Parsec. Pictures. Pause.

One last miscellaneous grab-bag before oblivion, folks:


As in, the award. This is old news (it was announced late last month, I think), but “The Things” — or rather, Kate Baker’s wondrous, melancholy performance of “The Things” — has been nominated for the Parsec Award under “Best Speculative Fiction Story (Short Form)”. Kate squeed like someone who’s just had her first date with the Lolcat Bible Translation Project until I sat her down and introduced her to my history with award nominations, aka the “Vortex of False Hope”. She pretended to listen, then countered by introducing me to her so-called “Abyss of Belief”. We have agreed that our differences are irreconcilable, and have gone our separate ways. However, if Kate wishes to come crawling back to me after we lose at DragonCon on Sept 4, I may be willing to forgive her. In time.

(And speaking of “The Things”, this would also be a great time to mention Jesus Olmo’s wonderful Online Coffee Table Book of the same story — yes, you read that right, and I know of no better way to describe it — but I’m still not sure if things like reprint rights and noncompete clauses have been settled to Clarkesworld’s satisfaction, so we’ll leave that unveiling for another time.)


Look what came for me in the mail the other day. All the way from Hong Kong, thanks to the tailoring artistry of Jeff Arychuk:

An especially nice touch is the tentacles themselves, which are stiffened with enough coat hanger wire to open my own abortion clinic.

This would also be a nice time to show you where Andrew Chase‘s absolutely stunning movie-quality model of Theseus has ended up for the time being. The setting is temporary, and does not do it justice; but I have my eye on a nifty glass display case I saw at Ikea the other day (although that is sadly going to have to wait until the fall, when certain deadlines have passed and I am moved into my new office).

This is the front-and-back jewel-case art for the upcoming straight-to-DVD movie adaptation of Blindsight to be directed by Uwe Boll:

Steven Saus tells me that Lenie Clarke has been seen wandering around the more steampunkian ghettoes of Second Life.  Or if not Clarke herself, at least one of those rifter-chic faddists who were all the rage in Maelstrom:

I’m told you can see the electrolysis intake in the thorax if you kinda squint.

And here, in an abrupt shift of gears, are a very few of the friends who stood by me when the thugs and assholes of the world once again took the upper hand:

I took them on a dinner cruise a couple of weeks back, and felt awful because I could only afford to treat local folks who I actually knew1.  So many more helped out who were complete strangers; so many more from out of town than in.  Still.  It was something, it was an open bar, it was a blast.

If you looked away from your friends and back from the bar, you could see where we’d come from.  This is where I live:

And, finally,


Being what the ‘crawl is about to do for a while. I have taken on a new project which I don’t think I’m supposed to talk about just yet but which involves a shitload of work in a very short period of time, and something — actually, several things — are going to have to give. I am refusing new social engagements. I am avoiding pubs. My morning runs are increasingly sporadic. I am still reading e-mail, but unless the correspondence is vital I am not generally responding to it. (Some of you may feel that this policy has already been in place for some time; the difference is that before, I at least deluded myself into thinking that I’d get caught up on the backlog any day now.)

And the crawl is being put into a therapeutic coma, probably until mid-October.

There will doubtless be galvanic twitches in the meantime; I’ll raise the periscope in Australia/Worldcon/Dudcon, maybe from Vancouver en route, maybe even from Pearson Airport in Toronto if I’ve ended up on Harper’s Tewwowist Watch List and am denied boarding privileges. But the heart of this blog (which hasn’t been beating nearly as strongly as I would have liked over the past few months) has always been the crunchy scientific and philosophical issues that the bleeding edge serves up daily. It takes hours to properly sink my teeth into those things and say something worthwhile (or at least, something different), and even two or three such posts a week would devour an entire working day. I simply don’t have that time to spare right now.

It’s times like this I regret never having set up an actual forum where you guys can play amongst yourselves. That would probably be a better spot for some of the discussions I’ve been following in the Comment streams anyway. But of course, now I don’t have time to set up a forum either.

What you could do, I suppose, is follow me on facebook (I’m here on there). Facebook sucks in oh so many ways, but I’ll probably be updating my status there more frequently over the next little while. And I’m insecure enough to friend pretty much anyone who asks. Or you could just keep talking in the Comments. I also understand there are a couple of facebook fan pages out there, although they might be pretty moribund. There are options, is what I’m saying. We will make it through this. I promise.

But even now, in these dark and desperate times when even the briefest contact is to be treasured and held like a ragged-eared cat with a half’n’half addiction, one rule remains sacrosanct:

Anyone who even suggests Twitter gets thrown off the train. We won’t even bother to slow down first.


1And no, in case anyone’s wondering: this did not come out of the Squidgate Fund.

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Tuesday August 10 2010at 07:08 am , filed under misc, public interface, writing news . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

58 Responses to “Parsec. Pictures. Pause.”

  1. Good luck with the new project; I hope it, and you, arrive at the ass-end of the ordeal slick with mucus, screaming, and glad to be in the world.

  2. Make sure to let us know what the project is, once it is fully legal to do so. I suspect I may need to pre-order something, for once.

    Also, I may have to dust off my Facebook account a bit, if that’s what is required to get a Watts fix.

  3. Would you mind posting a link to let us know which of the many Peter Wattses on Facebook you are? No sense getting Naomi’s dad all worked up.

    Ooh! FB orienteering!

  4. Good luck in your travels, Mr. Watts. Anticipation makes the wait worthwhile!

  5. @Flanders: oooh, good idea. Fixed in post.

  6. Yesh. The Facebook, it is t3h suxx. It absolutely discourages thoughts longer than two sentences or any critical dissection, and being syrupy faux-nice is the cultural rule, so, basically: the anti-thesis of the Crawl.

    But I did “friend” the PW facebook page a while back, once I figured out it was actually Peter, not a 3rd party, and once I decided I would give this “being a Peter Watts fan” thing a hack.

    If enough of us pile onto FB, posting science crap, citations, and venomous textual dissection, it will implode, like a trad vampire in the sunlight. *eviil grin* Might be fun to kill Facebook – imagine that pelt on your belt, fellow warriors?

    Also, Uwe Boll’s dream project is secretly Blindsight, but “wid already much more azz-kickink.” He just can’t talk about it yet.

  7. Facebook is not my favorite place, but I sent a friend request, if it is to be the place were we can leave forum-y comments and read your short status updates.

    I joined a pw fan group page (or whatever those facebook pages are) a while back, but there haven’t been a lot of comments, so I don’t know if it is meant to be used for forum-y behaviors.

  8. Sucks to hear this is going on hiatus, I really enjoyed your posts – enough to even buy a copy of Being No One. Still can’t get past the first few pages…

    Good luck, I hope to read some more stuff soon! Also, I sent a Facebook request, too. Can’t say I find that much utility in it beyond talking to some friends that live a few states over.

  9. Yay for pictures! Yay for plushy scramblers! Yay for imaginary sweded Blindsight movie! yay for new project even though it causes radio silence!

    And even yay for the “mind control tower in Toronto that controls people’s minds!” pictured in some of your photos (I’m referencing a Radio Free Vestibule song if this isn’t familiar; the title is “I Don’t Want To Go To Toronto”). There’s a tower that looks rather similar in Tampere, Finland too . . .

  10. Can you get some non-creepy yet obsessive fan to set up a forum for you (with openid or somesuch so facebook people can post their hearts out if they want facebook)?

    I see that is available as a domain.

  11. This is where I live:


    We are looking north-ish toward the CN Tower in both photos, from the Inner Harbour toward Queen’s Quay Terminal in the night shot – the launch point for the cruise, maybe? So just mere blocks from the former G20 area’s periphery? And the big lit curve is the Rogers Centre!

    But aren’t you east of the tower, not south?

  12. Sheila, how is the forum thing done? Are you in a position to be the sitemaster? Because the more I think about FB, the more the salient the suck becomes….

  13. @ChrisJ : try “The Ego Tunnel”, also by Metzinger. It’s the same ideas that are in “Being No One”, but aimed at a non-academic audience.

  14. That might work out. If there’s one thing both Uwe Boll and scramblers are good at, it’s making absolutely no sense to humans.

  15. Brian, it looks like The Ego Tunnel just came out in (Cheaper) paperback here. I’m definitely going to order a copy! For a while, it was only about $5.00 cheaper than Being No One.

  16. Facebook makes me twitch =P

    Just sent an e-mail to Peter offering to setup and host a forum (I use so little of my bandwidth it shouldn’t be an issue). I did a test implementation a little bit ago and managed openid/facebook integration without any issues.

    If he’s comfortable with the offer, shouldn’t take long at all to get it up =)

  17. Hljóðlegur,

    I honestly have never set up a forum place, but I could figure it out if I had to.

    I went ahead and registered the domain, in case there is a consensus for a forum.

  18. Kai, if Peter vouches for you, and you want to use offensivesquid com for a domain name, I will set up dns records to point to where-ever you want.

    I went ahead and registered it and have pointed google apps at it for the hell of it. at some point ‘sheila’ at there should work, once the mx records check out.

  19. actually, if he allows you to set up some rifters com based thing that would make WAY more sense. but offer stands.

  20. @Kai:

    Excellent idea! I have always wanted a place to really discuss some of the extremely interesting topics brought up/used in Peter’s books! If you need a moderator for the forum, I would be more than happy to volunteer. Or even help in any other way, if possible.

  21. *all excited*

    I am going to discuss the blessed Jesus out of The Island, so stand back, people.

  22. Isn’t that the tower Rhea Perlman shot up at the end of “Canadian Bacon?” It’s full of mind/weather control machines!

  23. Well, good luck.
    Do tell us about the project when you can.

  24. Got the blessing of the giant squid a few hours ago, got to work and… Behold! A forum!

    It’s a bit thrown together and I’ll be tweaking it as things go along. But, it’s functional for now. Any suggestions, etc, are welcome. You can login with 6 different external sources, or sign up with the forum itself.

    Any problems, let me know. I’m going to go take a break =)

  25. Alternatives to hibernation: Open thread? Guest bloggers?

    The new project sounds intriguing.

  26. The forum is excellent news!

    And good luck with everything Peter, I hope everything turns out OK. Even the awards. I’m sure we are all eagerly waiting for your re-emergence later this year.

  27. Hjoldegoldur (most of the letters are there, I am sure), there is such a thing as a phone book. I’d say just East of the centre, and near the harbour, but perhaps Torontonians name these things differently.

  28. Pause: Being what the ‘crawl is about to do for a while.

    Go. Write. Never apologize. (Unless you feel blogging is your main thing.)

    Anyone who even suggests Twitter gets thrown off the train. We won’t even bother to slow down first.

    Ha! I knew North Americans had uses for trains.

  29. Best of luck with the secret project, sir. Will look forward to hearing what it is.

  30. Love the stuffie scrambler and model of Theseus. They both look great.

    Good luck on ye secret project. We’ll hold down the fort.

    @Hljóðlegur Facebook’s RSS/ATOM feed following app sucks rocks. Trying to syndicate anything to FB is an exercise in frustration, at best.

  31. @Branko Collins: I dunno. “Hljothlegur” maybe? English writes ð and Þ as th, instead of differentiating the hard and soft th sounds because we are so very lazy.

    Then again, if I answer to Hjoldegoldur …. Það skiptir engu, jú? ;p

  32. Brad Thor has a twitter page.

  33. How to use facebook with a feed reader

    yes, it still sucks.

  34. Hljóðlegur–I still just copy-and-paste. BTW, how do you pronounce “;p?”

  35. @Flanders: BTW, how do you pronounce “;p?”


    *abrupt topic transition*

    I had a horrible thought – those plushies? What if that wasn’t just a Scrambler, but a Trojan (bedbug) horse. Seriously.

  36. Dang. That dinner cruise looked like fun. I envy all who were in attendance.

    On a different note, I’d love to see some more detailed pictures of that Theseus model. Does anybody know if Andrew Chase has any? Maybe this would be a good topic to move over to the forum…

  37. Kai, thanks for doing this, but the ‘update profile’ button points to There is also some bad WordPress karma at work (I have, reluctantly, used WP on a third-party-hosted travel blog since 2004 and learned to hate it).

  38. Denni, thanks for pointing that out (I’d forgotten to close a link tag, oops :>) should work now though, let me know if anything else is screwy.

    And hrm, I’ve been using wordpress for a long while and for multiple client designs, without any issues. It’s my preferred CMS actually. Why have you grown to hate it, if you don’t mind me asking?

  39. They had some really strange system for setting date/timezone preferences and I still don’t know how they managed to organise the webstats in the arcane way they have, although that might just be the provider.

    People who’d ported the stuff to their own websites back then were telling tales of horror, so I never felt tempted to mess with it.

    Fortunately the blog mainly requires me to type my entries into textfields 🙂

  40. Argh, sorry it’s me again, but is there any way of actually selecting an avatar from uploaded images? I’m renaming the file a second time because my previous update attempts were unsuccessful, but now there are 3 identical avatars with different names (feel free to delete surplus files).

    And thanks again for setting up the forum!

  41. Hrm, might be something that occurs with a multi-blog environment then, I don’t have experience with those.

    But transferring data… haven’t had to do it with WordPress as of yet, but I think it’s universally a terrible experience. On websites and off =P I worked in IT for years (still do some contracts now)… oh the hours I spent ripping my hair out screaming “why isn’t this working!”. =P hehe

    All praise to textfields, most definitely.

  42. Ah, hadn’t refreshed before responding. And hrrm, I’ll check on it. I haven’t actually run a forum off this platform before, so it’s a bit of a learning experience for me as well.

  43. Denni, seems there isn’t a way to associate avatars with the uploader unfortuneately. I can create a forum wide pool for people to choose from, but that’s all.

    I deleted the extra’s that you uploaded, and the current one seems to be working for your profile though =)

  44. Peter professed what many already know: “Facebook sucks in oh so many ways…”

    Peter then said: “And I’m insecure enough to friend pretty much anyone who asks..”

    For the love of tentacles and all things without religion, don’t do it dude 🙂

    It is quality and not quantity that matters. And what’s with the insecurity? I’ve already got four complete strangers who have “befriended” me, and I seriously do not know why other than perhaps upping their friend amount count. Add to that the “relatives” and it is peopling me out a bit 🙂

  45. I think P-Dub is just trying to beef up his Mafia Wars count. I’ll be your Farmville neighbor, Peter!

  46. Vancouver is on your list, any chance you’ll be on the island during that trip?

  47. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by torforgeauthors, Lyncean Luminos. Lyncean Luminos said: Peter Watts mentions Second Life in latest blog post (scroll down): [I'm reading Maelstrom now so this made me smile] […]

  48. Hljóðlegur, for bedbugs I think it is more of a worry to prevent them from getting in to the plushies. it would really suck to have to figure out how to get them out.

  49. Perhaps someone could initiate the “Andrew Beaudry Memorial Society” as an appropriate meeting place for aficionados of this site. . . .

  50. Speaking of pictures, that toothy piscine above kleptopus’ noggin reminds me of the upcoming 3-D Piranha Movie said to be buckets of fun & bloody gore galore, including a pivotal butt chewing close-up…

    I am thinking that all of your friends, loved ones, felines, fans and other human beings, who care about you and your welfare, are not at all thinking about the suspended animation of your blog.

    I would venture to say that perhaps many are more concerned with your continued and ongoing stress resulting from the aftermath of your ordeal and the efforts you are needing to make in order to catch up with your responsibilities, life and back to living.

    You need a break and to have any free time that you can muster and allot that for total veg out, rest & peace, space out bliss recovery.

    So it would not do you any good in your efforts to meet your timelines for your upcoming projects and commitments let alone be able to carve out some rest time, alone time and be with your friends and loved ones time if you were to have your blog continue, as in open, because someone is going to have to moderate. Unless you have a guest mod who would proxy for you from time to time in the interim.

    As for your straight-to-DVD movie, hmm, the sales may be upped significantly if one of you fellas, Peter or David, would do “a Ripley”.

    Banana, who has the grumptude going and the knowing stare-at-the-silly-humans-thinking-space-lifeforms-are-gonna-be-all-Reeses-pieces-loving-friendly-compassionate-conscious and conscience-bearing-Bodhisattvas, could play a Jonesy character. He would just stare and hiss at the silly humans playing with the blood and gore, screaming like scared little children.

    So think about it. But your DVD could garner so much more interest if one of you fellas did a Ripley.

    Remember? She was in her panties? Drawers, boxers, tighties, speedos, jock strap or commando, it’s all good in order to make the DVD achieve levels of higher dimension and eye popping provocation. Just a thought…

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and pictures. 🙂

  51. Peter Watts avoiding pubs? Not running (as much)?
    This reeks of a case of the “deadlines are due”. Let us know the results.

    See you (Bog willing) in Melbourne.

  52. Thank Ceiling Cat you are avoiding Twitter like the plague. It’s the worst of the Look-at-Me crap this culture delights in…

  53. Hey Peter,

    Hope your project goes well. You are about to get an FB friend request from a cat.

    Got told about reading your blog by the restaurant manager this morning. It seems that someone sitting behind me read your headline about icons. Righteously offended, they complained to the manager on the way on the door.

    Sad part is that it took me a minute or so to figure out what they were on about.

    Going to miss your writings, but you need to do what you need to do. Stay in touch.

  54. Don’t feel awful about only inviting local folks you know to the dinner; I suspect most people, like myself, were glad to help and got a warm fuzzy feeling just from looking at the pictures above!

  55. Sorry to be a stranger, folks. Looks like I dropped in a little late, in any case…

    @Kai is awesome.

    Facebook is not… Nonetheless, I’m the Jason Stackhouse wearing a respirator, if anyone wants to pile on.

  56. Uwe Boll? Ye gods, him death knell for movie. If, of course, this is a serious thing…good luck to you-if the movie sucketh, he can always teach you some boxing moves.

  57. Well, you were right. you didn’t win the Parsec. Hopefully the Hugo will make a nice consolation prize.

  58. Jesus. No!

    Blindsight is one of the best recent Scifi books and you let one of the worst directors of the century to direct it.

    I quess you need money, but it’s still shitty decision.