Andrews.

Being that I’ve been in Albany and New York City in the last week, I was in range of the Kindle’s Whispernet, and boy did I use it. The Kindle can in fact be used to surf the web and check email, but what got me in trouble was the ease with which I could download free book samples. I’ve also downloaded books from Project Gutenberg and piped them onto the Kindle; I have not yet attempted [info]boonofdoom‘s clever notion of reading slush on it, but plan to soon. It has already caused me to purchase three books I would not have otherwise, and sampled over a dozen I likely would not have picked up anytime soon. I suppose I should be lucky I was only temporarily exposed to Whispernet. In preliminary conclusion, the Kindle is not quite the Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer, but it is clearly Australopithecus to that line, and I remain both impressed and frightened.