HEAR YE, HEAR YE

Drawing by John Tenniel

Announcing the upcoming serialization of Kicking Dogs on this very site.

The name is Jack Shackaway, and I’m a kind of freelance journalist. You meet some interesting people when you’re a hack writer living in Bangkok.
For example, the other day I was enjoying a few drinks with a pair of dubious characters name of Tommy Two-Toes and Wrong-Way Willie Wong. Actually, it was more than a few drinks, and these gentlemen were more than just Read more

Rocks and hard places

In an earlier post I promised to expand on a recent incident where I pulled the pin on a conversational grenade. Yeah, and then I dropped that word ‘niggardly’ right into the middle of a chat.

I’ll begin by saying that to label a certain world leader a corrupt and ignorant buffoon is merely to call a spade a spade. Or so some might claim. 

But am I indeed allowed to do that these days? Can I call a spade … Read more

Me: A Rabble

In this time of lockdown, cabin fever is my Muse

Yo. Who’s in the mood for something confessional from a writer locked down with plenty of time on his hands but too much distraction? And too little self-discipline to shoot his friggin’ internet router. 

Cri de coeur

Is my own life following a plot, or has it always been merely notes toward a motley assortment of lives I no longer have time to live? 

Hamstrung by distraction

There. That’s me, … Read more

Tilt! Tilt! Tilt! … Game over

In the old days science-fiction writers didn’t have to write so fast. But now reality has taken to outrunning the imagination. By the time you finish a draft, all you’ve got is something that reads like history. 

In Leary’s terms, it’s like our whole world is on tilt. The following rap comes to us from the late 2050s.

Climate change, the Trumpster & Co., pandemics, surveillance and social control, a cultural malaise that’s a metaphysical equivalent to HIV/AIDS, and more!
Read more

The Great Cull

Looking back from some time in the future, assuming there’s still anyone to look back, will we interpret COVID-19 in part as a cull?  

If so, then exactly what was culled? Did the pandemic take mostly the old and weak, leaving the rest of the herd to carry on? Maybe it also culled the stupid and irresponsible to some extent, though those conditions may have been more a matter of nurture than genetic nature. (I’ll leave it to readers to … Read more

Trade your freedoms for security? Social-cultural triage

medical triage

‘Triage,’ a common dilemma, is more and more presenting a terrible moral choice in this time of pandemic COVID-19. When medical facilities and staff are utterly overwhelmed, medical staff must decide, on the basis of various criteria, who lives and who dies. 

social-cultural triage

Perhaps that expression can be usefully applied to another dilemma, one that is characteristic of a modern world increasingly shaped by digital technology in service to the politics of fear. Here’s an example of … 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