Saturday, February 25, 2012

New and Noteworthy (The Electronic Frontier, Jonathan McCalmont, Strange Horizons)

In this edition:

* Cory Doctorow on "The Coming War on General-Purpose Computing" and a response from Joe Brockmeier – agreeing about the import of the "copyright war," but raising some other, perhaps even trickier issues. Of related interest: Joe Karaganis on public opinion and heavy-handed online piracy crackdowns.

* Two recent pieces by Jonathan McCalmont, the first on Tim Maughan's indie short fiction collection Paintwork, which includes an interesting overview of the cyberpunk genre since the 1980s; and the second on the formulaic nature of American independent cinema. (Incidentally, McCalmont's discussion focuses on films of the 2000s like About Schmidt, Sideways and Young Adult, more than the angsty slackers, frustrated Hollywood-creative types and quirky lowlifes I personally associate the category with, but nonetheless does a good job describing a substantial amount of the recent territory.)

* At Strange Horizons: Susan Marie Groppi on her departure from the fiction department; reviews of two particularly intriguing books – Adam Roberts' new novel By Light Alone (the clever central gimmick in which is genetic engineering which endows human hair with photosynthetic properties, with huge consequences) and Ernest Cline's Ready Player One (which combines a bleak post-greenhouse future with the '80s geek nostalgia hinted at in the title); and Genevieve Valentine take on the new film version of John le Carré's classic Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy as science fiction.

SOPA Blackout Protest
A Fragment on Indie Film

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