Special signed, limited hard cover edition of Vin Suprynowicz’s new novel The Black Arrow. These copies apparently are going fast. I have not read the book, but the blurb promises “a tale of sex and violence: freedom and fertility; rebellion and revenge. With lots of rock ‘n roll.” The cover on the paperback harkens back to the pulp days, as does this excerpt:
In the dark of the city’s night, wherever the weak or oppressed cry out in pain or fear, a quiet footfall is heard on the roof, the owlshadow passeth before the moon. The twang of the bow, the quiet gasp of feathered death … the Black Arrow lives.
Hardcover publication date is February, 2005, and the mass market paperback follows in April.
The backlash has begun against the uber-cool product of the past few years: Apple‘s iPod. Over at the Times Online, one fusty critic bemoans the listening public’s ability to select their own playlists and song orders. The “fad gadget,” he writes, tunes out your brain, and makes every iPod the sound of familiarity and your local middle of the road radio station. Great albums are conceived as a whole (listing two albums), yet the iPod let it’s user choose which songs to play, and when. On a 40G iPod you can store 10,000 songs, which means days of uninterrupted sound and unheard of variety. His battle cry?
You need a start, a middle and a finish — and one chosen by the composer.
Instead, the iPod is about liberty, freeing the listener to make this choice – play the entire Ring of the Nibelung in one go, or just an overture. CD compilations and excerpts have existed for decades, yet the choice never was in the listener’s hands. Now that choice exists. And people are making that choice. The Palm Beach Daily News writes that many iPods contain guilty pleasures. We all have our strange lapses from our familiar tastes, and what’s wrong with that? Apple has blazed the path to a future of choice, the other companies are leaping through the breach.
More Vinge stuff. An old interview from 2003 over at Strange Horizons. Here I am surfing around trying to get info on when Vinge’s new book will be published, and I find other tidbits.
Another Vernor Vinge story, “Synthetic Serendipity”, which may remind readers of his award-winning story, “Fast Times at Fairmont High.”
Read Vernor Vinge’s story, “The Cookie Monster”, online over at Analog.
By way of Reason magazine’s Hit and Run blog is this excellent article by Paul Berman on the recent Che Guevara movie, The Cult of Che – Don’t applaud The Motorcycle Diaries. Dissident writers are dying and lingering Cuban prisons, with most of America is turning a blind eye to their plight. Berman wonders
[If the] people who stand up to cheer a hagiography of Che Guevara, as the Sundance audience did, will ever give a damn about the oppressed people of Cuba—will ever lift a finger on behalf of the Cuban liberals and dissidents. It’s easy in the world of film to make a movie about Che, but who among that cheering audience is going to make a movie about Raúl Rivero?
Given the long history of American intellectuals as fellow travelers to the Marxist creed, including the brutal and blood-stained reigns of Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, I fear when Berman writes
“The days when American intellectuals rallied in any significant way to the cause of liberal dissidents in other countries[…]—those days appear to be over.”
that he is overly optimistic. Those days have never existed. The idea of liberty to American intellectuals, especially those of the arts, favors dissidents usually of a marxist-Leninist bent. That idea of liberty twists the meaning of the word beyond recognition.
The Libertarian Futurist Society (LFS) announced the winners of the 2004 Prometheus and Hall of Fame Awards at Noreascon 4, the World Science Fiction Convention. Locus Online broke the story on September 3. (Scroll down to the Awards News from Friday 3 September 2004. The news has not yet hit the LFS site. F. Paul Wilson’s Sims won for best novel, and Vernor Vinge’s short story, “The Ungoverened,” won the Hall of Fame.
Update: The LFS web page now has full info on the winners.
The publisher’s web page still states “Coming July 4th,” but since it’s now September, perhaps one can assume the book is available?