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?

Cityscapes
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Space invaders

Space invaders (2019)

See ‘Bonus video,’ below, for the video version.

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 … 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

Writerly occupational hazard: Mental DDOSs

DDOS: Distributed denial of service. Shutting down an internet server by launching an attack from a number of sources to overwhelm the targeted system with data.

Exposure to the internet amounts to an effective DDOS on your brain.

There’s too much information out there, and the filters — both in terms of search engine devices and user self-discipline — just aren’t up to the task. It appears we humans are hardwired to be seduced by all the supposed opportunities for … Read more

Babies, bathwater, and back to the sacred

The Western Enlightenment, in all its euphoria at Reason’s liberation from old-crock orthodoxies, has thrown some babies out with the bathwater — e.g. perspectives and values that might better serve modern people. Such as? Such as common goals and values that promote individual development and satisfaction within shared senses of community. Such as universal principles by which to judge different cultural, religious and ideological institutions and actions. Rationalistic secular reductionism has been left with merely scientistic measures that seem, at … Read more

Eclipse, MAGIC CIRCLES-style

Eclipses being a media meme du jour, I’ve decided to post a theme excerpt from MOM, the first novel in the MAGIC CIRCLES series.

 

The ‘primordial campfire’ in the first paragraph of the excerpt refers to the notion of a magic circle. From the series glossary:

magic circle (n.) 1. sphere of coherence cognitively rooted in the circle of light and companionable narrative thrown by the primordial campfire; 2. area, commonly measured as a radius, within which it … Read more

Smartphone appendages: A typology

Not smartphone apps as in ‘applications’ — we’re talking apps as in ‘appendages.’ I.e. you and me.  (Have a look at this earlier story for more on Homo app.)

I’ve just come across three-year-old story notes on a remote corner of my hard drive. I have a character on the skytrain considering the  merely absent presence of the other passengers. One advantage of living in Bangkok, he has always believed, are the rich opportunities for people-watching. But it has … Read more