Wordplay: streaming TV, science fiction & advertising, and fan fiction


The latest issue of Wordplay is now live and out to subscribers!

This issue covers a couple of topics: the proliferation of streaming services, and the opportunities that that leads to for creators, some thoughts on science fiction’s relationship with advertising, and some complaints about some recent fan fiction coverage online.

You can read the latest issue here (and past issues here), and subscribe to the letter here.

Newsletter #2 Now Out


I’ve sent out the second issue of my newsletter. Huge thanks to everyone who read and wrote in about the first one. I think the number of subscribers just about doubled between then and now, which is gratifying.

This time around, I’m talking about my reading habits, Chinese science fiction, and a couple of other things. You can read the issue here, and if you like what you read, you can sign up here.

I'm starting up a newsletter


Over the last couple of years, I’ve corresponded with two authors, Eliot Peper and Peter Tieryas, and at this year’s New York Comic Con, we ended up meeting up for dinner. It was great to see both of them in person for the first time, and we spoke about a wide range of things, from science fiction to the internet, to online communities.

One of the things that came up was a mailing list that Eliot maintains. You should subscribe to it: each month, he sends out a bunch of book recommendations “that explore the intersection of technology and culture.” We got to talking about some of the problems with social media, and how online newsletters seemed to be making a comeback in recent years.

There’s been a bunch of newsletters that I’ve started following. I’ve been reading Hot Pod by Nick Quah, a podcast industry newsletter. My colleague Casey Newton runs a daily column called The Interface over on The Verge, which is all about social media and democracy, which is pretty interesting, and Liz Lopatto runs a weekly one called This Week in Elon, all about Elon Musk, which is entertaining. Eliot touted the newsletter format as something a bit more personal for readers: not quite as sporadic as a Twitter feed, but not as open as a blog post.

Given my quibbles with social media, it feels like a good place to jot down ideas. My rough plan is to write about a couple of my general beats — science fiction, storytelling, and the future of reading in general, probably along the lines of yesterday’s post about Frank Herbert’s longevity, along with some random links to other stories / posts / articles that I’ve liked. I haven’t hammered out details just yet, but I figure it’ll be roughly monthly, with the occasional extra, or maybe a short story if I get my act together and actually stick to writing fiction on a regular basis. My goal is that it’ll be thoughtful, and a step back from the overt self-promotion that my Facebook and Twitter pages feel like sometimes.

Anyway, it’ll be an experiment. If you’re willing to play along, sign up here.