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Sex work, the law, and Company Town

My next book, Company Town (which is currently available for pre-order), takes place on an oil rig on the Atlantic, 500km NE of St. John’s, Newfoundland. It’s my first book set in Canada, despite the fact that I moved to Toronto in 2006. Today being Canada Day, I thought I would talk about why I chose a Canadian setting. TL;DR: I thought I was being clever about the legality of prostitution in Canada, until the Tories fucked up my whole premise.

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Why I donate to Planned Parenthood

I don’t recall the first time I donated to Planned Parenthood. It might have been online. It might have been on the street. I’m not sure. But I will always remember why.

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Hang out with me!

…I realize how pathetic a plea that sounds, but in this case it’s legitimate nomenclature. On Monday 28 April, I’ll be doing a Google+ hangout with some of my Angry Robot Books cohort: Ramez Naam, Wesley Chu, and Cassandra Rose Clarke. We’ll be discussing 21st century science fiction. You should come hang out with us. It’ll be fun. I’ll even wear pants and everything.

Company Town has a cover!

And it’s at io9! (Along with a little essay about the Singularity.) If you’d like to pre-order the book, you can do so here.


All credit goes to the amazingly talented Erik Mohr, who normally works for ChiZine Publications but went to the dark side for me and Angry Robot Books. I’ve wanted an Erik Mohr cover since, oh, 2010, when David’s first collection Monstrous Affections was released. He’s done shockingly good work for David’s novels Eutopia, Rasputin’s Bastards, and The ‘Geisters since then, and so I was quietly thrilled when he casually asked me at a party: “So, when am I doing one of your covers?” (Seriously, it was a bit of an “I carried a watermelon” moment. I think I said, “Uh, um, well, there’s this one I’m working on…about oil rigs?”)

Erik was a delight to work with. He asked all the right questions, and seemed to know exactly what I was talking about before I even said it. He’s also a perfectionist, and won’t let a cover out the door unless it’s just right. If you get a chance to work with him, do.

Future futurist gigs in the future

This year has already been pretty busy, in terms of my foresight work. In January, I ran a workshop at a Day Zero event for Engineers Without Borders Canada AGM. That same month, editors started contacting me about including my story Social Services, which I wrote for an Institute for the Future anthology on the coming age of networked matter, in their “year’s best” anthologies. Then I gave a talk at the Toronto SpecFic Colloquium. And this weekend, I’ll be delivering a keynote on design fiction at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

This summer, I’ll visit Washington, DC to do a three-day workshop on narrative and foresight. Then I’ll head to the World Future Society to attend a symposium on science fiction and teach a workshop on stratifying scenarios so they feel lived-in and real (because your ideal user and the person who uses your product/service/platform are often very different). After that I’m off to LonCon 3, which I will probably start calling “Long Con” after I look at my credit card statement.

In the fall, I might finally learn if the fudning my team applied for to develop a videogame about cybersecurity came through. It’s sort of a mixture of Serial Experiments Lain, Perfect Blue, and Veronica Mars, so I’m hoping it comes through. September marks the publication of the Hieroglyph anthology, inspired by a keynote given by Neal Stephenson and work done between SF writers and faculty at Arizona State’s Center for Science and the Imagination. September is also when my next novel, Company Town arrives on store shelves, or in your phone, or between your nightmares. As that happens, I’ll be working on finishing the Machine Dynasty series with an evil little novel called Rev, and working on stories for a couple of anthologies.

And all of that work leads directly into next year, in a way I can’t really discuss yet. Suffice to say it involves more travel, and more grant applications, and a lot of hard work.

The (f)Anthropology of True Detective

Like seemingly everyone else watching True Detective, I had my theories about who the Yellow King was. But for me, that was of tertiary importance compared to learning the answer to another question: Why the Yellow King?

(Spoilers ahead, for True Detective and Twin Peaks.)

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The Evil that Men Do: on being a woman watching (true) detectives

Today marks the end of Meanwhile, the 25-year period that, according to Twin Peaks lore, Special Agent Dale Cooper has waited in the Black Lodge for Laura Palmer to return and end his torment.

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Some Company Town links

For each book I write, there’s a separate tag in my Favourites file. (I’m old-fashioned, and don’t carry a mobile Favourites with me. Doing so reminds me of my time in academia, when every scrap of information had to be saved. It also gives me hives.) Here are a few from the Company Town tag:

Company Town, you’ll recall, is the story of an escort’s escort named Hwa who starts working for vertically-integrated energy concern when they buy the city she lives in, which happens to be a series of autonomous towers floating around an oil rig in the North Atlantic. Protecting the heir to the firm means going back to finish high school, fighting off some post-Singular asshole who thinks it’s the Terminator, and catching a serial killer. You know. The usual senior year bullshit.


Doing the Toronto SpecFic Colloquium, today

I’m late posting this, but I’m honoured to be a guest of the 2014 Toronto SpecFic Colloqium. The theme this year is “Unnatural Histories,” and I’ll be getting a lot more personal than I usually do. More to come.

The Kindle edition of vN is on sale!

Yes! For For a whopping $1.79, according to my Amazon. (American browsers might see $1.99.) If you have not read vN already (and I know there are a lot of you), this would be the perfect time to pick it up and give it a try. Or if you have a grandmother who you particularly loathe, sending her a copy might be a subtle way to start that special “get the fuck out of my life, you hateful old bitch,” conversation. Or you could send it to your ex-boyfriend with a note that reads, “This is why I never read all that Asimov you lent me.” Or you could send it to your friends who say they don’t read SF by women writers, along with a baby blanket and a pacifier so they can at least suck on something instead of just sucking in general. What I’m saying is, a book always makes a good “Thank you” or “I love you” gift. But sometimes, a book can also sometimes make a good “Fuck you,” gift. And that’s the kind of book vN is.

  • Madeline Ashby…

    ...is a science fiction writer, strategic foresight consultant, anime fan, and immigrant. She is represented by Anne McDermid & Associates, and IAM Sports & Entertainment. She has been a guest on TVO's The Agenda multiple times. Her novels are published by Angry Robot Books. Her fiction has appeared in Nature, FLURB, Tesseracts, Imaginarium, and Escape Pod. Her essays and criticism have appeared at BoingBoing, io9, WorldChanging, Creators Project, Arcfinity, and Tor.com.
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    Madeline Ashby's books on Goodreads
    vN vN (The Machine Dynasty, #1)
    reviews: 18
    ratings: 27 (avg rating 3.56)

    Shine: An Anthology of Optimistic SF Shine: An Anthology of Optimistic SF
    reviews: 18
    ratings: 44 (avg rating 3.45)

    Tesseracts Eleven: Amazing Canadian Speculative Fiction Tesseracts Eleven: Amazing Canadian Speculative Fiction
    reviews: 6
    ratings: 14 (avg rating 3.50)

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  • Madeline 's bookshelf: read

    Designing for Interaction: Creating Innovative Applications and Devices (2nd Edition)Super Natural Cooking: Five Delicious Ways: To Incorporate Whole & Natural Ingredients into Your CookingGluten-Free Girl and the ChefPeople Crossing Borders: An Analysis of U.S. Border Protection PoliciesHalf the Day Is NightThe Magicians

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