Books that rock

In trying to figure out how to upload to youtube one of my own book promotional videos (I know, I’m slow to the partry, give me a break), I came upon this little vid. Check out the first book. OK, in case it goes by too fast, it’s Acts of the Apostles, by me. I was pretty surprised to see that, I must say.

Attention E-Tech Infidels!

A linkfest for people at the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference (and anybody else considering buying my books) to do some due diligence.

People Saying nice things about my books
Grumpy Old Bookman, Salon, Kuro5hin (Acts of the Apostles), Slashdot Acts and CCD,,, Jeffrey Zeldman, Danny Yee, and Kuro5hin (Cheap Complex Devices).

Stuff I wrote for Salon
Editor’s Choice Best of Salon 2003 lists 4 articles by me (4 out of 32 — not bad!). And How I Destroyed the New Economy explains how I caused our current economic predicament by helping to desecrate and ancient Native American burial ground.

Alert Fire Chief and Captain, Silent Friends save Firefighter/Writer from Self-Immolation

There’s a fine line between “Hey, cute idea” and “Holy Fuck, was that ever a stupid idea”. Well I like to walk that razor’s edge. I guess that’s why some folks call me “Danger Man”. Well, actually, nobody calls me Danger Man, but if they did, that might indicate why.

See, I’m going to the O’Reilly Etech Conference next week to try to sell some of my books to the “alpha geeks” as (Tim O’Reilly calls his posse). And to any beta geeks who might be there, and so-on right through the omega geeks, and thence on to the roman alphabet geeks.

So I thought it would be nice to join the modern age and make a little video about me and my books. I was kind of inspired by this self-mocking movie by my friend Josh Crowley at Enter the Jabberwock. I figured, hey, Josh makes cool movies, all the big time writers have youtube movies to promote their books, *I* should make a movie! I thought that was a swell idea.

Not all ideas that I think are swell actually are good ideas, however.

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Living in the Strange Loop

All six of you who have read my novels know that, among other things, I’m kind of obsessive about the Hofstadterian notion of the Strange Loop.

Yesterday in my internet voyaging looking for examples of Magic Eye pictures1 (of which I could not remember the name), I came upon Michael Bach’s wonderful website about optical and visual illusions, which led me to Goo-Shun Wang’s quite marvelous short animated movie Hallucii, about a guy (who quite resembles me, actually) who stumbles into a strange loop and, quite cleverly, (eventually, apparently), finds his way out.

Take a few minutes to watch, and see what it’s like to be me:

Below the fold: a footnote & a painful comment.
UPDATE The version on Goo-Shun Wang’s site doesn’t seem to be working today. Below the fold, I’ve embedded a youtube version.

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Read THE PAINS or I will shoot you in the face

The Pains is now available for you to read, for free, online. It’s under the Creative Commons license, about which more in a moment. It’s also available for you to pre-order printed copies. I would advise your buying several copies: it’s the surest way to avoid extraordinary rendition to an undisclosed location and being subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques.


I’ve updated this entry with some more info about Creative Commons.

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Wah! Why Can't *I* be Michael Pollan??

The other day I was listening to Terri Gross on Freh-share, and her guest was Michael Pollan of “Omnivore’s Dilemma” (and Martha’s Vineyard hippie) fame. They were talking about his recent article in the New York Times Magazine, which was essentially about marrying agricultural policy to national health and community-wellbeing policy.

Below the fold: Ag Ec Rock Star!

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Atrios dogbark blogging

In March, I went to a gathering of people who read Eschaton, a blog by “Atrios”. This guy Atrios has a pithy blogging style that I like a lot. Basically he puts out short observations about this and that (or thus and such)–much as my late dog Rosa used to just bark at random times. People then leave hundreds of comments on Eschaton in response to the Atrios dog-barks.

Among other things, Atrios likes to bark at his readers. From time to time he barks at readers who want him to give them or their blogs publicity. He barks that it is not his job to give people publicity. When he blogs on this topic he gets riled up like a proper chihuahua.

One time Atrios put up on his blog a photo taken inside his apartment. I saw on his bookshelf books by Douglas Hofstadter. So I sent him a note asking if he would like a copy of my Hofstadterian book, “Cheap Complex Devices”. Atrios did not write back.

At Eschacon, I spoke with him for a little bit. He was drinking red wine & think he was a little tipsy. I gave him a copy of my book, which he graciously accepted, and I saw him carrying it around hours later, so I know that, at the least, he did not immediately throw it in the garbage.

However, he still has not replied to my email or given me free publicity on his blog. Also, hardly anybody ever leaves comments here on Wetmachine. Finally, although Doug Hofstadter and I are now friends, he had not read my homage a Hofstadter yet either. And none of you people leave comments!

Also, this entry is much too long for an Atrios-style blog entry. Maybe that’s why I’m a minor blogger and he’s a superstar. It’s harder than it looks.

The Slashdot Manifesto argument and teh future of teh writer on Internets, or, I CAN HAZ UR MONEY?

Steven Poole wrote a blog entry about how the hell us poor writers are supposed to earn a living in this newfangled “information wants to be free” age, characterized by what Poole calls the “Slashdot argument”:

[the Slashdot argument] says that books, music, films, software and so on ought to be freely distributed to anyone who wants them, simply because they can be freely distributed. What is the writer or musician to do, though, if she can’t earn money from her art? Simple, says the Slashdotter: earn your money playing live (if you’re one of those musicians who plays live),4 or selling T-shirts or merchandise, or providing some other kind of “value-added” service.

You may recognize this logic as a variant, or corollary, if you will of the first line of the Toddler’s Manifesto: “if I want it, it’s mine.”

After the jump, a link to a funny cartoon!

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Left Behind is Right Behind

Jim Munroe is a leading light in the do-it-yourself/self publishing universe. After getting bummed out by some less-than-thrilling experiences with the Big House who published his first, science-fictiony novel Flyboy Action Figure Comes With Gasmask, he set out to create a methodology and infrastructure for people (like me) who had decided to go the non-corporate, auteur/artist route. As a founder of AdBusters, Jim had strong culture-jamming experience and street cred upon which to build.

One result of his going out on his own was the No Media Kings website, another was a kind of permanent tour of musicians, artists and writers, both of which are vehicles for similar-minded do-it-yourself artists. He’s written & published several SF novels, and he also makes low-budget indy films and videogames. I’ve met Jim once or twice, and he’s given me some publicity and advice.

Jim’s most recent book is a graphic novel about a post-Rapture world. Below the fold, a short review, part of my occasional series of reviews of self-published books.

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