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Tuesday, August 29, 2006
12:27 PM
Readers, recently, ask: What are these things "really" like?

Well, really, you the reader are expected to do a bit of imagining on your own; you see black marks on white paper, interpret them, and form an image. Part of the writer's task is in judging whether you're being given too much information or too little. As a reader of sf, I often felt I was being given too little, and that the writer probably wasn't bothering to form that detailed an image in her own mind. Part of my initial urge to write sf grew out of a frustration with that, leading to what Bruce Sterling (I believe) deemed "the hyperspecificity of the cyberpunk style".

With Molly Millions' "implanted" glasses, though, I could never dream up a sufficiently convincing way to imagine them being attached. Were they "implanted" in skin, muscle, bone, all of these? How would any of these impact on the mobility of her features? What would the seam between skin and mirror look like?

The character having emerged, very handily, in an early short story, when I hadn't been much concerned with this particular detail, and not having expected to see her again, I found myself, as more Molly narratives emerged, concerned by my inability to satisfactorily envision the way in which the damned things were attached. My solution to this, ongoing, was to keep the "camera" off that troubling little detail. To blur around it with language. The "mirrored implants" worked wonders for the character, in fact largely *were* the character, but there was never, really, any "really" there.

With the "Zeiss-Ikon eyes", from "Burning Chrome", which some readers evidently invision as (gack) German camera lenses, there was a "really". I assumed they were vat-grown, genetically optically perfect organs, perhaps further tweaked to maximize them as, in effect, video cameras. The name of the company would be subtly worked into the patterning around each iris, and wouldn't be very obvious at all, or readable, unless you were extremely close to the wearer (recipient? owner?)

And this post has left me so otaku-OD'd that I wish I could retire for a coffee, to one of those joints in Akihabara where the waitresses wear Minnie Mouse shoes and bulbous three-fingered gloves!

Friday, August 25, 2006
1:36 PM

Tuesday, August 22, 2006
7:44 PM
This case of diphallus reminds me of that tiny but grimly inexplicable web-genre of DIY willy-whittling that Warren Ellis makes a point of keeping us all abreast of. How poignant, that the gentleman so gifted prefers instead to surgically opt for mono-dicked orthodoxy -- considering the apparent number, however small, of Xacto-wielding body-mod hobbyists out there, bent on home bifurcation.

Thursday, August 17, 2006
6:23 PM
“Move,” Brown ordered. “They’ll be sealing off the area.” He yanked open the Corolla’s rear door and shoved Milgrim inside, face-first. “Floor,” he commanded.

Milgrim managed to pull his feet in just as Brown slammed the door. He smelled relatively new automobile carpet. His knees were on Brown’s black bag and laptop, but he knew that the moment, if there had ever been one, was past. He concentrated on breathing more regularly, and on preparing his excuse for having come uncuffed.

“Stay down,” Brown said, getting in on the driver’s side and starting the engine. He pulled away from the curb. Milgrim felt him turn right on Union Square West, then slow. The front passenger door opened, as someone scrambled in. They pulled away again, the door slamming.

“Give it to me,” Brown said.

Milgrim heard something rustle.

“You used gloves?” The level calm in Brown’s voice, Milgrim knew from experience, was a bad sign. Red Team One’s day in the park must not have gone well.

“Yes,” someone said. A man’s voice, perhaps familiar from the meeting earlier, in the New Yorker. “That part came off when he dropped it.”

Brown said nothing.

“What happened?” the other asked. “Were they expecting us?”

“Maybe they’re always expecting someone. Maybe they’ve been trained to do that. Hell of a concept, isn’t it?”

“How’s Davis?”

“Looked like a broken neck, to me.”

“You didn’t say he was dangerous.”

Milgrim closed his eyes.

“You know something?” Brown asked.


“You are dumber than a sack full of hammers. Blackwater dump your ass for dumbness? Is that what I’ll find out when I ask them?”

The other said nothing.

Brown stopped the car. “Get out,” he said. “Leave town. This afternoon.”

Milgrim heard the door open, the man get out, the door close.

Brown drove on. “Get that Transit ticket off the rear window,” Brown said.

Milgrim crawled up on the rear seat and pulled the suction cups off the glass. They were about to turn onto 14th. He looked back up Union Square West and saw a black Hercules team vehicle blocking an intersection. He turned around, hoping Brown wouldn’t order him back on the floor, and placed his feet, carefully, on either side of Brown’s laptop and bag. “Are we going back to the New Yorker?”

“No,” said Brown, “we are not going back to the New Yorker.”

Tuesday, August 15, 2006
11:12 PM

Monday, August 14, 2006
11:51 AM
Homemade smuggling submarine found on Spanish coast. Sound system by Monsoon. All-female crew wore Depp-style pirate drag.

Friday, August 11, 2006
10:56 PM
Those slaphappy FRANCO-BALLARDIAN street-comedians are at it again in sunny Benidorm!

10:23 AM
Steve Brown sent me an email today with the title of this entry as its subject heading:

"I read your recent blog post about your Wikipedia entry just after reading a lengthy & amusing article on the Wiki in a recent NEW YORKER".

"The most interesting aspect is the ongoing struggle to keep entries remotely believable, and the various methods of policing them they've come up with. I love the lists (in the NY article) of the topics blocked from modification due to hot-blooded flamewars. I can understand blocking the entry on 'God' or 'Israel', but 'Oranges' and 'Cheese'?

"US congressmen would go onto Wiki and tinker with their own entries, sanitizing their voting records & the like. They said that this became so bad that the Wiki people blocked the entire site to modification from *anyone* in the US House of Representatives.

"A popular cable comedy show last week did an on-air discussion of the Wiki. The host demonstrated how easy it was to alter by changing the George Washington entry while you watched. He then suggested various humorous modifications to the entry on elephants. During this show's broadcast, Wiki's servers crashed as a few hundred thousand people logged on & followed instructions. When they came back up, they had to forbid modification to 'George Washington' and any entry containing the word 'elephant'."

Monday, August 07, 2006
8:13 PM
Cory Doctorow in BOING BOING today.

And how.

Moving on to another, infinitely less destructive kind of fear, I've noticed that a few readers are finding it necessary to look away and whistle loudly as they tiptoe past those bits of draft novel I've been posting recently. Fear of spoilers. As it happens, I'm now getting past the point in my narrative where I can do that without actually revealing (by my own eccentric standards) "too much", so I'm going to cool it now. There will probably be the odd (really odd, I would hope) exception, but generally, no.

My thanks to those of you who've responded. It's been encouraging, and sometimes practically helpful, to have that feedback.

10:25 AM
Just noticed that Wikipedia's William Gibson entry has acquired a new factual error, in the year or so since I last looked at it. I did not make a cameo appearance in the X-Files episode "Kill Switch", but Wiki bios gradually grow and lose and sometimes regrow these things in the progress of their overwriting. A restless microscopic process in the tubes that comprise the internet. Miniscule migrations of concensus reality. That stuff growing on the walls is actually *moving*.

Tulpa plaque, slowly forming the shape of my acting career...

Sunday, August 06, 2006
7:11 PM
With Oshosi at his shoulder, Tito rounded the corner of the playground fence and ran toward East 16th. Oshosi wanted him out of the park and its calculable geometries of pursuit. A cab slid in front of him as he darted into the traffic on Union Square East; he went over its hood, meeting the astonished eyes of its driver as he hurtled past the windshield. The man slammed his horn and held it, and other horns woke reflexively, a sudden uneven blaring that mounted to a new crescendo as his three pursuers reached the stream of traffic.

Tito looked back and saw one of them maneuvering between bumpers with queer, high steps, as if trying to avoid wetting his feet, while holding something aloft like a token. A badge.

Friday, August 04, 2006
8:31 AM
Silver nitrous girls pointed into occult winds of porn and destiny.

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