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30,000 words nailed on novel #3

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01:31 AM ET (US)
I benefit from looking through your Tinder Dating Site.
01:51 PM ET (US)
so, here's the thing. i really enjoyed your writing. stylized after whatever or whomever. who care's, it's entertaining. not every novel we read or write has to be Pride and Prejudice or The Fountainhead. i too was left wanting to know what happens next. some people are just too s-m-r-t (sic) for their own good {Erik/anser}. i stumbled upon your stuff totally by accident, but having paid my hommage to the world of tech support, code and all that is techni-nerd life, i quite enjoyed your work. you have a niche and you will have a following - so what if it is all the dilbert loving crackpots out there in the big bad world. keep up.
ja5ckPerson was signed in when posted
01:01 AM ET (US)
anserPerson was signed in when posted
01:07 AM ET (US)
I agree with Erik. Except that the ecumenical answer is

Erik V. OlsonPerson was signed in when posted
11:56 PM ET (US)


No. First, god is almost certainly going to be needed in single user mode, and how. So.


And futhermore, this is god we're talking about here, not emacs. So.


But you need god at creation. So, it should be


Which leaves open the idea of /boot/god.conf. Hmm.

# $FreeBSD: src/sys/boot/forth/god.conf,v 1.00 -6006/11/26
# Modified 30-Mar-2003, EVO (


but I digress.

Of course, /boot/god is silly. We know where god is.



kill -15 `ps ax | grep god | cut -b 1-6`

if that doesn't work.

kill -9 `ps ax | grep god | cut -b 1-6`


And, of course, if you have too many newbies abusing the documentation, "killall man" sorts that out. And if that isn't god, I don't know what is.

(Note one should be very careful about the "killall" command. Sometimes, it means *just that.*)
Gary O'BrienPerson was signed in when posted
11:51 PM ET (US)
Speaking as someone who worked at a dot com, I think Cory nailed it. I know several Masons. I've met several CTO/CIOs like that. Bastards. They're all bastards.

Also, speaking as someone who has nearly a decade of experience in publishing, yes . . . Cory will have a chance to "kill his poodles" so to speak. I like his writing style. I find it very natural. And, in this case I found the jargon appropriate. However, I know for a fact that this will be streamlined and perfected. To our liking? Perhaps. Perhaps not. I'm sure there will be plenty of people with the power of print publications behind them who will be happy to share their thoughts on that subject down the line.

Be kind to Cory. When Novel #4 comes out and it is titled "Manifesto" and he starts exhibiting unearthly powers we may all be sorry.
Edited 03-31-2003 11:52 PM
cypherpunksPerson was signed in when posted
11:43 PM ET (US)
Galt (who is that guy?) wrote: "Lord of the Cows has a good point in that Cory is not trying to be like Le Carre; he's trying to be more like Dilbert, or as I put it, Cool World. Not everyone can be or should be Le Carre. But introducing a character as a collection of in-jokes, tech objects, disparate memes from different eras in technology, and dangerously loose (to the point of distraction) sets of unrelated technologies is weak work by any writer. It's writing informed by Flash animations, AIM and [H]ardOCP."

There's a huge body of fiction that deals in commodification, in-jokes, brand names, and technology. You may not like it and think it sucks, but it hardly counts as not-literate or unliterary. Doctorow's work is all about distraction. W. Gibson uses cultural collage, albeit in a different way. Can we use the P-word here?

I don't know if it's realistic to measure all SF writers on a single vertical scale. It reminds me too much of early 20th century lit crit: "Jones had perhaps the finest mind of his generation. But Smith was almost as fine. And Rogers was pretty fine, sort of in-between Smith and Jones."

I couldn't quit reading Down and Out. Is it War and Peace? No, but it was a good read, and that's saying a lot. Why don't you armchair critics go back to being armchair generals, or whatever it is you do when you're not wearing the tweed jacket with elbow patches. Geesh.

Of course, I would like to see him get a little more Pynchonian in his treatment of surfaces. Ok, I"m a hypocrite.
cavalierfhPerson was signed in when posted
08:47 PM ET (US)
Okay.. well, realizing this is a draft (no editorial comments from me, I'm sure Tor books hires competent people ;) ) I just want to put my two cents in re: the Galt observation.

Cory I'm sorry but I agree here with what Galt's going for. Maybe your earlier works draft like this and the editor gently eschews the constant techno-jargon dropping. If not, you should know -- coming from the literate geeks (er.. wait.. is there such a thing as an illite.. nevermind) -- it feels like it is trying too hard.

Then again maybe you are laughing sarcastically at all of this, because we fell for it, and this is more in line with who this character actually is (consumed by the technology, seeking redemption? ahhhhh sooooooo).

In any case.. thank you for the sneak peak.. awfully swell.. look forward to the book.. realize that you are a /good/ writer, and you understand form and functions of characters well.. don't feel you have to force lingo in there to be l33t.
lalasPerson was signed in when posted
08:36 PM ET (US)
1. There aren't (and weren't) very many startups in Menlo Park. Mostly rich people, a particle accelerator, and VC firms.

2. When referring to the Peninsula as a proper place, capitalize it.

3. 50 miles down the Peninsula from its northernmost point (San Francisco) will take you far beyond Menlo Park. Past San Jose, too.
Warren EllisPerson was signed in when posted
07:47 PM ET (US)
Nice piece of work. You know I'm looking forward to this one anyway. You create a sense of the culture well; the wordnoise works in inference. And I like the way you build up the little pen-portraits of the characters incrementally. Franklin might be a prick, but Mason's a disgusting little object. This is feeling like a 90,000 word job, though...

That is a hideous sentence from LeCarre. And the "parodic" opening some pseudonym constructed is actually fairly similar to Ian Fleming's style, which amused me...
Edited 03-31-2003 07:48 PM
John GaltPerson was signed in when posted
07:47 PM ET (US)
Skimming -- yes, that's the dead-on feeling I sometimes get when reading Cory. Maybe I can subliminally detect that gee-whillikers moment when he's about to mash down with both hands on all the numbers on the celestial technojizz cash register and ring up another ripped-from-today's-RSS frisson. Whatever it is, it's anathema to the flow.

Lord of the Cows has a good point in that Cory is not trying to be like Le Carre; he's trying to be more like Dilbert, or as I put it, Cool World. Not everyone can be or should be Le Carre. But introducing a character as a collection of in-jokes, tech objects, disparate memes from different eras in technology, and dangerously loose (to the point of distraction) sets of unrelated technologies is weak work by any writer. It's writing informed by Flash animations, AIM and [H]ardOCP.

Maybe Cory wants to be the Robert X. Cringely of fiction (although arguably Robert X. Cringely is the Robert X. Cringely of fiction already). Maybe he doesn't mind being more like Garfield than Calvin & Hobbes. I think he wants to be a Big Remembered Science Fiction Author; these comments are offered in the hope that I'm right.
Mo NickelsPerson was signed in when posted
06:45 PM ET (US)
Hey, Cory, I wonder if you don't mean Defcon 1, which is the highest state of alert (basically, at war), while Defcon 5 is the lowest, least urgent state of alert.
wiseanduncannyPerson was signed in when posted
06:10 PM ET (US)
I'm with Galt.

I've read only "0wnz0red" and "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom," but I find myself frequently skimming Cory's overly florid-with-brand-name-droppings prose. The ideas are great fun (even when they're ripped-off from Varley), but, sweet jesus, does it ever feel like a ploy for l33t-cred sometimes.

It's a draft, sure, and by putting it out there for us to view, I'm assuming Cory wants constructive criticism. Given how defensive he usually gets re: his language choices (Martian!), I don't foresee any of our comments here changing a thing Cory does. So, uh, maybe that was a bad assumption of mine.

Oh -- the story sounds interesting. I look forward to skimming through the novel next year sometime.

Lord of The CowsPerson was signed in when posted
04:46 PM ET (US)
I don't concur with John Galt. I've read the excerpt that was put up by Cory and the one by LeCarre that John Galt put up and I must say that I find that Cory's writing style flows much more smoothly (and was also more interesting). And so what if the levels are "wrong"? I felt that there was just a tad of exageration in there, not as much as you can see in Dilbert of course, but it was just enough to make me smile :) You know, I just can't help but wonder, really, "how far is that from the truth?" :)

If I want realism, I'll go read a newspaper :) I for one am looking forward to this new story. Keep up the good work Cory! (can we call you Cory or should we use M. Doctorow instead? :)

Of course, opinions are just that : opinions :)
CraniacPerson was signed in when posted
04:34 PM ET (US)
It's a draft people, take a laxative.

I was left wanting to know what happened next.

Nice segment:

"You're the kind of sneering, *creative*, self-important
'consultant' that sucked the economy dry. You're a carpetbagger,Mason. You're a phony. You have a Humanities degree. You know the gag-lines from last night's South Park, but you can't write code from stubs. Wherever there's an entrepreneur with a great idea and a little money, there you are, like a tapeworm, eating the company out from the inside. I've seen a thousand of you, Mason, and there's no more place for you in the Valley. Go find another industry to pick on, and get the fuck out of mine." He delivered
this all with a wet smile and a charming crinkle in his eye and only the veins standing out in his neck mirrored the hostility of his words.
Joey deVillaPerson was signed in when posted
04:34 PM ET (US)
Actually, that bit about having to answer fifteen essay questions about computer-ish things probably was inspired by real life -- mine, in fact.

In November, before a certain Toronto-based software company of some repute would even let their headhunting firm pre-interview me for a C# programming job, I had to answer the following 12 essay questions:

1. What is good code?
2. What are basic, core, practices for a developer?
3. What do you like about .NET?
4. What don't you like about .NET? What would you change?
5. What do you like about programming?
6. Do you have a favourite programming book? More than one? Which ones? And why.
7. What is the responsibility of QA?
8. Who is Dr Bob?
9. Who is Don Knuth?
10. Who is Kent Beck?
11. What do you know about Linux? Assuming you're familiar with it, what do you like about it? What don't you like? If you haven't used Linux you can skip this question.
12. What is the answer to life, the universe, and everything?

The story appears in my blogs (see and and Cory pointed to these entries (see and I was Cory's lieutenant at OpenCola for two years, he's one of the guys I use as a reference and as a result, he's got a pretty good idea of how my job searches have been going.

The part that I find unbelievable is all the Mountain Dew drinking. Ewwwww! I'll take the crab juice, please.
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