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  • You have better things to be doing than reading this email

You have better things to be doing than reading this email

Such as voting (or buying books)

things even better than reading this email, a short list

one: go vote

Local elections are boring, but important.

These are the people that make the decisions that impact your neighbourhoods, your schools, your favourite cafe, the trees on your street (still angry about that one), the books in your library, and every other aspect of the life you lead in the space immediately around you.

Turnout is always lower in local elections, and low turnout is how bad things happen. Grab your photo ID and go vote.

two: check out this awesome new book

The brand new, two volume British edition of The Big Book of Cyberpunk is out today.

It is really gorgeous! It is really huge! It is full of dire stories about the things that can happen if you don’t engage with the democratic process! (Topical!)

I sent an email to my (beloved) agent on 14 December 2020 that began with the sentence ‘There's just WAY too much cyberpunk going on in other media for there not to be a companion anthology.’ Three and a half very, very, very busy years later, here we are. Thank you all very much for your time and patience along that journey, and I hope you enjoy the fruits of that labour.

It is a weird feeling to be done. I didn’t have a ‘closure moment’ last year when the book came out, because it was a US release and I am not in the US. Life being life, I’m not having a launch party or anything for the UK edition, so, y’know, this is it: 🎉 

three: read some other stuff

Ganzeer’s “CRISPR Than You” is one of the stories in the BBoCP (above). I’ve always loved it when anthologies sneak in a mixed-media story - a throwback to the nightmarish Gahan Wilson entry in Again, Dangerous Visions. Ganzeer’s detailed future history is gloriously wrapped in his artwork, bringing the reader along for the journey in a really unique way. ANYWAY, some lucky bastard can walk away with all the originals + some the outlines and ephemera of the process around it. (There’s all sorts of other cool stuff in his shop as well. Half of it is already hanging on our walls, and I’m looking longingly about the other half…)

We need to rewild the internet. This is a lengthy, but well-written essay that uses the metaphor of ecology to talk about how the internet has become, not an ecosystem, but a ‘plantation’. Ultimately, this is a poetic plea for anti-trust action. Honestly, I usually find infrastructural chit-chat kinda boring, but, in this case - it is a compelling argument. This isn’t about shuffling bits around, or god forbid, just relying on some sort of adjustment to user behaviour - there’s a fundamental issue in how the internet is built and managed at the macro level.

The above pairs well with this article: ‘The Man Who Killed Google Search’. What happens when the people that are responsible for making x do x realise that making x do (a slightly shitter version of x) is more profitable? And what happens when (see above) there’s a monopoly in place, so the shitter version of x is unavoidable?

The weird and - rather gross - trend of ‘Auschwitz’ books. I wrote a piece a few years ago called ‘The Holocaust is not your muse’, which was due to run on on a news site the same day that Trump got a bunch of QAnoners to storm the capitol. So that got rightfully parked, and then never made it out of the lot. ANYWAY, the article linked here lays it out better than I ever could, and I’m pretty sure my personal take on the topic is clear from the title of my piece (above). So just stop it, ok?

America’s ‘car bloat’:

The negative externalities of supersized cars — in emissions, crash deaths, and the erosion of tires and pavement — are what economists call a market failure, since their costs are borne by society writ large, not the people who buy big pickups and SUVs. Left unaddressed, those societal costs will grow as more people replace their modest-sized cars with big SUVs or trucks. After all, everyone else seems to be doing it — why not do the same, if only for self-preservation?

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