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April 15, 2007

April 23, 2007 is International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day!


World Fantasy Winner and current Nebula nominee Jo Walton has decided to embrace her technopeasantry, as described by current SFWA VP Howard V. Hendrix, and feels you should too:

In honour of Dr Hendrix, I am declaring Monday 23rd April International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day. On this day, everyone who wants to should give away professional quality work online. It doesn't matter if it's a novel, a story or a poem, it doesn't matter if it's already been published or if it hasn't, the point is it should be disseminated online to celebrate our technopeasanthood.
Whatever you're posting should go on your own site. I'll make a post here on the day and people can post links in comments to whatever they're putting up on. If you are a member of SFWA, or SFWA qualified but not a member (like me) you get extra pixel-spattered points for doing this. If other people want to collect the links too, that would be really cool. Please disseminate this information widely.

Of course, I have a lot of free stuff up already, put for International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day I think I'll put up something new: The complete text of The Durant Chronicles: Crisis at Tlada, which is a young adult novel I attempted right after I had finished with Agent to the Stars. Now, when I say "complete" I mean, "all the chapters I actually wrote," because I never got around to finishing it. Nevertheless, it's a sizeable chunk of text, and I did shop it, and it is fun to read, so I think it qualifies. It's something to look forward to eight days from now.

If you want to get in on the action, and you're a pro-level writer (i.e., you've sold something sometime somewhere), go over to Jo Walton's place and let her know you're in. Then on April 23, post a story for the unwashed masses to read -- for free! If you're not a pro-level writer, April 23rd might be the right day to submit work to pro venues, because, after all, the pros are going to busy elsewhere. And if you're a reader, well. International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day should be a lot of fun for you, now, shouldn't it?

Pass it on.

Posted by john at April 15, 2007 11:59 AM

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David Reagan | April 15, 2007 12:35 PM

Just a shame Hendrix ain't online to see all this craziness he's inspired. An odd and ironic 15 minutes of fame.

Jo Walton | April 15, 2007 12:54 PM

I love that icon!

Sasha, being sixteen and logical, points out that "pixel-spattered" doesn't literally mean anything. Anything on a screen is entirely pixels, and anything not on a screen is entirely not, and that there is no way to spatter anything or anyone with pixels.

Scott | April 15, 2007 01:10 PM

Personally, I switched to "Non-Staining" pixels years ago. We have the technology to make screen burn-in a foot-note in the history of the screen-saver, if only the peasant-wretches would give up their backwards ways and embrace modern technology!

Nathan | April 15, 2007 01:14 PM

I don't want to seem contrary, but I'm pretty sure most dragon boobs are pixel-spattered.

fishbane | April 15, 2007 01:31 PM

"Pixel splattered" sounds like an edgy fetish to me, but maybe I'm just a perv.

... I find it hilarious that a sci-fi author compared himself to the Unibomber.

Terry Karney | April 15, 2007 02:02 PM

I won't be giving away any writing, the best I have is old poems I either don't want to share (they suck) or want to keep close (they don't suck).

But I will post a photograph, or two, no rights reserved.

PixelFish | April 15, 2007 02:53 PM

I know he was only referring to pro-writers, but what about artists, musicians, etc? Can we be technopeasants too?

Jack William Bell | April 15, 2007 03:04 PM

Note that Oort-Cloud.org is very possibly the most appropriate venue for posting your 'for-free' SF or Fantasy story.

Why? Oort-Cloud is all about doing the very thing that torques Howard's jaw so badly.

John Scalzi | April 15, 2007 03:39 PM

Actually, if people are going to do this on a site not their own, I'd prefer they do it at Ficlets.

Scott Wyngarden | April 15, 2007 04:25 PM

Use Ficlets: because Scalzi knows on what side the cat is baconed.

Jenny Rae Rappaport | April 15, 2007 05:22 PM

Can we participate, if we haven't yet been published at a professional level?

John Scalzi | April 15, 2007 05:31 PM

I'm not sure how anyone can stop you!

Mary Dell | April 15, 2007 09:00 PM

Sorry for cross-posting, just wanted to say I've also created an image folks can use as a web badge if they're so inclined: http://www.flickr.com/photos/marydell/460536848/

It's not as good as my Scalzi for prez poster, but I'm amused by it nonetheless.

I've been thinking about putting some writing up on my site (not a pro writer yet, other than tech writing and whatnot) so this seems like a good time to do it. I figure non-pros doing this will be the equivalent of showing up and singing "Talking Union" along with the picketers. Um, scabs. Whatever.

Joyce Reynolds-Ward | April 15, 2007 10:06 PM

My pro columns are already on line but I'll find a decent pointer to them.

Steve Buchheit | April 15, 2007 10:12 PM

Would a trunk story qualify? 'Cause most of my other stuff is in submission or back for edits. Although I do have one other story, but I was going to use April 23 to send it out. 'Cause, you know, all the professionals are going to be pixel-staining that day.

Hmm, pixel-satined tie-dyed shirts. There might be a market for that, now.

At the day job, a medium-sized printer (actual ink on paper, go figure) we have a box of old style dots. Ever since we went to digital dots we haven't been able to use them up. Seriously, it's the "newbie" running-gag. They get the box of dots.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden | April 15, 2007 11:18 PM

I'm in. I've already gone and pseudonymously posted editorial notes on someone's online fiction. I may do more of that between now and the 23rd. Why not? It's what I do professionally.

mythago | April 15, 2007 11:51 PM

I assume it doesn't have to be SF?

Free porn for all!

Michael Canfield | April 16, 2007 01:56 AM

Awesome. I am so in.

Lis Riba | April 16, 2007 06:44 AM

As primarily a reader, I look at that day and wonder what if anything I can contribute.

May I be so presumptuous to propose that for non-writers, use that day to (a) list authors and works you purchased because of the writers' technopeasantry and/or (b) recommend works by such authors.

I'm at a business conference, so don't have time to write this up fully myself, but feel free to disseminate if you like the idea.

Josh Jasper | April 16, 2007 08:14 AM

Howard V. Hendrix's "rant" is a good example of what happens when luddites open thier yaps about the current media marketplace, and expect it to react and have the same structure it had 50 years ago.

I mean, yes, he's also a cranky, bitter old man with no manners, but that describes enough of F&SF writers that it makes no difference.

What's interesting (and deeply ironic) is that he's just marketed himself *out* of popularity. Any idea that he gave a shit how well his books just sold went out the window. He clearly *does not* care, or is just too foolish to understand the modern literary marketplace, despite pretentions that he does.

No professional group representing creative artists is served by elected officials who're antagonistic to the current marketplace. In fact, the SFWA is damaged by such representation.

I work in a "new media" job. I know for a fact that recording artists who "give away free samples" notice a jump in sales. Because it's good marketing. Hendrix's concept of this as a threat is horrible advice for someone trying to create a career in writing. In fact, it can be shown easily to be a detriment to one's sales figures *not* to give away some free content.

It will be interesting to see how the SFWA does after it elects members who have a deeper understanding of how the internet can be used to aid writers, writer's rights, and promote F/SF.

mark | April 16, 2007 09:42 AM

Two things...

Despite not knowing much about the internal politics of the SFWA I will make the prediction that this mess will have exactly the opposite effect the good Doctor was aiming towards. The Technopeasants are notorious for lashing out whenever someone tries to tell them what they can't do. I'd link to examples, but it's difficult to link to every single forum on the intarweb.

Oh My God, April 23rd is my new favorite holiday. I might need tranquilizers to stop bouncing in my chair long enough to actually read. What's that wierd little word that people use? Ah yes, I believe it is Squee!

Buck | April 16, 2007 10:57 AM

What is a good bard to do? I keep hearing that some people are recounting their tales to people who are WRITING THEM DOWN!!!! This is going to cause nothing short of the death of epic poetry.

Seriously, a science fiction writer who is digging in his heels about the changing nature of communication via the internet? GOOD writers, artists, etc. are giving away work product via the internet the same way good drug dealers give away the first free sample.

Matt Jarpe | April 16, 2007 11:05 AM

I would do this, but it looks like you have to be a livejournalist? How does that work?

I put free stuff up on my site all the time. I'm halfway through building a virtual single author collection of my published (and should-have-been-published) short stories. And as soon as Tor gives me the go-ahead I'll have sample chapters of RADIO FREEFALL. Free is good.

John Scalzi | April 16, 2007 11:13 AM

Matt Jarpe:

"I would do this, but it looks like you have to be a livejournalist? How does that work?"

You don't have to be an LJ person; just put up some work on your site a week from now.

Although, of course, one can get an LJ account for free, so if you really felt like you needed to be on LJ for it, getting an account is a trivial matter.

Chang, for rizzle. | April 16, 2007 01:29 PM

I've already got stuff up at Oort-cloud.org, so I hope that tugs on at least one of Hendrix nose hairs. Hey, John, I know you got ties with the ficlets folks, but do you have anything against oort-cloud?

Rick Novy | April 16, 2007 07:24 PM

Anybody get Cory Doctorow in on this? I'm in. I have something I planned to post for free anyway.

Jack William Bell | April 17, 2007 10:50 AM

Teresa: Edit this please!

Hey, if I can get some for free... :-)

Michael Nelson | April 19, 2007 03:39 PM

An LJ community has been created to post links to any free content for IPSTP Day:


"Welcome to the International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant's LiveJournal community. This community was set up specifically to promote the celebration of International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant's Day on April 23rd. The community exists to celebrate the generous contributions of International Pixel-Stained Technopeasants (IPSTP) everywhere.

This community was inspired by papersky. In the spirit of the day, please post a link to your freely downloadable professional quality work: novel, story, poem, song, art, etc. Thanks also go to rachelcaine for suggesting that we needed a LJ community for the event.

Please respect the copyrights and wishes of others. Only post links to your own pixel-stained works."

Kirby | April 24, 2007 04:07 PM

Your IPSTP mascot looks a bit like Dr. Hendrix, which is rather cool. I have no excuse for why I made this one, other than sheer geekitude.



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