Learning to walk (again)

Back in the day, I was the fastest pedestrian in Bangkok. If someone passed me on the pavement, I assumed they were either from Korea or else on the run from the police.

But these days I get schoolgirls in bobby sox and buckle shoes  zipping past me while drowned in their smartphones. This suggests three hypotheses:

 

1. I’m slowing with age.

2. A younger generation of Thais are walking faster.

3. I’ve learned to live more in the … Read more

Invasion of the black boxes

Hans-Georges Arp painted this image long before Big Data came to invade every human space, private and public.

Now amorphous entities like digital amoebae suck our minds and souls dry of predictive nutrients. Obscenely intimate, these ethereal blobs snuggle up to absorb and commodify the digital detritus of our progress through the age of surveillance capitalism.

If you look hard, you can discern the inputs and outputs, but the algorithmic machinations at the centre of this process are often compared … Read more

Space invaders (2057): Windows on our future

The great escape (failed). As you drive south on the Rama II expressway out of Bangkok, you approach wooded patches and scenic hills in the distance. Not that you can see them. Rows of gigantic billboards line the road to demand your attention, blocking out the natural attractions, what might have been visual relief from life in the big city.

Who erected these billboards, and why? Who did they consult before doing this; who didn’t they consult? And why?

 … Read more

Space invaders

Space invaders (2019)

Soft drinks giant PepsiCo has consulted with a Russian space startup offering brands the chance to project their logos into the night skies via low-orbit satellites.

                              “Pepsi considers space billboards to project logo across night sky using satellites

                                          (The Independent)

No problem, eh? Just part of a global campaign to erode our private spaces and our private choices to vanishing point. More and more, without so much as a by-your-leave, commercial interests invade … Read more

RANT

 

Scenario: I post ‘Three Strikes vs. Magic Circles’ (see my last post)  and no one notices. So I post a second, even more inflammatory diatribe, which no one remarks, and then another and another, each more hysterically indignant than the one before. No one reads any of them, much less reads my novels. Eventually they are all collected in a book I call RANT, which becomes a bestseller.

I die before that, and Sara lives happily … Read more

Best of all worlds

 

Best of all worlds. MOM, Genesis 2.0, and Resurrections are topping bestseller lists worldwide for the third month in a row. Mobs are rioting in the streets of major cities everywhere, demanding the author cough up Kill Cade, the fourth novel in the MAGIC CIRCLE series. Hollywood agents are climbing in the windows, groupies clamor at the door. Sara won’t talk to me. It’s amazing.

Yeah. And all this is happening in a near-adjacent parallel universe where the internet … Read more

Diverse yet complementary writing experiences

Canadian writers night. The Thai-Canadian Chamber of Commerce recently co-hosted an event  where five Thailand-based Canadian writers were invited to speak.

I’d like to thank Jen Mechhayai, Rose Swagemakers, Waranya Boonsaner and the others at the Thai-Canadian Chamber, and Scott Murray from Dragonart Media, who so kindly organized this evening. It was also a pleasure to hear Marisha Wojciechowska, Natalie Glebova, Christopher G. Moore and Bjorn Turmann present their work and what turned out to be their nicely complementary thoughts … Read more

Big Data sees all, knows all

Branded. Here’s something I reported on Facebook a couple of days ago. Based on my internet habits and tastes, FB’s algorithms had decided I was an aging proto-hipster who snored. So  I should be a sucker for ‘soft-leather sandals,’ right? Not to mention a mini-CPAP device that would end my snoring forever. 

And what happens, I asked, should I decide to run for PM in Canada? The media, soon in possession of Big Data knowledge products regarding yours truly, would … Read more

One born every minute: Wherein Melrose rips Bangkok right off

Bangkok currently lies enshrouded in a great cloud of fine particulate matter. Hey, but listen to what an Andromedan named Melrose had to say about pollution back in the 1990s, back in the days of leaded gas and black-belching city buses. Chacun à son gout, eh? The following originally appeared in the Bangkok Post Sunday section, and was later collected in Bangkok Old Hand (Bangkok: Post Books, 1993).

One born every minute

As most of you already know, the … Read more

Every citizen a Mr. or Ms. Potato Head  

 

The following interview question was prompted by the fact I don’t take selfies. Not very often, anyway, and I rarely post photos of my private life on Facebook. In the event, the blogger either didn’t have room for my response (below), or he thought it was too dumb. So, applying the principle of waste not, want not, here goes…

Q: Let’s start with the important stuff in today’s world: Selfies. Make a closing argument for their upside as if … Read more