"For the Win," the latest young-adult novel by science-fiction author, journalist, and copyright activist Cory Doctorow, hit the shelves Tuesday. The book is about the drama surrounding the unionization of virtual world "gold farmers," and is based on his hit short story, "Anda's Game."
Doctorow, who has held policy positions at both the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Creative Commons, is also an editor of the influential technology culture blog Boing Boing. Add his spot on the Wired magazine masthead and there are probably few, if any, people with more geek culture cred.
From his home in England, the Canadian-born Doctorow, a Hugo Award nominee, is one of the most prolific writers going, constantly turning out blog posts, magazine articles, novels, and everything in between. And he travels more in a year than most people will in a lifetime.
His Boing Boing posts can cover issues from the fact that there are now at least 13 open-source hardware companies making $1 million or more annually, to anything related to Net neutrality, to the current battle over the U.S. Federal Communications Committee's decision to give Hollywood permission to activate the so-called "Selective Output Control" technologies in consumers' set-top boxes.
Doctorow recently sat down for a "45 Minutes on IM" interview and discussed a range of topics such as a new-style approach to print-on-demand to gold farming, NAFTA, and quite a bit more.
Q: Welcome to the third installment of "45 Minutes on IM." I wanted to start by saying I love how your official bio has a one-sentence version, a one-paragraph version, and a much longer one. How did you decide to break it out like that? Doctorow: It was based on the requests I got from press and such--my publicist, magazines, Web sites, etc.--they'd all request one of the three. I found myself trimming the long bio to fit the other two lengths over and over again, so I just made a template that included all three. I try to make a template out of any text I type more than once. Though sometimes it takes me three or four reps before I go, 'Duh, make a template stupid!' I have a grand plan to put together a wiki-editable FAQ of all the questions I get asked in e-mail someday.
In the long version of your bio, you talk about the "audacious experiment in print-on-demand publishing" for your next book. What does that mean?… Read more