DEAD CHANNEL: MUSIC INSPIRED BY WILLIAM GIBSON’S NEUROMANCER
“The bastard child of Vangelis, John Carpenter, and Jean Michel Jarre”
Been working on this for a while, and now I’m very pleased to announce a new, and rather different, SILENCAEON album; a kinda-retro-but-not-really album of synth-electro music inspired by the seminal cyberpunk novel NEUROMANCER. Think of it like an unofficial soundtrack to the book. I even got William Gibson’s permission to use a passage on one track, gloriously read by actor/podcaster/friend Moisés Chiullan.
(No endorsement or recommendation on the part of Mr Gibson or his publishers is implied. Obv.)
SOUND OF A THOUSAND SF WRITERS FURIOUSLY TYPING DEPT:
Two new entries from the US military, those crazy scamps.
First, they’re researching 3D printing materials that have increased flexibility, based on organic invertebrate structures. Nothing unusual there... until you get to the part where they want to use said materials to make self-aware robot squid that soldiers can print up in the field. I mean, who wouldn’t?
The speed of advancement in 3D printing continues to be remarkable. We’re used to seeing software advance at a rapid rate, of course — compare the laughably primitive computer graphics of the early 1980s to the photorealistic videogames of today, let alone what’s possible with rendered CGI or AI-assisted retouching, and it’s amazing to see what’s been achieved in 40 years. But we don’t necessarily expect that rapid iterative progress with physical materials. Yet that’s exactly what’s been happening in the 3D printing space, where we’ve gone from “rudimentary plastic” to “actual cardiac tissue that beats like a heart” in a decade. And I thought I was being clever when I did a story around home-made 3D-printed bullets in THE FUSE a few years back…
3D squid: https://www.c4isrnet.com/news/your-army/2018/04/18/army-researchers-are-developing-a-self-aware-robot-squid-you-can-3d-print-in-the-field/
AI retouching: https://www.engadget.com/2018/04/24/nvidia-ai-fixes-photos/
Second, and speaking of bullets... as if they don’t get a bad enough rap, turns out spent loads are also bad for the environment. Who knew? So here’s a plan to create biodegradable bullets, which don’t leach toxic chemicals and metals into an environment’s soil and groundwater after use. Nothing unusual there... until you get to the part where they also want said bullets to carry bioengineered seeds that will revive plant life in war-torn areas and clean up hazardous chemical by-products of warfare.
YOU DON’T OWE PEOPLE YOUR EMAIL
That’s not directly taken from the “Organised Writer” book I’m working on, but the principle is definitely in there. I won’t go into the specific email that prompted the tweet, but I will reiterate as a general rule: you don’t owe people your time.
Yes, try to be a good person, be civil, do good where you can, all that. But one way our inboxes overwhelm us is by filling up with unprompted emails from complete strangers asking you to do something for them. Sometimes, sure, they might be things you want to do. But if not, you don’t owe those people a reply; and you certainly shouldn’t allow them to take up valuable space and attention in your mind (or inbox) because you’re unsure how to reply. Just hit Delete; it’s OK.
SUNDAY MAY 6 - NEWCASTLE NOIR
Don't forget I'll be at the Newcastle Noir festival in a couple of weeks' time, for the “Otherworldly” panel with Chris Brookmyre, Michael J Malone, and new addition to the bill Stuart Neville. It's at the Lit & Phil, Sunday May 6, at 10am (!)
Details and booking info: https://twitter.com/NewcastleNoir/status/989093389156212736
BOOM! TETRIS FOR JEFF
Sometimes, the algorithm™ is good; what with, well, everything else going on toward the end of last year, I completely missed the Classic Tetris World Championship finals in November. Luckily, for some reason the final popped up in my YouTube recommendations this week, and it does (did?) not disappoint — except that Jeff didn’t make it through this year.
(For the baffled, here’s the original “BOOM Tetris for Jeff” video. Now, who wants to buy me one of those t-shirts? 😅)