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Category: This is why we can’t have nice things

Epic fail.

It is time to repeal Godwin’s Law.

It is time to repeal Godwin’s Law.

If you didn’t grow up on the Internet, or you have some sort of Real Job (TM) that keeps you away from the Internet for vast stretches of time during which you actually interact with your fellow human beings, you may be unfamiliar with Godwin’s Law, which states “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches.” It’s closely related to Reductio ad Hitlerum, also known as “playing the Hitler card.” (It’s so…

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The Privilege of the Future (SweCon 2015 GoH Speech)

The Privilege of the Future (SweCon 2015 GoH Speech)

A note: I wrote these remarks after having watched the reception to my interview in The Atlantic about the need for women in futurism. A relevant snippet: Ashby says that any time she speaks in front of a crowd, and offers a grim view of the future, someone (almost always a man) invariably asks why she can’t be more positive. “Why is this so depressing, why is this so dystopian,” they ask. “Because when you talk about the future you…

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Want to write convincing futures? Work retail.

Want to write convincing futures? Work retail.

A while ago, I tweeted something based on this piece in VICE UK, called “Things You Only Know When You’ve Worked in Retail.” I don’t really care for the clickbaity title, but the content of the piece isn’t wrong. Here’s what I said: People ask me how I do gritty, lived-in SF and futures work and I basically always answer: “I used to work retail.” https://t.co/P2ugdAlf8m — Madeline Ashby (@MadelineAshby) July 3, 2015 That got retweeted around, and I heard…

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How can the platforms fight harassment?

How can the platforms fight harassment?

One thing that becomes eminently clear in this piece about the online stalking, harassment, and threatening of Zoe Quinn is that the police (and the justice system at large) know absolutely fuck-all about online harassment. Which makes sense. The Internet is the thing they use to send reports. It’s not a place where they live. It’s not a thing they police. (Policing the Internet is for the poor damned souls who work Special Victims. And maybe the Fraud Squad people….

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On the Sony hack, and the future of film

On the Sony hack, and the future of film

The Sony hack is interesting to me on a lot of levels. One, because mine was a Sony family. My dad kept our Betamax alive until I was in university. In fact, we still have two at home — my boyfriend at the time bought us another so dad could complete his editorial projects, like mashing together a perfect cut of Close Encounters of the Third Kind that included both the Gobi Desert sequence and both endings. Yeah. We were…

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When a review of an anthology ignores all the women in it

When a review of an anthology ignores all the women in it

You’re probably tired of hearing me bang on about the Hieroglyph anthology. But one of the reasons I’ve talked about it and promoted it so tirelessly is because I had a great time participating in it. A large part of my enjoyment had to do with the talent, patience, and confidence of my editor, Kathryn Cramer. When I was procrastinating because I was afraid of “not being optimistic enough,” or “not living up to Neal’s vision,” or “not accomplishing the…

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Sex work, the law, and Company Town

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…

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Don’t nominate me for the Campbell; I declined it last year.

Don’t nominate me for the Campbell; I declined it last year.

Last year, I was nominated for a Campbell Award, for my debut novel vN. Then I declined the nomination, because I realized I wasn’t truly eligible for the award that year. Why? Because I’d already made a sale to Nature magazine. SFWA treats Nature as a Campbell-qualifying market, which means my “Campbell clock” (which I imagine looking like the glowing crystal in Logan’s Run) has been running since 2009.

Thoughts on being taken in by 23andMe

Thoughts on being taken in by 23andMe

A while ago, I paid for a personal genomic saliva kit from 23andMe, a California firm that screens saliva samples for a variety of known genetic trouble spots. Recently, the FDA ordered 23andMe to stop marketing the testing kits, saying that the claims made by the marketing are not backed by science, making possible a dangerous scenario wherein false positives or negatives encourage expensive and unnecessary surgeries, treatments, or tests. Basically: 23andMe’s test might tell you that you carry the…

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