Once in a blue moon or a Neal Stephenson public appereance

Neal Stephenson has really come out of his shell recently.  While never quite as recluse as Salinger, this is the same Stephenson who published an essay on why he is a bad correspondent (this essay used to be online, but it is now in his Some Remarks collection).  He has even tweeted thirteen times this year, almost matching his fifteen tweets since 2010.

Not that I’m counting his tweets (ok, some of those were retweets), but while he’s between books, it’s nice to hear from one of my favorite authors.  The topic of his public conversation lately has been a Kickstarter project about CLANG, a realistic sword fighting game / API.  A very detailed writer, “Umberto Eco without the charm” so says the NY Times about Snow Crash, Stephenson incorporated some swashbuckling scenes back in the Baroque Cycle, with which he was admittedly dissatisfied.  However, since then he wrote the Mongoliad, a western martial arts online-novel and now CLANG, to make up for it.

But apart from the sword fighting, I’m continually impressed with Kickstarter.  A grass-roots (apart from the sponsoring by Amazon) forum where crowd source funding spurs initial seed capital.  Of course, like this article mentions, there is opportunity for the unanticipated problem of too much money.

CLANG was successfully funded at $526,125 (with a target of $500,000) and has a pretty creative video including their front man Neal Stephenson.  But with the release of Some Remarks and the successful Kickstarter venture, Neal is ready to go back to work doing what he does best, writing.  And from the sounds of this interview, we can look forward to more historical speculative fiction.

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6 thoughts on “Once in a blue moon or a Neal Stephenson public appereance

  1. Well dang… you waited until after it funded to mention it. That’s the kind of thing I could have gotten behind. Ah well, I’ll just have to wait until it comes out next year, right?

    On a side note, did you hear about the controversy over Penny Arcade’s KickStarter? Basically, as multi-million dollar company, they set a goal of $500,000 to remove one ad off of their website for a year. They funded. A number of people in the webcomic community were less than happy about it, seeing it as the equivalent of Microsoft taking money meant for business start-ups.

    1. Yeah… I probably would’ve done Neal much more service posting this during the campaign. But it looks like a game that you would enjoy, in fact, I think I saw you in the video. 😉 I can understand why some are upset (about Penny Arcade), but of course, people could decide not to fund it.

      1. True. There’s a longer discussion at Eric Burn’s website (http://new.websnark.com/post/26908270863/edit-note-the-title-of-the-graphic-above-isnt-my) which gets more into detail on what’s going on and there’s a lot of good points one way and the other. I think a lot of it gets into whether there’s a finite amount of funding money (such that more needing projects may not get funded because Tycho and Gabe scooped up the funds). Personally, I think that it’s a bit tacky, and their “project goal” skirts the limits of Kickstarter’s rules that you must produce something as the end result of your project.

      2. Ok, after reading that article it seems a bit evil now. But now I’m thinking of a Kickstarter project to not eat Hamburgers for a year. A whole year! ala Kafka’s Hunger Artist 😉 (exception for cheeseburgers, of course)

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