Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Stop SOPA (And Other Stories)

Today, many websites have gone dark, either figuratively or literally, to protest at plans in the United States congress to enact legislation that would disrupt the functioning of the Internet, undermine its security and shatter any concept of freedom of speech online.  Hyperbole?  Only if you truly believe that the government, large copyright holders and their allies would never, ever abuse their power to silence dissent, crush competition or  which would certainly be a first.

I would join these sites in going dark but it's not as if I have a huge amount of traffic, so who would care?  Rather, I'd like to highlight the issue and point visitors to where they can do something about it.  I'm not a US citizen myself, but this issue will affect the entire planet, something that congress critters never, ever seem to realise when they make decisions like these.  So American or not, Internet-addict or not, please take a look at this site from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and do what you think is right.

Also I'm back from my break over the festive period and have been a busy beaver.  Well not a beaver, I wouldn't want Mel Gibson's hand up my backside.  The point is, I have been writing more and submitting more.  It's just frustrating the writing world seems to grind on so slowly; it can take two or three months to hear back about a short story, usually longer for a novel.  Not that I can blame the swamped editors who have to read through piles of manuscripts from prospective writers.  Reading takes time, even if you're good at it.  Things are bound to move slowly in that environment, and stories are best understood when you take your time and drink them in, tasting what the writer has created, rather than rushing to get them off your plate as quickly as possible.

It sometimes bothers me that I tend to read fiction rather slowly - I know people who get through books in a day or two, sometimes within the span of a few hours.  That just isn't me, but on the other hand I'm glad it's not.  Sure, it took two weeks' worth of bathroom breaks and sitting up in bed to get through the latest Discworld novel, but that meant I got to enjoy being on the Disc for a fortnight, rather than guzzling the story whole.  I remember during my Harry Potter fandom days reading on forums of people buying the newest book at midnight and trying to have it completed before dawn.  I just do not understand that mentality, and though I must admit to a little jealousy at that capability, I would feel glad when still wandering the halls of Hogwarts a week later.  I was still enjoying my meal while they were hungering for the next one.

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