Monday, September 21, 2009

New and Noteworthy (Charlie's Diary, Robinson vs. Mullan, Steampunkopedia2)

Updates have been few in the last month or so, but Raritania-fast approaching its one-year anniversary-remains very much alive.

Noteworthy recent items include:

* Plenty from the always worthwhile Charlie's Diary, including Stross and his readers' tracking of the saga of the Arctic Sea (the last entry on which was "More News From the Tom Clancy Dimension"); his thoughts on the joys of customer service call centers in the New Economy (said disregard for service I chalk up to the combination of "short-termism"-now an accepted term, appearing routinely in academic papers on economics and business-and the view that cutting wage expenditures is the way to business success); and an extended discourse on the "political threats of the 21st century" with an eye to the totalitarian potential latent within transhumanism and extropianism, and the prospect of Singularitarians in "chrome-plated jackboots."

* By way of Ken MacLeod's The Early Days of a Better Nation, Kim Stanley Robinson's claim that British science fiction is the best current British science fiction period, and John Mullan's rejoinder. (I expect I'll have more to say about this in the not-too-distant future.)

* The return of the English-language edition of the Polish steampunk-themed compendium Steampunkopedia (as Steampunkopedia2) on September 3.

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