Back in black

Paul Raven @ 03-05-2011

The UK’s bumper-bank-holiday fortnight is over, and I have access to a stable internet connection once again… which means it’s time to warm over the engines here at Futurismic and get back into the groove of talking about interesting stuff I found on the intertubes. Doing so will involve scaling the Brobdingnagian RSS mountain that lurks in my Reader account, of course; that alarming but cheery “1000+ items!” message suggests that that declaring inbox bankruptcy on all but the last few days is probably the only sensible way to deal with the problem.

And of course, the big story of the last few days is pretty inescapable. So you can read my thoughts about the assassination of Osama bin Laden over at Velcro City Tourist Board, should you wish to. Shorter version: not sad he’s dead, but pretty sickened by the glorying in his death; close with Nietzsche quote about being careful not to become that which you would destroy.

Additional: I somehow managed to squeeze writing a piece on the Arthur C Clarke Award for New Scientist into the mad churn of last week; I dare say those of you with an interest in the Clarke have already heard about it (a long-odds win for Lauren Beukes with Zoo City from the excellent Angry Robot imprint), but a chance to crow about writing for an organ I’ve been reading since I was a teenager was just too good to pass up, y’know? πŸ™‚

Normal programming (for values of “normal” based on a highly localised dataset) will be resumed imminently; thanks for your patience.


Dropping the shutters

Paul Raven @ 12-04-2011

OK, as some of you may already know, yours truly is about to go through the whole “moving house” nightmare again; in the next few days I’ll be decamping from the metaphorical banks of the Styx and crossing the 250-odd miles back to the south coast, and my old stamping grounds of Velcro City.

Regrettably – no thanks to the general uselessness of estate agents – I don’t actually have a new home to move into, so I’m going to be sofasurfing and prevailing upon the hospitality of friends until a more permanent abode becomes available. As such, the next seven days will see me largely detached from the internet’s life-giving (or is it life-draining?) flood of bits and bytes, and the few weeks immediately following may well be defined by limited access to such.

The TL;DR version: I ain’t gonna be blogging over the next week, and things will probably be slow to restart immediately after that.

I hope you’ll bear with me during this transitional period… and indeed the year ahead, which is shaping up to be full of interesting and exciting changes in my life. As a taster of such, perhaps you’d like to pop over to New Scientist‘s Culture Lab blog and read a write-up of the Transcendent Man discussion panel I went to last weekend, which has been penned by some bloke with a by-line that should be familiar to you? πŸ˜‰

Thanks for your patience, and your continued readership; we’ll be back to broadcast-as-usual as soon as circumstances permit. πŸ™‚


New Scientist announces flash fiction contest

Paul Raven @ 23-10-2010

… picks Neil Gaiman for the judge’s chair, and – as far as I can tell – puts no geographical restrictions on who can enter. In the interests of promoting one of their projects, I’m going to presume that NS won’t mind me repeating most of the announcement here verbatim:

Send us your very short stories about futures that never were. Tell us where we’d be today if the ether had turned out to exist after all, or if light really was made up of corpuscles emitted by the eyes. You don’t have to be scientifically accurate, but the more convincing your story, the more likely it is to win!

[…]

Your story should be no more than 350 words long, including the title – do watch your word count, we hate having to disqualify good competition entries because they’re just a bit too long – and should not have previously been published anywhere else. Only one entry per person, please.

Here’s the small print: the upshot is that by submitting your story you give us non-exclusive rights to publish it now or at any future date, in whatever medium we choose. The closing date is 19 November 2010.

So no prize beyond the glory itself, but even so, I think I might just have a crack at this myself. πŸ™‚