Sunday, November 19, 2006


Bruce Sterling

Got my new issue of Wired Magazine yesterday. As usual, I'm going from cover-to-cover. I skip some stuff, but not much. Bruce Sterling, who has been a regular writer of the Posts column, wrote his final column for the magazine. He'll still be blogging for Wired, though.

He talks about predicting the future of technology and how difficult this is - how we tend to predict the extremes (either it'll be the downfall of mankind, or the greatest thing since sliced bread) and how it's the middle road that wins out. In the course of his discussion he says:

"I know this is true because I've lived it. I'm a pre-Internet novelist who became moderately famous online, only to have my paperback writing slow down as I began to spend uncontrollable amounts of time surfing and blogging. This experience is both grand and problematic. It reflects not two extremes but the slider-bar that is my everyday life."

A couple of thoughts on this. Yes, online writing is different than offline writing (i.e. novels, short stories, etc.), but not that much different. Writing is writing is writing. I prefer shorter stuff online, as do most people, only because it's difficult on the eyes to concentrate unwaveringly on a glowing screen. If a story is not short online, I tend to scan more, which compounds the problem. Books and magazines, which I hope will never go away, are easier to look at, plus there's the physicality of the paper that I love (which I'm sure I've mentioned before).

The other thing I realized while reading Sterling's thoughts is that I get tons of ideas for stories from Wired. In this magazine alone there's an article on seeding clouds for snow, one on different scales of measure, one on nanny cams, one on geoengineering the atmosphere in order to quickly combat global warming, and one that presents a different view of what emotions are. Any one of these ideas could easily work its way into a story, either as a critical role, or as a minor player. (And I haven't even gotten to the meat of the magazine, yet.) If Sterling wants to return to novel writing, he need look no further than Wired.

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