Thursday

TECH-NOIR AFRICA

I've stumbled across a couple of links in the last couple of days that highlight the cyberpunk/tech-noir futurity that is C21st Africa:
This is no amateur operation. Every computer trails a variety inputs: USB multipliers, memory card receivers, and microSD adapters. A virus scan is initiated on each new connection. Each PC is running some version of a copy utility to facilitate the process. The price is a standard 40 ougiya per song, about $0.14; like every market, discounts are available for bulk purchases. The music on the computers is dictated by the owners. Hassaniya music is most often carried by young Maurs, Senegalese Mbalax and folk by Pulaar and Wolof kids. While I’m searching for Hausa film music, I’m directed to the sole Hausa man in the market, a vendor from Niamey. I sit with the vendors, scrolling through the songs on VLC, selecting with a nod or a pass, the files copied to a folder, tallied, and transferred to my USB.
From Sahel Sounds, via Afrocyberpunk.

"Huge and isolated, the Sahel-Saharan Africa remains difficult to control for these poor countries. It is a zone of lawlessness, a hub of drug trafficking, a haven for kidnappers, a crossing point for migrants en route to Europe. In these areas rich in mineral and energy resources, nomadic peoples have the feeling of being abandoned by their governments, which favor ethnic farmers in the South."
Googlelated from la-croix.com

That's some kind of unholy trinity of lawlessness, deviant globalisation and street-level ingenuity right there.

OUR FIRST SATISFIED CUSTOMER....

... is Ash Turner, one of the authors whose work is included in the magazine!

Buy Weaponizer Magazine Issue #1...

HERE (for UK & Europe)

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Tuesday

WEAPONIZER MAGAZINE: NOW ON SALE WORLDWIDE


Weaponizer Magazine is now on sale in the US and worldwide, thanks to those nice folks at IndyPlanet!

Featuring an EXCLUSIVE interview with fan-favourite author China Mieville, and with an incredible cover by Mike Rooth, the magazine features 50 pages of exclusive content only available in print, including comics by Stref', Hey Apathy! and Darkam, new fiction by Weaponizer favourites such as C. Brian Hickey, Aaron Jacobs, Will Couper, Alan J. Gillespie, Ash Turner, Grimly Whetfox and K. Patrick Glover, plus new Weaponeers like Andrew J. Wilson, Andrew C. Ferguson, Jason Beamish, Corey J. White and Pete Sake!

There's luscious  artwork from Veronika Von Volkova, Emmanuel Hernaez aka MojoKingBee and Dmitri Arbacauskus of Tormented Artifacts, Lee Ian Moffat, Paul McKenzie, Sascha Duis, Eleanor Bennet, Jack Crowder, Keith Perkins, D. Miranda Pole, Ferburton and Morag Edward

US / WORLDWIDE CUSTOMERS: BUY IT NOW for just USD $6.50 plus shipping.

UK / EUROPE CUSTOMERS - BUY HERE!

THE FUTURE WILL BE CONFUSING

The slideshow below was given by designer Chris Heathcote at Do Lectures. In it he talks about how data shapes the world, and how important science and technological literacy are to understanding it. A couple of particulalrly interesting (to me) facts are outlined here:

1: Your entire genome is only about 786MB of data, and the 1% of that genome that makes you unique from everyone else is equivalent to only 8MB.
2: 23andme, who for $99 will sequence the most important 1% of your genetic code, and provide you with an online repository of your personalised genome data for you to explore.

He goes on to describe seeing a medical fact on a BBC science program, and then logging on to look it up in his own genome.

If you were in any doubt before, it's pretty clear that
The future will be confusing

View more presentations from antimega

via Warren Ellis' Machine Vision newsletter.

Friday

SLEIGHT OF MIND: LOOKING FOR THE RABBIT HOLE


Introducing the first post in a new, regular op-ed column, exclusive to the Weaponizer Blog. SLEIGHT OF MIND comes from the desk of one of our frequent fiction contributors K. Patrick Glover, writer of Western comic 'A Wicked Little Town,' the serial 'Bale's Game' and many short stories for the site. His new column looks at social and political issues with an unflinching gaze - we very much look forward to seeing some debate in the comments about the topics he covers.


There’s a magic trick that’s relatively common. We’ve all see a variation of it at one time or another. The magician shows us a deck of cards and asks someone to choose a card. The card is taken and the magician squares up the deck and places it flat on the table. He asks the audience to memorize the card and then asks that it be placed back on top of the deck. He cuts the deck, sometimes in two, sometimes in three, reassembles it, and squares it up again.

On occasion, he may ask a member of the audience to reassemble the deck, to assure that he’s not marking his place somehow. Next, he goes about finding the card. This may be accomplished amidst lots of card flourishes and he may tell a story or use some other patter to drag things out. He’ll deal and turn over cards in patterns, he may make you choose from one pile or another (although he’ll use no force here, you won’t really be choosing).

This is all misdirection. The magician has known where that card was since the beginning of the trick. When he squared the deck, he glanced at the bottom card. When the deck was cut and then reassembled, the bottom card ended up on top of the card the audience selected. At that point he knows that when he turns over the card that was previously the bottom card, the next card turned over will be the selected card.

Everything else, the patter, the flourishes, the dealing and selecting and manipulating, it’s all misdirection, there to distract from the simple move at the very beginning, the glance at the bottom of the deck, the thing he wants to conceal.

Which is all a pretty tidy metaphor for what happens in our lives on a daily basis. The politicians, the media, the lawyers, the money lenders and the corporate kings all spend their time creating an elaborate system of flourishes and misdirections just to keep us from noticing the importance of their furtive glances at the bottom of the deck.

And we play along.

We like to think that we view the world as it really is, that we see past the lies and manipulations of those that have power over us. That we are not fooled. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Not only do we willingly follow their lead, we do so joyously, reveling in each new distraction like simple minded characters in a Michael Bay movie.

Oh, look, an explosion.

What was I talking about?

You don’t believe me, do you? I can tell. I understand, I empathize. You shake your head and you think, not me, yes, maybe many of the other people out there fall for these tricks, but not me.

Exempli gratia: O.J. Simpson, Terry Schiavo, Anthony Weiner’s penis, Janet Jackson’s nipple, Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Mel Gibson, the Octomom, the X Factor, Big Brother, American Idol, even the lottery numbers. Chances are, you know at least a little bit about most of the things on this list. It would be hard to avoid them, the way the media pushes them into your consciousness day after day, moment after moment.

But how much do you know about your local government representatives? Do you know how much they’re paid? How about how they voted on the most recent local issue? Who represents you at a national level? Do you know what legislation got passed last time around? What effect that legislation has on you?

You don’t really need to answer those questions. We both already know the result. I’m just as guilty as you, and really, it’s not our fault. This is how we are created.

We are taught, from an early age, to conform. To act like each other and to think like each other. We are told what is important and what is not. We are taught magical thinking and binary thinking, taught that authority is always right and that there are two (and only two) sides to every argument. The world shall always boil down to us versus them and the less we know about them, the better. We are programmed from birth to be good little cogs in the machine.

It is part and parcel of the whole experience, simple misdirection. Sleight of mind.

Such misdirection is not always to protect those in power. Sometimes it is there to protect us and we willingly contribute to our own ignorance. There are things we don’t want to know. Things we don’t want to face.

Did you know that there are an estimated 25 to 50 active serial killers in the United States, right now? Somewhere in the world, right now, as you read this, the odds say that someone is being brutally tortured by another human being. Somewhere else, someone has decided that enough is enough and they’re raising a gun to their own head. Right now.

Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

So we do what we can to distract ourselves and by turning away from the horrors of the world, we let the powers that be continue to manipulate and maneuver because we have at least our bread and circuses.

And yet.

There is still the desire to pull back the curtain and see what lies hidden. To see past the flourishes and determine how the trick is done. To know the truth of the thing.

That’s it, really. The big thing. The Truth. It’s what we really want, deep down. It’s what I want. And it’s what this is all about, this column, this stack of words. I shall visit you monthly here and I shall try to bring you some truth. I shall rant and rave, I shall stand tall atop my soapbox and rail against injustices, both current and forgotten.

And I shall try to bring you some truth.

At the least, you and I can talk, perhaps over a pint of lager, in that time honored tradition of those that have been lied to and manipulated. We can commiserate, we can analyze, we can get pissed (in both the American and British senses of the word, transatlantic urination if you will), and we can search for the truth.

See you soon,

Tuesday

SUB WARS - ANIMATION BY SEAN SOONG


An old man on a crowded subway train tries to find a seat but nobody offers him one. It would seem he is not too pleased..

One for anyone out there that has to endure a morning subway commute to work, this animation by Sean Soong (http://seansoong.diandian.com/) at the Communication University of China's Animation School combines Anime style and a little Star Wars action together wonderfully.

The next time I encounter and old chap needing a seat I'll definitely be offering him mine.



Steve Worsethandetroit

Resistance is Character Forming

Friday

WEAPONIZER MAGAZINE - ISSUE #1 NOW ON SALE!

 


The first issue of the new-look, relaunched Weaponizer Magazine is now available inthe UK & Europe.*


Featuring an EXCLUSIVE interview with fan-favourite author China Mieville, and with an incredible cover by Mike Rooth, the magazine features 50 pages of exclusive content only available in print, including comics by Stref', Hey Apathy! and Darkam, new fiction by Weaponizer favourites such as C. Brian Hickey, Aaron Jacobs, Will Couper, Alan J. Gillespie, Ash Turner, Grimly Whetfox and K. Patrick Glover, plus new Weaponeers like Andrew J. Wilson, Andrew C. Ferguson, Jason Beamish, Corey J. White and Pete Sake!

There's luscious  artwork from Veronika Von Volkova, Emmanuel Hernaez aka MojoKingBee and Dmitri Arbacauskus of Tormented Artifacts, Lee Ian Moffat, Paul McKenzie, Sascha Duis, Eleanor Bennet, Jack Crowder, Keith Perkins, D. Miranda Pole, Ferburton and Morag Edward!   


Available now for just £5 plus p&p!
*NB. CUSTOMERS OUTSIDE UK & EUROPE PLEASE ORDER FROM INDYPLANET.COM / COMICSMONKEY.COM ... LINKS COMING SOON ... THANKS FOR YOUR PATIENCE!

Thursday

SERIAL: THE DAY THE SUN DIDN'T SHINE - PART VI


Harlequinade's sprawling, Orphean parody of Dante continues! THE DAY THE SUN DIDN'T SHINE is a surreal, metaphysical horror tale following the exploits of TD, an anonymous innocent-abroad who gets drawn deeper and deeper into a netherworld of freaks, grotesqueries and philosophical paradoxes. Is he descending into hell, or exploring the recesses of human consciousness? Is he dreaming or tripping? Has he penetrated beyond the veil of tears we call 'reality' to the core of its meaning, or has he simply gone mad, and left reality altogether? YOU DECIDE!


TD walked out of the door which he had pointed to, and found himself on a neatly paved and walled pathway. As he walked along the increasingly narrow lane he was assailed by scents of thyme and rosemary, which overpowered everything else. As he progressed, they became so overwhelming that he was struck with nausea. ...READ SERIAL: 'THE DAY THE SUN DIDN'T SHINE - PART VI' NOW!

For those who missed the first 5 episodes, or those who want to catch up before reading part 6, here are some quick links: 

PART I
PART II
PART III
PART IV
PART V

Tuesday

I CAME HERE TO EDIT FICTION AND CHEW BUBBLEGUM

Greetings, Weaponeers. My name is C. Brian Hickey, but since we're all friends here, you can call me Chris. I've been a contributor to Weaponizer for, what, almost two years now, and it's been a hell of a ride.

Bit of background: I was born in the neighborhood of Charlestown in Boston, Massachusetts, way back when letting young children play amid urban decay was a permissible thing. It was a tough neigborhood, and tubby, bookish kids usually have two choices: you grow hard and mean, or you turn inward and avoid the outside world, now that you know there are hard, mean people out there.

In retrospect, I think I found the Golden Mean between the two extremes: I did draw in, but not so much that I couldn't observe the hard people.

At any rate: my natural introversion and bookishness, mixed with my predilection for observing people, and I began to make up stories. Over the years, the stories got longer, but the root is still the same: those aren't three old biddies at Papa Gino's eating spaghetti; they're WITCHES. You get the idea.

I first became involved with Weaponizer through the Whitechapel forums, Warren Ellis' stamping grounds of old. This guy Texture posts a thread about an online literary magazine he runs, and anybody can submit.

Wow. That's big.

I was coming off a long stretch of writer's block, and I thought it was high time I get back into fighting trim.

And again, the stories got longer. I was hungry now.

You never know how hungry you can get until you lose that one thing that makes you you.

Long story short, here I am. I've recently been added to the list of Weaponizer editors, working with Herr Gieben on the Fiction side.

To submitters, bring me your best. I do not promise to be gentle. I do not promise to be kind.

I do, however, promise to be fair. That's the Golden Mean.



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