[7RQ] Status Report / Conspiracies & Panopticons / Source Code



THE STATE OF ALL THINGS


I’ve been neck-deep in writing for the past couple of months, only surfacing on social media to make bad jokes, rant about our infantile politicians, or make bad jokes about our infantile politicians.

Oh, I did nip down to London to pick up a new suit. But still.

THE TEMPUS PROJECT — New Brigitte Sharp novel, sequel to THE EXPHORIA CODE. Incredibly, I appear to be not only closer to the finish than I realised, but actually on track to meet the deadline. This is how novels seem to go, for me; months spent floundering, convinced I’ve lost it but doggedly putting one foot in front of the other anyway, until suddenly I turn around and there’s an almost-complete book staring me in the face. The value of sheer bloody-mindedness. If you missed the announcement of this one:
https://www.thebookseller.com/news/lightning-scoops-cyber-thriller-sequel-965076
“GOJIRA” — Big videogame project for a Japanese developer, as yet unannounced and therefore one I’m not allowed to discuss (Gojira is my own codename for it, nothing official). But it’s going well, and I promise, once the news is out there you won’t be able to move for it.

THE ORGANISED WRITER — Non-fiction book I wrote last year, currently doing the rounds of publishers. Yes, this is a slow process. Hopefully something to talk about here soon.

“PINSTRIPE” — The screenplay I finished in December, which turned out waaaay better than I expected. Now in the hands of the movie’s producers; again, nothing to announce at this time.

“TENNIS” — Article for a niche-but-big-within-it venue, currently about 1,000 words longer than it should be and in need of serious pruning.

“CANNED SOUP” — Another non-fiction, much shorter than The Organised Writer, but taking just as long because I can only work on it when I get a spare moment. Which is… not often (*gestures vaguely at all of the above*). This one might go straight to ebook, but undecided.

“THE COLDEST THIRD” — Not the actual title, calm down. Third graphic novel in the Coldest series, focusing on Lorraine Broughton once again. Scripting should begin after I finish TEMPUS.

And then there’s another screenplay, a TV pilot, a new novel unrelated to Bridge, plus hopefully a third one about Bridge… and I’m sure there’s more that I’m forgetting, but that’ll do you for now. Plus ça change, as I find myself saying with increasing frequency.


PROSPIRACY THEORIES


I love this. Using the aesthetics of conspiracy theorists to present straight-up facts; the precision of the pastiche is both impressive and amusing, but the reasoning behind them — that conspiracy theories spread more successfully than dry facts because of their appeal to the sensationalist-loving hindbrain in us all — is rather sobering.
https://slatestarcodex.com/2019/03/04/prospiracy-theories/

YOU ALL DRINK THE SAME PBR TO ME

Also amusing, though very much not deliberate: a hipster took exception to being called a hipster, when he saw a photo of him had been used to illustrate an article about how hipsters all looked alike. Except… it wasn’t a photo of him. It was a completely different hipster whom he mistook for himself.

Hilarious irony aside, one has to ask: did he at no point think, “Wait, I don’t remember ever posing for that photo”? Or do hipsters not only look alike, but all take the same pictures in identikit locations?
https://twitter.com/glichfield/status/1103411017235746817

WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE PANOPTICON

Turns out Google’s Nest Secure device had a microphone embedded in it all along, they just didn’t tell you about it until now:
https://www.csoonline.com/article/3336227/nest-secure-had-a-secret-microphone-can-now-be-a-google-assistant.html
And if that wasn’t enough to make you paranoid, seat backs on aeroplanes are now being fitted with cameras.
https://apnews.com/4c3ca3b46c704c6080ba026729fc8d21
“All four airlines said that they have never activated the cameras and have no plans to use them.”

OK, well, maybe we can take them at their word…

“A United spokeswoman repeatedly told a reporter Friday that none of its entertainment systems had cameras before apologizing and saying that some did.”

…Ah.

Besides, the problem here isn’t only the airlines’ usage of them, whether for legitimate purposes or not (though one struggles to think what such purposes might be). It’s the very real possibility these cameras could be hacked — and judging by the number of Linux boot screens I regularly see on plane seat backs, I don’t imagine it would take an elite black hat to do so…


SOURCE CODE


Duncan Jones’ sophomore directorial effort, written by Ben Ripley, is one of my favourite movies of the past decade; a smart, fast-moving, tightly-knit, emotionally powerful sci-fi thriller with a great cast and some fantastic performances. It flew under many people’s radar at the time, and remains an underappreciated gem. So I got together with a bunch of Incomparable panelists to discuss it.
https://www.theincomparable.com/theincomparable/449/

THRASH IT OUT: SAXON’S “BATTERING RAM”


Meanwhile, the latest episode of my heavy metal podcast THRASH IT OUT sees (hears?) Brian LeTendre and I “respecting our elders” as we discuss a recent, surprisingly heavy album from British metal legends Saxon. 🤘
https://thrashitoutpodcast.com/episodes/4-9



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