Saturday, December 12, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Now he's facing a federal felony charge in the US. Watts, for those who don't know, is the author of the fabulous Blindsight, a bleak but mindblowing novel that was nominated for a Hugo a few years back. It's available as a download thanks to its Creative Commons license.
The folks who like to grovel before authority are predictably already turning up in Boing Boing's comments. We don't know what happened, maybe he was at fault, blah blah blah. You know what? I don't even care if Watts argued with the guards, if he verbally provoked them, if he refused to follow their orders immediately. I don't for a minute believe that an SF author and former marine biologist in his forties just lunged at a border guard.
I do believe that border guards have an absurd amount of power over people. When you have that much power in one place, you've created a job that attracts bullying assholes. Not all of them, but way too many are just there to push people around and feed their piggy little egos.
I've donated $20 to Watts through his PayPal account on his website.
If, like me, you've ever been treated like dirt by some jackass of a border guard, kick in a few bucks. Free Peter Watts!
Saturday, August 1, 2009
To the editors,I've just read on Abigail Nussbaum's site, Asking the Wrong Questions, that she and another io9 user were banned immediately after they posted comments questioning whether the articles on District 9 were biased because it was io9's ComiCon sponsor. The link to at least one user's profile seems to show that her last comment before being banned was criticism about District 9.I'm hoping you can provide an explanation. Until you do, I'm going to trust that Ms. Nussbaum has it right, and I won't be reading your site.Sincerely,[My real name]
Hi Abigail, thanks for writing about io9. Sorry I only just saw this, after someone sent us the link. To answer your points in order: We banned Oliver because he was being abusive. We have a clear policy that says that if you attack us or accuse us of not believing what we write on the site, then we will ban you. Your comment never actually appeared on the site -- when I read your comment, I thought it was Oliver coming back under another name. Someone may well have responded to your comment -- sometimes starred commenters can see unapproved comments and respond to them -- but you were never approved.
As for District 9, we saw this movie at SDCC and it blew us away. And we really did think it came into SDCC with the least buzz, and came out with the biggest increase in buzz. It would be hypocritical of us, in the extreme, not to say what we think about this movie because it's advertising on our site. We've never had any pressure to say nice things about our advertisers, and if we had, we'd ignore it. We assumed anyone who visits io9 regularly would know that we don't give special treatment to our advertisers. We hadn't been hyping District 9 much until we saw it and realized how great it was.
Thanks again for commenting about io9, and for helping keep us honest. We love your writing over at StrangeHorizons.
Charlie Jane Anders
Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
The first half of the book is split between the con itself – they're trying some complicated theft/swindle targeting the richest and most dangerous casino owner and gangster in town – and the back story of how they got there. At the end of Locke Lamora, the title character was half dead and Jean wasn't in much better shape. Lynch shows Lamora diving into a big pool of self pity, with Jean forced to repeatedly fish him out. Lamora puts himself back together slowly (in the movie version, there'll be a montage of him re-learning card tricks) until he's ready to take on the big con.
Just as the con gets going, however, it's derailed. The military dictator of their new home town decides to press the two Gentlemen Bastards into service. He's on the verge of a civil war with the town's wealthy merchants. He wants a fake pirate scare, so he has Locke and Jean given a crash course in seamanship and sent out with a crew. They'll ravage the annoying merchants and give the dictator the excuse to make his army and navy even bigger.
Then there are mutinies, battles at sea, numerous assassination attempts, new love, betrayal, more sea battles, more betrayal, and Jean and Locke are squeezed tight between so many clashing factions they're almost squished. The book concludes with an orgy of finales – to the con, the pirate wars, and the fates of half a dozen characters.
On a page to page level, the book is almost as good as LoLL. Locke and Jean are still compelling characters, and the pirates, casino owners, various henchmen and others are colourfully drawn. The new city – I still can't remember the damn place's name – just isn't as lively or as fully realized as Camorr, however. The pirate ships prove a better setting.
My key complaints with the book are twofold. First, the flashback structure doesn't work as well here as it did in The Lies of Locke Lamora. In that book, we were learning about the education and allegiances of the Gentlemen Bastards as we watched them doing their job in the present day. In Red Seas, an enormous amount of time is spent in the first few flashbacks on Locke being miserable, but we already know he gets over this in time to jump into the big con game. It all feels too drawn out, and it hurts the book's forward momentum. Second, the grumbling and personality conflicts between Locke and Jean feel a bit contrived. They seem to constantly be offending, disappointing or annoying one another. It never amounts to anything, though. There just isn't enough conflict to tear the duo apart.
Oh, and yet again the love of Locke's life is referred to, but does not appear. Two books running is a bit much to drag out such a key plot point.
Still, it's very deserving of the label swashbuckling. Fun characters, a fun world, and a fun adventure. If you liked the first book, by all means read it and move on to this one.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
Saturday, May 2, 2009
1. My Legions of Terror will have helmets with clear Plexiglas visors, not face concealing ones. 2. My ventilation ducts will be too small to crawl through.
The Top 100 Things I'd Do If I Ever Became An Evil OverlordCome on! It's number two on the list, right there! DeWitt, you are not doing your homework. The guys at the Centre are going to be pissed.
1. My Legions of Terror will have helmets with clear Plexiglas visors, not face concealing ones.
2. My ventilation ducts will be too small to crawl through.
Not as pissed as I am when the show is cancelled, though. One to go, and one extra episode on the DVD boxed set with Felicia Day. Then, that's all she wrote.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Riley: Buffy. When I saw you stop the world from, you know, ending, I just assumed that was a big week for you. It turns out I suddenly find myself needing to know the plural of apocalypse.
Monday, April 27, 2009
I swear to god, if Kirk becomes captain of the Enterprise because he's mad at his father, I'm going to burn down a movie theatre.Harsh words? Pointless hyperbole? Or shocking prophecy! From Paul McAuley's early review:
And it would good, too, if we could finally get away from the plot cliche in which the hero has to prove himself worthy of his father - in Kirk's case, not only his dead father, but the father-figure of Captain Pike, and the uber-father of the Academy. Been there, done that, got theStarship Troopers T-shirt.