First of all, a word to the many eager web designers in the audience. Unlike
many webloggers, I am not a web designer. I write novels for a living and I am
strictly a verbal, textual, words-in-a-row kind of guy. Never in my life have I
created even a single line of HTML code. I do not plan to start, either. So do
not send me any helpful email explaining to me how with a few nifty Java
extensions I can introduce some primo dancing baloney into my blog. I totally
get the point there, but I'm not designing this thing and that is not my
Besides, check this out:
You see those people with the cameras? That is an entire crowd of America's
most prominent webloggers crammed into my bathroom. That's like Megnut from
Pyra, and that harrumph personage, and several equally prominent blog gods and
goddesses. If those people cannot change me, you cannot change me.
And that's not all! See this?
This is no less a woman than Rebecca Blood of rebeccablood.net standing in
my living room. Have you ever had prominent left-wing blogging goth Rebecca
Blood inside your house? You haven't? Well I have, so even if my blog has an
unfortunate font choice and a totally inadequate color scheme, you are not going
to be able to pull any rank on me, boyo. Don't even try to tell me how Jakob
Nielsen would have done it. I know Jakob Nielsen's senior partner, Donald
I'm glad that we've got that all straight. Now a word to normal people who
have no idea what blogs are.
See, I like to websurf a lot, and this is a way for you to kind of follow me
around and see what I'm looking at, and what I find useful and amusing. If you
read my novels and short stories, you're only getting the fully composed,
lacquered, airbrushed version of my activities. Most of the insane stuff I look
at never makes it into a sci-fi story. It's too scandalous, or too ludicrous, or
too freaky, or too depressing, or it's of interest only to specialists in
freshwater molluscology or the 13th-century Nestorian heresies of Asia Minor.
But in Schism Matrix you're going to be getting right into the blacksmith
shop. Youre going to be knocking sparks off your sleeves and whiffing those
toxic charcoal fumes right off the anvil.
You may wonder why I'm willing to show you all these cool ideas and images.
After all, what if you steal my ideas and write a sci-fi book about them and
make a lot of money? Well, one of the advantages of my ever-increasing middle
age (and there aren't many), is that nobody expects me to have any ideas any
more. They don't even ask for that, it's not even a selling point. Even my most
devoted fans don't ask me for ideas any more, they just wonder when I will write
a novel with a plot. People buy and sell my books now because my name is on
them. That's it, end of story. There are like fourteen other books with my name
on them now, so it's become a big commodity thing that is recognized by
chainstore buyers. So it just plain doesn't matter what you do with my ideas.
Trust me, nobody's keeping track. You think you can write a book where a
political consultant in the 2040s has a torrid affair in Louisiana with a
neuroscientist, you go right ahead, knock yourself out.
Unlike many bloggers who are eager to tell you about all the cool stuff they
see, I plan to also tell you about stuff you shouldn't look at. Even the
coolest site has usually got something wrong with it, and nobody ever calls them
on it. I'll probably spend a lot of time in my brief reviews telling you why you
should stay away from stuff. You shouldn't websurf all the time anyway, it's bad
for your posture. Naps are good. Eating properly, I recommend that. Get up out
of your chair and go have some safe sex.
I've been on the web for quite a while now, and if you want to see some other
stuff I've been up to over the years, you can check out my webpage here: http://www.well.com/conf/mirrorshades/
However, Schism Matrix is a chance for me to turn the page and start over
with a fresh new sheet of phosphor dots. Now let's see how far we can go before
the backers run out of money or our brains explode.
[ Introduction ] [ This Week ]
Bruce Sterling writes books like Darwin watched animals. Find out more about him, and read tattered electronic copies of Cheap Truth, at the Bruce Sterling Online Index. He lives with his wife Nancy and their two daughters in Austin, Texas.
Special thanks to Heather Champ of Jezebel's Mirror for permission to use her photos, to Rebecca Blood of Rebecca's Pocket for her kindness and likeness, and to everyone in the group shot, Jason, Peter, Judith, Derek, Jesse, Misty, and Meg, for being there when the shutter snapped.