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Aten't dead yet

Just checking in from San Francisco to let you know that I'm still alive.

I spent last week instructing at Clarion West, a workshop which can probably best be described as a boot camp for the next generation of SF and fantasy writers. It was fun, but monstrously exhausting — which, on top of eight hours' worth of jet lag, should explain why I've been scarce around these parts. I'm now On Vacation for a few days, but will be appearing as previously announced ...

* Cupertino: Mystery event, Big Fruit Company employees only, Friday August 5th.

* San Francisco: I'm reading and signing at Borderland Books, Saturday August 6th at 3pm.

* San Francisco: I'm giving the keynote at Usenix Security '11 on Wednesday August 10th at 9am.

* Portland: I'm reading and signing at Powells City of Books, Friday August 12th at 7:30pm.

Normal blogging will hopefully be resumed shortly after I get home — hopefully by August 15th.



Visitors to the US shouldn't gleefully proclaim their membership among the living--the DHS might take that as a challenge for them to resolve.


My girlfriend and I will be coming to your reading at Borderlands - we're both looking forward to it.


Just remember if you run into any uniformed authority figures, don't make eye contact and keep your body language submissive so as to not provoke an attack, as they have been rendered animalistic and insensate due to the unique mix of tedium and terror their jobs produce.


Charlie, you have scored a brace of life-imitating-your-art stories this week:

Pentagon forming a Rule 34 squad

Possible JENNIFER MORGUE found


That Usenix talk looks interesting! Any chance we'll get a transcript or a blog post about the topic at some point?


Welcome to our Fog! Hope you packed a wooly jumper.


Jan de Wit: yes, although it may have to wait until I get home.


What wooly jumper? This is a nice hot summer by Edinburgh standards -- Seattle was too damn much for me!


Huh. the round thing on the floor of the Baltic -- I wonder if it's one of the insane circular monitors the Russians built in the 1870s? Like the Novgorod.


ironic that my sister comes home on the 9th from San Fran. WHERE IS MY T-GATE


You're very lucky. Or you brought decent weather with you, in which case I have to thank you.

Last week, at this time, it was about 20°F warmer. I'm expecting that your trip to Cupertino will be on a day both of us consider too warm.

(And, ironically, I'm a native Los Angelican.)


"Jennifer Morgue" found?

Being ex-U.S. Navy, I once came across a copy of the Navy's sonar listings in the garbage (so I snagged it naturally). There are a lot more unidentified contacts on the ocean floor than those they have positively identified. A lot of German U-boats from WWII are listed, the Lusitania, and a few other ships whose names escape me. Needless to say, everything by latitude and longitude, and not the most interesting reading (akin to reading a spreadsheet). To someone engaging in salvage or treasure hunting, it might actually be worth something, however, to the rest of us, just a mere curiosity.


Charlie@9: You might be onto something there. Or I wonder if it has any connection with the submarine caterpillar trackmarks the Swedes found during their mystery sub-hunts in the '80s.


It sound like a Rock Tour. if you can, be ready to spend time at MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM. The big ones are a must see for SF people.
The circular monitors the Russians built were for river work. but it could be.


Normal blogging will hopefully be resumed shortly after I get home — hopefully by August 15th.

Karl and I have got your back, boss... We're all playing nicely here. Have fun doing your thing!

Big Fruit are doing something right, what with having more cash than the US government.


Did you see that the Texas drought brought a strange sphere to air? Turned out to be one of the tanks from Columbia.


The forecast high in PDX on the 12th (FWIW, this far out) is a a cool pleasant 22C, so you should feel right at home.


I believe that 22C is the point that the Charlie starts melting.


Double marks for the title. Granny Weatherwax is the best.


I wish I could make it to the Borderland signings :(


Since there's no real topic, here's something for your amusement and/or disgust.

US Air Force suspends ‘Jesus loves nukes’ training


He's a Yorkshireman remember it'll be more like 25C. ;-)


He's a Yorkshireman who migrated north.

(I think he's previously mentioned starting to get unhappy at 20C.)


How do you like our weather?


Mystery Apple event? I hope you can tell us about it afterwards. Unlikely, I know.


Other companies named after fruits are available. ;-)


I always liked the acronym for the Stanford Macintosh User Group

  • more fun than the Gentoo Linux User Meetings

And about as sensible as the Glasgow University Extremely Silly Society. (real uni club; I was a member when I worked there)


And not Stanford Newton User's Group?




Charlie, can you provide any details on your Apple talk? I'm an Apple employee, and would love to go, but Apple is a big company, with many buildings and depts. I haven't seen your talk announced internally.

What bldg/room are you in, what time, what dept?


Here's another tangent--too crazy/silly not to share. Swedish man arrested after trying to split atoms in his kitchen; says it was only a hobby.

At least he wasn't writing a mystery novel.


See you at Borderlands! Got a question ready.


Here in the North East of England the weather is Cool with just a hint of Seaweed blowing in on the breeze from the coast. Who'd want to live in the US of A ? Given the Hellish Climate over there, and the Political situation, why aren't we inundated with Boat People from the US of A?

Normally, hereabouts, in August I'm forced to dwell upon my folly in failing to specify Air Conditioning for my, then, new Bedroom - built a couple of years ago in my house extension project - whilst I wonder whether I'd get away with sleeping on the floor in the cargo Bay/storage utility room with my head in the spare fridge freezer that my little lady friend should remove to her own house rather than using it in my house to store Specialist Bread and - Brace Yourself! - Fruit! If Fruit is so GOOD for you then why do trees throw it away?

Happily at the moment I'm free of any risk of my Corpse being found with it's head in a freezer full of Fruit, " Rule 34 " style ....for here the weather is COOL ! Talking of Cool, and Rule 34 ...

Whilst I'm about it ... All Right Charlie, Got Me! Despite my long history of reading cross genre Crime /SF Fantasy .. I WAS distracted by the SF History of Brains in Boxes. POOT ! Out of Edinburgh Always Something New. VERY Clever.


"Radioactive Boy Scout", is an American who attempted to build a homemade breeder nuclear reactor in 1994, at age 17. I read a book about it.


Like CS said was going to happen.
Japanese power cuts linked to heatstroke deaths.


Whatever Next ! A REASON to go Out There to Mine STUFF to fuel deep-space exploration craft and also power our air conditioners...

" Antimatter belt around Earth discovered by Pamela craft" ..


It was so wonderful to meet you and Feòrag. Your generosity of spirit toward your fans is deeply touching. I hope you can continue to manage things this well, but if your fame gets to be too much for you to share a few pints with fans, I will be glad I had the opportunity. Thank you for all you do.

I have some video and grainy pictures of the hairless cat on the desk with you if you want it.

Liz (I was holding Fluff the Plush Cthulhu)


I second what my wife Liz said above. You and Feòrag are very sweet, and it was great to hang out with you last night. I'm glad you got such a big turnout at Borderlands. Best of luck with the Merchant Princes--I'd love to read more in that series, especially after hearing some of your ideas for that--but I'll be delighted to read anything you end up writing.

Arthur (who was holding the woman who was holding Fluff the Plush Cthulhu)


By the sound of things, you're honoured. Fluff likes you!


A pox on me for not reading the blog more regularly. I missed the reading at Borderlands. Well, if your wandering around the Bay leads you to the Berkeley campus in next couple of days, the pints are on me :)


I have to admit, I had no idea the honor that was being bestowed upon me at the time. Later I went and saw all the famous heads Fluff has been on and felt a little abashed. Fluff kept me from freezing to death (summer night in SF and all). And Feòrag gave me a "Minion of Fluff" button. Now my daughter wants a stuffed Cthulu and I need to get on it. Raising a geek is not cheap.


Aw, darn, I didn't get to meet Fluff.


A friend of mine beaded Cthulhu. (And I whined begged for a pin.)


You probably won't read this before I see you at Powell's, but I hope you enjoy Portland as well. (BTW, this weather counts as "summer" more or less.) We've got an active SF community here, most of which is distracted doing other things at the moment.


Here's a quick note for those who are interested in Charlie-the-person as well as Stross-the-author. I've just landed at a wifi hotspot after the Powell's reading, and it was good.

Actually, I was on the sidewalk outside Powells when I was hailed from a group of people; I noticed first that one of them was snapping a photo of the Charles Stross announcement on the sign, and only a moment later this guy who looked really familiar from pictures on the net. So I introduced myself. Dressing distinctively helped (I wore a kilt), but carrying a bright red trade paperback of Toast didn't hurt either. Jay Lake was also there and various others who may announce themselves if they wish their presence known to teh interwebs.

We had a very pleasant talk before the reading, admired the large turnout, played with the Cthulhu plushie, and commented on the blowup of the Rule 34 cover which probably can't be taken back across the Atlantic just because it's big and awkward. Charlie stood up in front of a capacity crowd (the employees set out extra chairs and there were still people standing) and read his selected excerpt from Rule 34, and I'm happy to say he got the audience laughing out loud several times.

Afterward at least half of the audience lined up to get books signed, and I'm happy to report that many people in Portland have bought Charles Stross novels. (For the record, his hand did not fall off.) I was near the end of the line by intention. A woman a few places ahead of me apologized for the state of one of her paperbacks, which had had an accident while reading in the bathtub; Charlie assured her it was fine, and I pointed out that the important part was that she was reading it.

If all went according to plan, the Strosses are out at a bar or pub now, tanking up on anesthetic for their flight out tomorrow. As this is Portland, there is no beer shortage; I'm confident they've found something tasty.


Charlie gave a great, thought-provoking keynote talk at Usenix Security. For those interesting in seeing his talk, the video is available at Thanks to Usenix for making the video freely available to the public!


I may have to change my plans for January, when Charlie comes to my neck of the woods. I was was gaun tae wear ma kilt (in simple Robertson red) and bring my copy of Toast--as it's somewhat rarer than his others (though I'd bring more recent hardcovers too). If I wore the full kit I could call it S/punk cos, or just wear it old skool punk. It might be odd if it became common for people wear kilts at Stross events, seeing as he isn't Scottish, though mebbe being a transplant is good enough..

btw, I seemed to be under the mistaken impression that Feòrag had stayed at home, so a big never mind to my comment in her "Living with a writer" post.


I suspect Charlie'd prefer kilts to people turning up with whippets singing On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at


She had stayed at home. And then she joined him later.


Ah. Well, so long as the kittehs were fed.



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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on August 3, 2011 4:20 AM.

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