Friday, July 27, 2007

Quick update

Just a quick update to add another UK book seller that's carrying Looking Glass. And, um. To fix the typo in the ISBN number I was listing. If you have tried to find my book by ISBN and failed, a thousand pardons please. The correct 13 digit ISBN number is: 978-09795889-0-7.


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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Technology in the LookingGlass World (pt 3 of 3)

Politico-cultural impacts on technology and vice versa.
Other factors that have limited the growth of computing technology in the LookingGlass world are the destruction of the American economy, both in terms of dollars for R&D and in terms of dollars to purchase the end-user products. The domination of nations by large corporations will also serve to stifle the growth of technology, as discussed in part 1. Companies in the world of Looking Glass work very hard to stifle smaller, hungrier companies’ access to the market, their ability to develop new technologies, and so forth. Small, hungry companies work very hard to push technology forward and beat the large companies. Corporate espionage is exceedingly common. Corporate life in the world of Looking Glass is an exaggeration of today. It’s paranoid, cannibalistic, short sighted, and destructive, and above all, wasteful of human resources.

One of the big questions I asked myself when I put the LookingGlass world together, both in 1991 when I originally came up with the bones of the world, and in 2004 when I wrote Looking Glass, was “What would the world look like after the fall of the United States?” This begged the question, “What would the world look like after going through the fall of the United States?” and of course, “What made the United States fall?” As with the fall of other great empires, Rome and the Soviet Union, there are no simple answers to any of these. Looking Glass presents one engineer’s impression of what happened, and her memories of passing through that time. Subsequent books in the story present a different view, rather like the old story of the blind men trying to describe an elephant. What the political changes that made our world into my world looked like depend a lot on what part of them impacted your life. And, like the fall of Rome and the fall of the Soviet Union, the average joe (or joanne) still had to earn a living, still had to put food on the table, and so on. By virtue of having survived that time, all the characters in the LookingGlass world found ways to do those things. Not everyone did.

From an economic perspective, as well as a cultural perspective, the great money-generating engine of the United States of America is gone. Only recently, in the history of the Looking Glass world, have the nations of the former United States emerged from the shadow of hunger, so the amount of capital available for luxuries is considerably lower than in the real world. Electronics are the most common, and in more depressed areas, one frequently sees equipment dating all the way back to the present (real world) day, if it still works, and if there’s been no need to upgrade. The pursuit of the shiny and new has slackened considerably, at least in the former United States. This becomes much more important in subsequent books, where the main characters are not corporate employees.

This, then, is the technological picture of the Looking Glass world. Start with the technology of today, add a couple quantum leaps in human-interface technology, and then de-capitalize the picture with the collapse of the United States. It’s a varied technological picture, a weird polyglot technological front where a given character may have technology spanning half a century on their person. This, too, is very much how it is in the real world.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Reading at Who_Else Books, Denver

I will be reading from Looking Glass at Who Else Books, in the Denver Book mall, Sunday, July 29, at 3:00PM I'm not entirely clear how long I'll be reading, so I'm going to prepare two readings from Looking Glass, and probably have one in reserve from a work in progress. I may also be asked to natter on about science fiction in general a little. Those who follow this weblog will probably be familiar with some of the material I'll cover in that case.

Joining me will be Gaddy Bergmann, author of Migration of the Kamishi. Migration of the Kamishi is the story of two young men, orphaned by the destruction of their tribe, as they make their way across a North America left wild, three thousand years after human society is destroyed by the impact of the asteroid Apophis. Migration of the Kamishi is a story of sweeping vistas and big sky, set against a landscape and wildlife freed from human influence. Gaddy is a fellow Flying Pen Press author, so if he looks familiar, you've seen his picture in this web log.

Also joining us will be Warren Hammond, author of Kop. Kop is a future-noir crime story, set in the cities of the dark jungle planet of Lagerto, a dead-end colony world caught in a downward spiral of economic ruin and crime. The story follows an aging cop as he and his new partner try to unravel an apparent serial killing, and disentangle themselves from the web of corruption they've lived in since their youth. If you catch me in his line to buy a copy and get it signed? You can see why. (No, I haven't read Kop yet. Yes, I cribbed from several reviews for this summary. I've been a bit busy. :)

The Denver Book Mall is located at 32 Broadway, between 1st Ave and Ellsworth, and the phone number is 303-733-3808.

Hope to see you all there!


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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Another quick update

Bumper crop of reviews these last few days. They're much appreciated, especially since they're such *good* reviews. :) This one, from someone I don't know on, and that one, from an online friend. Thanks, all!

Also, look for part 3 of the article on Technology in the LookingGlass world sometime this week. That will probably wrap that topic up, and I'll have to, you know, think of other content to post here.


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