On Monday 24th March 2008 I attended the last day of the Eastercon science fiction convention held in London called Orbital 2008, my first time at such an event.
I gave out NO2ID Campaign badges, to many very receptive people, or to people who turned out to already be signed up or pledged as NO2ID supporters.
I managed to strike up conversations with some really interesting and intelligent people, with whom I will be happy to chat to over a drink again in the near future.
Cory Doctorow, who read from Chapter 12 from his new book aimed at young adults called Little Brother which is due to be published in the USA on April 29th, but which, incredibly is being talked about as a 2011 release by a UK publisher ! Given that Cory is an advocate of electronic publishing, this UK publisher seems to be utterly out of touch with the 21st Century.
200 free copies of Little Brother for high-school newspaper reviewers
My next novel, Little Brother, is coming out in about six weeks, on April 29. It’s a book for young adults, about freedom, surveillance, and how technology can be used to free you or to lock you up. It’s about a gang of hacker/gamer kids in San Francisco who use technology to restore freedom to America, despite the damndest efforts of the Department of Homeland Security to take it away in the name of fighting terrorism.
Cory's reading from Chapter 12 was really good - the audience laughed aloud over the use of diluted pepper spray "effectively an anti-personnel weapon" as a condiment for spicy Mexican food. There was a description of a rousing illegal open air music concert, in a park in the Mission District of San Francisco, which seems to have been organised via the underground network of Linux hacked Xboxes
This is probably similar to the concept of the TOR onion routing project
The concert crowd shouted "Bring it back" after being exhorted "Don't trust anyone over 25", and the story changed mood with the description of the tender fondlings of the young hero and heoine, who seem to have met at a PGP Key Signing Party, after which the laptop computers which had been used to generate cryptographic keys were smashed to pieces.
These tender moments were interrupted by a heavy handed crowd dispersal tactics of the Police and the Department of Homeland (in)Security using high powered sonic weapons / public address systems, and helicopter crowd dispersal pepper spray.
Cory answered questions and made sensible comments on publishing, on his own writing methods and on how to improve science fiction conventions/
Cory mentioned William Gibson's Spook Country as an example of a futuristic novel set in the "unevenly distributed" future/ present of last year. Cory made the important technical criticism of the Spook Country draught before publication, pointing out to William Gibson that GPS satellite tracking does not actually work (on its own) indoors, without a clear view of (usually) 4 satellites, which led William Gibson to make more use of WiFi in his Locative Art installation descriptions. I mentioned my participation in the Node magazine and the hyperlink cloud annotation of Spook Country, even before it was officially published.
Apart from Cory's session, there were plenty of other interesting sessions: