Trotsky's Children: The Future of Bitcoin

[H] A Metric Ton of Steam Games [W] Games from My Wishlist or Cash Moneys

First time posting here, so I'll link you my reps.
244 +rep on SteamTrades
154 successful trades on Barter
Almost 200 confirmed transactions in DigitalCodeSell
Have:
Want: It's bad enough you had to look through all that, I'm not posting my entire wishlist here. 6000+ titles, so yeah, not happening. I can't think of much I really really want, so I'll leave those I do here and let you make me an offer. I'm open to offers for anything I don't already have except DLC for games I don't own. I'm not interested in any Origin, UPlay, or Epic Games Store keys, I only want Steam keys. Or money. I like money too.
Tilt Brush
Resident Evil 7 Gold Edition
Beat Saber
submitted by SameIQAsMyPetRock to SteamGameSwap [link] [comments]

[Serious] Of Prices, ASICs and X11

WARNING: WALL OF TEXT, HIGH SCIENCE CONTENT
Friends, shibes, it is my pleasure to speak with you for what I hope is the first and not the last time. I'm arrdem, I'm a Doge daytrader, economist and miner on the side, and a programmer during the day. Today I'd like to have a chat about some of the rumors with regards to ASICs and the X11 hash that have been floating around /dogecoin for the last few weeks and I hope bring some light to the discussions.
On Scrypt
What is special about our hash function? Why does Bitcoin use SHA256 and why does Doge use Scrypt? The hash function used by each cryptocurrency must have no known inverse function or algorithmic weakness which allows miners to cheat and compute nonces easily, and it needs to be easy to verify or recompute given an input. The first requirement is obvious in that if the hash function is weak, then someone can achieve a 51% attack potentially with less than 51% of the network's hashing power. The second is less obvious and is in fact entirely a performance issue.
SHA256 is a known and trusted algorithm which has yet to exhibit any known weaknesses, and it is very very fast to recompute. This is why Bitcoin is SHA based.
Litecoin, the intellectual father of Dogecoin, chose the Scrypt hash function because it was a memory bound algorithm. That is, the slowest part of computing the Scrypt hash of some value is waiting for values to be fetched from memory: an operation which it is amazingly expensive to make fast. The goal of choosing an artificially expensive hash function was to escape the Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs or hardware miners) which had come to dominate Bitcoin mining. Because the SHA256 algorithm does not have large memory requirements, it was easy for Bitcoin speculators to develop cost effective hardware for the single purpose of searching for SHA256 nonce values.
On ASICs
Before we get to whether ASICs are good or bad for a coin, we must first assess why they made sense for Bitcoin so that we can reason about their impact on Doge.
Because the computational power to find a nonce for any good cryptocurrency is expected to be large, that means there is a literal cost attached to processing each transaction on the network. While transactions may be nominally free or at least low fee, miners are really speculators expecting that someday the value of the coins they earn computing nonce values for blocks will exceed the operating costs and purchase costs of the hardware they mine with. This expectation that one day mining costs will be repaid is in fact the key reason that Bitcoin featured block rewards. The block reward was seen as a bootstrapping mechanic with which to buy hardware investment in the Bitcoin network through currency inflation.
Now, ASICs and other mining hardware only pay for themselves if one expects to get enough return from block rewards and future coin price increases to cover the purchase and operating costs of the hardware. However, this is where the block schedule comes in. If we expect that thanks to the law of large numbers that one's return is on average the block reward times ones fraction of the network hashrate, it becomes clear that as the block reward falls it becomes very difficult for any purchased mining hardware to pay itself off let alone turn a profit especially as other miners purchase hardware to compete for the same block rewards thus driving up the hashrate.
On the block schedule
Looking at the Bitcoin block schedule, ASICs kinda make sense. The Bitcoin block schedule extends until 2140, at which time the "omega block" will be mined and the per block reward of Bitcoin mining will become zero. However until that time the per block reward will decrease 50% every four years. Today in 2014, the per block reward of Bitcoin is 25BTC and it won't change until 2017. That means that Bitcoin targeted ASICs can potentially run for three whole years or more and still have a reasonable chance of breaking even with no assuptions made about changes in the value of 1BTC.
Doge's block schedule looks completely different. Where Bitcoin has a long tail on its per block reward extending out to 2140, Dogecoin will reach it's minimum block reward at block 600,000 in January of 2015, less than 14 months after Dogecoin came into being. With the 3rd halvening about 11 days out and the 4th on the horizon, by the time big boy ASICs for Scrypt start shipping in Q3/Q4, being September and later, the per block reward of Doge will have fallen to 31.25KDOGE and below. Third generation ASICs slated for December and January will likely never see more than 15.625KDOGE/block.
On the price of Doge
So what does this mean for the price of Doge? If the price of Doge doesn't increase at all, it's clear that the expensive new ASICs will never break even. This suggests that late comers with high powered mining hardware will be looking to recoup their investments and asking higher and higher prices for their Doge which should drive up the price overall.
To put some numbers on this, at current prices and hashrate, accounting for halvenings, neither Gridseed ASIC even breaks even within 200 days if purchased within the next 48hrs. fn:1. Wait 30 days (after the comming halvening) and you don't come anywhere near break even. If I change my model to include some hashrate growth factor, the outlook is even worse. fn:2.
This isn't bad news. This is awesome news for the price of DOGE. Lets say that Gridseed ships oh 500 units of their big boy ASIC, which may be conservative. fn:3 That's right, if hardware equivalent to 1K large Gridseeds came on in the next 30 days and ran at least for 200, doge would have to go all the way up to 702DOGE/USD just for them to break even!
To the moon
So where does this leave us. I think that the numbers I've presented here show that ASICs for Dogecoin are patently absurd, unless you expect to see a gargantuan spike in the price of DOGE which would make us all rich men anyway. While I'm willing to speculate on block reward (which is easy to model) and on hashrate which I assume is more or less linear, I have no mechanism with which I can confidently predict the price of DOGE out more than a week. Naive linear projections from our initial open of 80 satoshi to today's 126 satoshi over the course of four months suggests that in 200 days we could well see the ~300 satoshi prices which would make Gridseed and other ASIC miners profitable. However once you account for the high volatility of Doge, of Bitcoin and general market manipulation who knows if it'd ever go that high stably.
So. To sum up. On the basis of these sketchy ROI numbers, I think that buying ASICs is probably ill advised. That said, I expect that people will buy ASICs and that in doing so they will drive up the price of DOGE at the same time as the supply of DOGE starts to dry up due to block reward decreases.
I will be interested to see what happens to DOGE mining in January, as we will be the first coin to reach their steady mining state. I hope that the 10,000 DOGE reward per block will be sufficient to support the ASIC and GPU mining required to keep our hashrate out of 51% threat, but only time will tell. There is a real threat that the ROI of mining will be too low to justify the purchase of new ASIC let alone GPU hardware, which would lead to a falling hashrate and a credible threat of 51% vulnerability. However we could also see prices to go to the moon in which case that is no worry as high efficiency ASIC farms would take over mining securing the coin's stability more or less. I will note that no coin has yet solved the 51% threat issues posed by centralized mining, and I'm personally convinced that it's an intractable problem because as rewards per block decrease as for bitcoin, the costs of mining operations must likewise fall leading to greater centralization of compute power. By fixing our block reward we may. may. be able to dodge (ha ha) this issue however the essential drive to cut mining prices for ROI maximization will remain and will continue to drive mining centralization.
With all this in mind, it's silly to talk about the adoption of X11 or another hashing algorithm, because if and when ASIC miners for DOGE become big business it'll already be too late and we will have already mined the vast majority of DOGE thus securing the distribution of DOGE away from the ASIC miners we seem to fear so much as a community. Making the switch to X11 simply delays the ASIC hardware which we want anyway due to the price increases it's likely to drive, forget about making us artificially dependent on GPU mining to secure our hashrate and creating an uncalled for blockchain fork.
TL;DR
  1. Stop worrying and love the ASICs, they won't make a ton of money and will secure our hashrate and by proxy our Doges!
  2. STFU about X11. It's even more ASIC friendly than Scrypt, and we gain nothing from another blockchain fork.
  3. Price projection: moon!
  4. Open issue: How do we limit mining centralization without increasing inflation? Are we already at a balance point?
MSC
The software I've built and used to make these models is entirely open source and written in Clojure, see the footnotes for source and libraries.
Other programs involved
https://www.refheap.com/78314
https://github.com/arrdem/meajure
Edit History
  1. Wording typo fixed
  2. Fix fn:2 to reflect increased network hashrate
  3. Don't bother asking me what I think the price of DOGE will be. Not the foggiest.
  4. Fix final block reward, 10k not 100k
  5. Fix omega block date for BTC, 2140 not 2024
submitted by Arrdem to dogecoin [link] [comments]

Help! I Lost faith in Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies in general , I am missing out on the recent bullrun , how can I ignore my (at this point ultra negative) opinions and thoughts on Bitcoin and CCs future and avoiding missing out in the future?

As the title mentions I lost faith in Bitcoin and CCs in general , I used to be a convinced holder (like -16% and still holding , that was the maximum paper loss I experienced IIRC) , in the space since late 2014 , I completely lost faith in BTC and CCs around late May for many reasons ; I had time to really think about the value proposition behind BTC , unfortunately I realized that there's none , in fact:
1) People don't use it , it's just speculation
2) The decentralized and censorship resistant meme is just that , China closed exchanges overnight in February , Bitfinex is still without a USD bank account , also the whole IRS/Coinbase saga demonstrated that regulators are looking at this and would crackdown the hard way if BTC becomes even remotely relevant (say total CCs market cap >100B for six months straight)
3) The whole idea of decentralization is flawed , 10,000+ years of data show us that humans need a social hierarchy and are only able to function in a social hierarchy , the goal should be to elevate oneself in said social hierarchy not destroy the fabric of society altogether using game theory , cryptography and math.
4) Real decentralization lies in intelligence (e.g as a person becomes wealthy , powerful and successful other people would get together to take them down and redistribute success/wealth/power - E.g. Einstein and Feyman dropped their work on the fabric of the Universe to take Hitler down)
5) Social groups thrive when they are able to identify free riders and punish them , BTC enables people to free ride and commit crimes which go unpunished as the authors remain anonymous
6) BTC and CCs lower the barrier to free riding (tax evasion) to the lowest common denominator , today the complexity of the tax code and international tax agreements only enable people with a high enough IQ to go through all the steps to either set up a company in some tax haven and get money out of jurisdictions via royalties/loans/intracompany invoicing....with bitcoin "everybody has a swiss bank account in their pockets" , THIS IS NOT DESIRABLE AS IF EVERYONE DODGES TAXES IT WOULD BE THE SAME AS EVERYONE PAYING IT , BARRIERS TO ENTRY ARE GOOD!
7) The whole ICO mania stands as a proof that idiots got in the space , people who buy BTC maybe haven't yet realized what I realized , but those who are buying into ICOs are basically idiots.
8) Capital allocation is important , banks are fundamental in our society , as masses are left without a guidance they end up effectively giving money to scammers without any due diligence (as the ICO phenomenon demonstrates) .
9) If I wanted to have a peek , (or anyone desired to have a peek) at what a future in which BTC becomes the world's currency looks like , I'd go to Venezuela , the country is basically up for grabs right now , and it would fall in the hands of the most capable , ruthless and risk taking individual , that's an anarchocapitalist's wet dream , right? Right now in Venezuela you only have a property as long as you can defend said property with guns against people who want to take it away from you , you also only have a wife as long as you can protect her against people who'd love to slash your throat and rape her as you're bleeding out on the floor
10) The community behind this so called cryptocurrency ridicules those who actually use it as a currency! Calling them dumb and shortsighted!
That being said I recognize that many people still might find themselves in a honeymoon phase with BTC like I was , problem being:
Once you see the flaws , the vulnerabilities and the logical fallacies behind BTC you cannot unsee it! I honestly think BTC price should be 0 but as we all know market can remain irrational more than one can remain solvent ; For the first time I missed out on a big price movement upwards and it FUCKING HURTS! How do you guys do? Do you all blindly believe in BTC or you use technical analysis? Also is technical analysis a valid tool when dealing with +-20% price swings? Also would you advise using TA , when one doesn't believe in the fundamentals behind the security/currency/commodity?
submitted by AjaxFC1900 to BitcoinMarkets [link] [comments]

[Table] IAmA: WeAreA videogame developer AUA!

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2014-03-04
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Questions Answers
GabeN, what are your specs? Well, I'm a handsome man with a charming personality.
How do you feel about the Internet's obsession with you? It's entertaining for my friends.
U/Gl0we asks: SteamOS could potentially be the first commercial Virtual Reality OS - what plans do you have for the future of the platform? How do you want to tackle the harder problems like user input for example? U/remosito asks: What VR experiences are you personally looking forward to the most for Year 1 and 5? Have you personally played the HLVR mod that expands Valve's current VR implementation for Half-Life 2 into a full-fledged experience with body tracking? See this article for a short example of the great work that Wormslayer and adoral84 are putting together with the community's help. Finally - and I guess you get that question a lot - I wanted to ask about the title that everyone is waiting for and that lends itself perfectly for a VR adaption, due to its way of storytelling, the open world as well as the puzzle elements: Ricochet 2. Did the long development time have anything to do with evolving technologies such as Virtual Reality? Are you planning to bring full VR support to future titles, such as Ricochet 2? 1) Abrash was thinking about it for a while, and started to get serious around 2 years ago. He thought that we'd reached the point where VR problems were getting tractable. 2) User input is hard. We haven't seen a solution yet to the problem. It's in the next round of problems to tackle. We need to start doing experience fragments to help drive this.
U/Pingly and druidsbane ask: The vast majority of demos for the Oculus Rift are done with Unity. Does Valve have any plans to turn Source or Source 2 into a more user-friendly development system with a C++ API as well as easy tools and release it early to give VR developers a headstart? 3) Alex Vlachos is working on this now (getting Source 2 working well with VR). Unity is pretty useful for lots of things as well.
Hey guys! Thanks for doing this AMA! What was the strangest/funniest thing you guys received in the mail? - What is your favorite cosmetic item from TF2? 4Chan sent us a crate and offered to sell us a key to open it. We sold it on craigslist.
Hi! First of all, thanks for bringing Steam on Linux. 1) Do you use Linux in your everyday life? If so, what is your distro of choice? 2) Do you think that in the long run Linux will not only be the future of gaming, but also the future of desktop? 3) Is Valve planning to release any exclusive for SteamOS? Thanks in advance for your time! 1) Debian. 2) Probably. 3) No.
What do you think of twitch plays Pokémon? Very cool. Can't wait for twitch plays Dota 2.
Are you aware that a Redditor has to eat a hat now because you're doing an AMA? Edit: Hat should have to be a fedora. Post pics or it didn't happen.
Hi, Gabe! I've got a question about Steam Music. Forgive me if this isn't your area, or whatever. Is it possible for some sort of integration with services like Pandora and Spotify, in the future? I don't have a music library, per se, and mostly just use internet radio, so it'd be great if I didn't have to alt tab to change stations or skip songs. Could this happen? Yes, we've got some things in the works that we think you'll like.
What improvements will we see out of the Source 2 engine? The biggest improvements will be in increasing productivity of content creation. That focus is driven by the importance we see UGC having going forward. A professional developer at Valve will put up with a lot of pain that won't work if users themselves have to create content.
Why did you choose "Valve" as the company name? Because it was better than "Rhino Scar"
Is there any specific reason why you're doing this AMA? To support the fund raising effort we are doing for Seattle Children's Hospital with the Heart of Racing effort.
Link to theheartofracing.org
What is your favorite non-Valve video game? Mario 64.
Link to i.imgur.com When is Ricochet 2? When we announced our products years in advance in the past and then were really late delivering them, it was pretty painful for both us and the community. We'd rather not repeat that.
Dear Gabe, I believe it was the year 2011. The event was Blizzcon in Anaheim, California. I met you, lone, in the lore area while you were browsing through your iPad. I came up and asked for a picture. You seemed particularly perturbed by my asking. But ever since that day, I have yet to shower. Your musk keeps me warm on a cold winter's eve. When is HL3 coming out? That's a long time not to shower.
Do you ever play games such as tf2 on a secret steam account? Yes.
You guys are my favorite!! How many hours a week would you say that you spend actually playing video games and whats your current favorite? Dota 2 and about 20 hours.
I am planning on majoring in Computer Science, and I want to someday work in game development. What do AAA companies look at, other than a degree? Past experiences, etc? We look for a history of shipping things. There is no substitute for shipping things that make your customers happy.
Hey Gabe. What is your stance on the current government issues both in America and Europe around privacy and internet rights? A couple of years ago I donated a million dollars to the ACLU.
Can we please get an update on when we are likely to see Counter Strike Global Offensive for Linux? It's being worked on but we don't have an ETA.
Seeing as you (valve) are now rolling out the steam OS and steam machines will be coming to market soon, what do you think your core target market is, the desktop, pc gamer, or the living room console player? We see Steam Machines (along with SteamOS and the Steam Controller) as a service update to Steam, porting the experience to a new room in the house. As we've been working on it, we've focused first on the customers who already love Steam and its games. They've told us they're tired of giving up all the stuff they love when they sit in the living room, so it seemed valuable to fix that.
Hey Gabe and friends! Thanks for doing this AMA! If Valve could borrow an IP from another company to make a game for it, what would you guys choose? Gabe: The Warriors Coomer: Groundhog Day, Heathers Wolpaw: God Hand, Saints Row Ido: Casablanca.
Has Dota 2's growth been unexpected? And where will TI4 be held? We knew there were a lot of people playing Dota 1, and quite a few of those people worked at Valve, so our hope was that we'd do a good enough job on it that those people would play Dota 2.
We haven't finalized where this year's International will be. We are pretty sure it will be at Key Arena in Seattle, but we haven't gotten everything finalized, and there is always a risk that our schedules and theirs won't align in some way. As soon as we get everything finalized one way or another, we'll get the dates out there for everyone who would like to attend. Should be fun this year.
Will Kaci return? Yes.
When did you start collecting knives, and which are your 2 favorite in your collection so far? Since I was a kid. There are lots of great knife makers working today. Two lesser known ones worth checking out are Kevin Cashen at cashenblades.com, and Elizabeth Loerchner at Link to ecloerchner.com
With the success of Dota2, and then with CS:GO, what do you think is the future for esports on the PC? Also, with micro transactions in the games helping fund prize pots for tournaments, when do you think we will see a tournament fully funded by micro-transactions? Giving the consumers of content a direct relationship with the creators of content is something we think about a lot. That is what drove our thinking about how the community could be more involved in the tournaments that mattered to them.
Hello! This question is directed to Eric Wolpaw. I'm sure you've had this questioned asked many times, and if that is the case I apologize for repeating the past, but I'm curious as to how the process of writing a game looks like? A brief summary perhaps. How many fresh pots of coffee per hour? Etc. Wolpaw: It's a lot of loose sketching at first, and then a lot of dot-connecting and backfilling as the game gets closer to being done. Lots of procrastinating, too. Lots.
Did you intentionally give 3:30 minutes notice of your canceled AMA on 3/3 just to torture us? No.
Have you ever found your interest in videogames waning as you've grown older, or do you continue to enjoy playing games as a hobby as much as you've ever done? It doesn't seem to be age dependent in my case.
What are your thoughts on Valve making new IP's? An IP is really a tool for a development team more than anything else. The key is to have clarity around what is uniquely of value in what you are trying to do and not waste your effort on things that don't directly contribute to that.
Are you able to go into any details as to why Valve's VR headset is "lightyears ahead of the original Oculus Dev Kit"? I'm not sure I'd agree with that. We are collaborating with them, and want their hardware to be great.
Question for Mr. Newell. Was there a point in your life when you considered selling/leaving Valve and get away from gaming industry to do something else? Not really. I really like the people I work with and being part of the community.
I have had the pleasure of being a part of the Steam community for over ten years. I joined when it all began in September 2003. Looking back to 2003, what were your (and Valves) goals and visions for Steam back then, and did it turn out as planned? Also, What is your vision for the Steam platform and PC gaming over the next ten years? I'm not trying to dodge the question, but we find it more useful to think in terms of feedback loops than in terms of visions/goals. Iterating with the community means that your near-term objectives change all the time. The key benefit to Steam is to shorten the length of the loop. Longer term, we see that working at the level of individual gamers, where we think of everyone as creating and publishing experience. "How can we make gamers more productive" sounds weird, but is an accurate way to characterize where we're going. It may make more sense if you think of it as "How can we make Dendi more entertaining to more people".
If there was enough community interest, would Valve accept crypto-currency such as dogecoin or bitcoin on Steam? There are two related issues: one is treating a crypto-currency as another currency type that we support and the broader issue is monetary behaviors of game economies. The first issue is more about crypto-currencies stabilizing as mediums of account.
You are officially on Forbes billionare's list,it must be satisfying to know that you have made that amount of money in your lifetime, but as many billionare's seem to be depressed (or mask it with something like an addiction) Are there any decisions you have regretted outside of your proffesional life? Opening any link sent to me by EJ.
Hello Gaben how hard was it to promote Steam in 2004? Any time you do something new, it can be challenging. There's basically a normal distribution of pain. With that proviso, it was pretty much in the middle of the pain curve.
Hello GabeN (if I may call you that), how are you doing? Here's my question: Before Steam Greenlight was introduced, what was the process of adding a game to the Steam store? We got bottle-necked pretty fast on tools and decision making which lead us to Greenlight, and is now leading us to make Steam a self-publishing system.
How old were you when you start programing? 13.
What was your first language? ALGOL.
Hey! We haven't heard any more about lower cost Steam Boxes for streaming from existing hardware. Is that something that's still on the agenda? Yes. We're making some progress.
Has the decision to allow publishers to have their own storefronts and manage their own "stock" gone forward, or was that just an idea being kicked around? We realized that a store ought to be UGC (not just for publishers).
Hi Gabe. No question, but its my birthday. If you wish me a happy birthday, my life will be complete. Happy birthday, Bajeezus.
Last updated: 2014-03-08 17:56 UTC
This post was generated by a robot! Send all complaints to epsy.
submitted by tabledresser to tabled [link] [comments]

What's the best question to ask Professor Mark Williams? (Professor Bitcorn as many of you know him)

I'm going to the MarketWatch Bitcoin: Boom and Bust event in NYC.
I don't know if it will happen, but I'm hoping they'll allow some audience questions to the panelists. If they don't, maybe I can harangue him briefly after the panel ends.
With that in mind, I'm hoping to get a chance to ask a question directed specifically at him. What is the best question to ask? I'm looking for something difficult to dodge, something direct, but that makes a clear point in the question. Any suggestions?
submitted by Kerrai to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

[Table] IAmA: Charles Stross, science fiction writer

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2012-07-02
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Link to my post
Questions Answers
Are you planning a kickstarter game like Neal Stephenson? If you did what would it be about? Reverse order: no, I'm not planning a kickstarter game. And I'm not really a game designer. (Writing novels takes up about 100% of my available working time.)
Fellow early adopter here. TI gave me a TIPC with a 1200 baud modem and sent me home. I tripped over the usenet and compuserve by accident. What happened to keep you off for 6 months?! Left university and got a job with a company who had no internet connection, back in the days when a 2400 baud UUCP dial-up cost £900 a year (or about a months' gross salary). Remedied this by changing jobs :)
Hallo Charles. I'm in the UK. I just wrote a book and (it looks like) a good publishing house are going to pick it up. It is sort of sci-fi. For starters, there's a long-standing (50 year old) flame war within the field over whether it's "sci-fi" or "SF".
My question: all agents I've spoken to think that while selling a book to publishers it's best to avoid using the term "sci-fi" if possible. Ideally they want to sneak sci-fi stuff in, "under the radar", so it can get the sort of backing that only a big publisher can provide. Secondly, all these labels boil down to is a bunch of marketing categories that tell bookshop staff where to file the product (which they don't know from a hole in the road) on the shelves where customers can find it. SF has traditionally been looked down on by the literary establishment because, to be honest, much early SF was execrably badly written -- but these days the significance of the pigeon hole is fading; we have serious mainstream authors writing stuff that is I-can't-believe-it's-not-SF, and SF authors breaking into the mainstream. If you view them as tags that point to shelves in bricks-and-mortar bookshops, how long are these genre categories going to survive in the age of the internet?
How do you feel about this? Cheers. Note: this skepticism breaks down in the face of, for example, the German publishing sector, where booksellers are a lot stuffier and more hidebound over what is or is not acceptable as literature.
Could you give an example or two of large British publishers that you think are doing a good job in this respect? Ignoring genre barriers, taking risks etc? AhahahaHA!!
Sorry, no I can't. But not for the reason you think. Thing is, my agent is based in New York. And due to a historic accident, my publishing track is primarily American -- I'm sold into the UK almost as a foreign import! So I'm quite out of touch with what's going on in UK publishing. (Even my Kindle is geared to the US store.)
Did you end up with an American agent because all the British agents passed on you? Or did you actually want to do things that way? A bit of both. I wanted an agent who would actually sell stuff. After two British agents failed comprehensively, I was reading Locus (the SF field's trade journal) and noticed a press release about an experienced editor leaving her job to join an agent in setting up a new agency. And I went "aha!" -- because what you need is an agent who knows the industry but who doesn't have a huge list of famous clients whose needs will inevitably be put ahead of you. So I emailed her, and ... well, 11 years later I am the client listed at the top of her masthead!
One last question (if you can be arsed). When you look at the publishing process (particularly the point at which agents have to sell books) what do you think needs to be fixed/tinkered with? Are editors too short-sighted? In your experience is their predilection for putting things in boxes limiting? Biggest message: find your customers and sell them what they want to buy. DRM is bad for business. Territorial rights restrictions are bad for business. Amazon are utterly hateful and evil -- they will kill you and establish a monopoly if they can -- but their one redeeming feature is that they're good to customers: so learn from them.
Basically if you could sit all the big editors down and briefly lecture them on doing their job what would you say? Thanks Charles. It's not the editors I'd lecture, but the senior executives who give the publishing CEOs their marching orders (editors are a level below that). All the editors I deal with are extremely smart, clueful folks who are often frustrated by corporate policies -- because the publishing houses are divisions within large media conglomerates, and they're small, low-profit subsidiaries at that (and so don't get much say in group-wide policy).
Have you considered selling books via Baen? They seem to have the right idea, and you're in the right genre. Link to www.baen.com. Not up to me, up to my publishers.
For someone who is unfamiliar with your work, what book would you suggest as a good starting point (if it's available for Kindle, I will get it as soon as I see your answer)? Any plans to follow in L. Ron's footsteps and start a religion? I'm an atheist (subtype: generally agree with Richard Dawkins but think he could be slightly more polite; special twist: I was raised in British reform Judaism, which is not like American reform Judaism, much less any other strain of organised religion). So: no cults here. Starting points: for a sampler, you could try my short story collection "Wireless". Which contains one novella that scooped a Locus award, and one that won a Hugo, and covers a range of different styles.
Thank you so much for releasing Accelerando as a freebie! I'd just picked up Stanza on my iPhone and was going through the free Sci Fi (or SF) books. That ebook got me hooked, so was a pretty savvy marketing move. Book depository is nothing new; there've been outlets selling books internationally via mail order for many decades -- the only change is that it's now easier to find and use such services.
So, is there an official term for "Polite Atheist"? Someone who doesn't believe, yet isn't offensive about it? I'm not sure. The trouble is, if you go too far towards being polite, the label that applies is "doormat".
Hi! Would you consider Halting State and Rule 34 Cyberpunk? I was heavily reminded of Neal Stephensons early books (the craziness of Snow Crash mixed with more current-day themes like Cryptonomicon). "Halting State" and "Rule 34" are cyberpunk only insofar as we are living in a 1980s cyberpunk dystopia, and these are very much novels of our time (plus 10-20 years). What I've learned during my life is that the near future is 90% identical to the present -- if you buy a new car today, it'll probably still be on the road in 2022. Another 9% is predictable from existing tech roadmaps: Intel's projected roadmap for where their processors are going, SpaceX's order book for satellite launches, and so on. And 1% is totally bugfuck crazy and impossible to predict. (Go back to 1982 and the idea that the USSR would have collapsed and been replaced by hyper-capitalist oligarchs would have earned you a straitjacket, never mind a book contract. Go back to 1992 and the idea that the USA and Iran would be fighting a proxy war on the internet would have ... well, ditto.)
While I love the Laundry books I consider A Colder War one of your best works, is there a chance that we will get another 'serious' story with Lovecraftian themes? Lovecraftian seriousness: well, book 5 or 6 of the Laundry series is due to get epically grim.
Case Nightmare Green? Yup.
It's always interesting to learn how different authors approach their craft. What's your "ritual" when writing? TL;DR: I don't have one.
Longer version ... (I want to apologize for keeping this short: I have carpal tunnel issues so I might have to switch to speech recognition soon) ...
I write exclusively using computers. Pens and typewriters can fsck right off -- I wrote my first half million words in my teens on a manual typewriter (had to trade it for a new one due to keys snapping from metal fatigue) so I am not a pen or typewriter fetishist.
I write almost entlirely on Macs, because: Windows gives me hives. (I first ran into Windows as of Win 2.11/386, back in the eighties. It did not leave a good taste. I then became a happy UNIX bunny. Mac OSX is the last UNIX workstation class OS standing. So I've learned to put up with its other foibles.)
I have no set writing routine other than: plant bum in chair in front of keyboard/on sofa under laptop, and start going. Oh, and I drink tea pretty much continuously at a rate of around 1 imperial pint/hour, which sort of enforces screen/keyboard breaks.
(I want to apologize for keeping this short: I have carpal tunnel issues so I might have to switch to speech recognition soon) I write exclusively using computers. Does this mean you use speech recognition while writing too? or have you been writing before the AMA and you're at your fatigue point? Speech recognition is utterly crap for writing fiction. If you try reading a novel aloud you'll soon figure out why -- written prose style is utterly unlike the spoken word.
Why Mac rather than Linux? (Esp. considering your background, e.g. Computer Shopper etc.) Excellent design values. ("Why drive a Porsche if you could drive a backhoe? The backhoe's got more torque and you can do cool things with it like digging holes in the road!" "Yes, but the backhoe isn't a Porsche ...")
It gets out of my way and lets me get stuff done. Seriously, Windows seems designed to make easy tasks hard and hard tasks impossible; Linux would be fine if it came pre-tuned to the hardware, but I've got a long term 30% failure rate getting any given laptop to run it properly with full device support -- I can do without the choice between badly designed, bulky, inconvenient machines that work with Linux, and taking pot luck that the latest well-designed sleek ultrabook will actually, um, boot.
TL:DR; I've reached an age at which I'd rather pay more for something that "just works" than roll up my sleeves, reach for a spanner, and make it work. Time is money, and the older we get the less of it we've got left ...
It's said that people have to write a million words of crap before they can rite good stuff. True, in your opinion? No. I wrote two million words of crap. Maybe I'm just a slow learner ...
Do you just put up with the carpal tunnel when writing? Up to a point. I don't want to permanently damage myself! On the other hand, a couple of days off the keyboard tends to make things somewhat better.
What are your views about people pirating your books? Back before the internet we had a name for people who bought a single copy of our books and lent them to all their friends without charging: we called them "librarians". Frankly, I couldn't care less about you loaning a copy of one of my books, on paper, to a friend. In fact, I think it's a good idea. Spreads the word, right? What I do have a problem with is people who sell my work for financial gain without paying me a cut of the proceeds. If money is passing hands, then the customer feels that they've paid for the right to read the work. But if they haven't paid me (or my publishers), then that's siphoning money out of my income stream. Today, we see some "file sharing" sites that rely on fans uploading cracked copies of ebooks, and which then make money off those books by charging for downloads (via cash subscriptions or advertising). Again: I take a dim view of this. They're making money off the back of my work without paying me.
2: Mr. Stross answered this question in far more detail while I was typing the above edit. Thank you! [Edit/afterthought] More often than not, piracy is a symptom of an under-provisioned market. People want to buy mp3s but can't? Piracy ensues. Then Apple strong-arms the music studios into the iTunes store and music piracy drops somewhat. The same, I believe, is also happening with ebooks.
Do you make a point of turning unpromising-sounding premises into something really extra-ordinary? Or are the back-of-book blurbs just over-simplifying? The back-of-book blurb is not written by the author (any more than the author paints the cover illustration). The sole job of the back-of-book blurb and the cover is to make a reader who is unfamiliar with the author or the book pick the product up in a store, because retail psychology studies show that consumers who handle the merchandise are more likely to buy it.
Hi Charlie! I've read much of what you've written, and I just have to say that you have a creativity rarely matched in SF - please keep it up. That said, what gadget do you think is going to have the greatest impact on the way we live in the next few coming years? Something like the Google glasses? Ultra-low power consumption ubiquitous embedded processors powered by ambient light or EM radiation are going to do insane things to our cities in the next 15-30 years -- far more significant than google glasses, which are just a slightly different UI (you can do much the same stuff already using a smartphone with motion/orientation/positioning sensors) ...
The radical transparency surveillance state that Brin predicted, open to all? Or data inequality leveraged by the HFT engines of the rich corporations to give them the edge to make a buck of it? Now add ambient genome sensing -- not human genomes, but the microbiome soup we live in (remember, sequencer costs are currently obeying Moore's Law) and start wondering where it's all going!
Been a fan for a long time. Got hooked via Accelerando (which I understand is something of an old shame at this point?), and stayed hooked via Halting State and the Laundry Files. Thanks for the AMA. :D. It's not an old shame, it's simply that I wrote it circa 1998-2004, and my views have changed somewhat over the intervening decade ...
Can you please expand on that? In what way did your views change? Accelerando is one of my all time favourites. Sure. See: Link to www.antipope.org
Link to www.amazon.com
Progress always get met with "but consider the ethics..". OK, let me ask you this: if you have a no-shit AI in a box, and it's running, when you switch it off/reboot it/reformat it/send it to the scrap heap, are you murdering a sentient being? Yes/No? Please justify your reasoning.
Now consider: your no-shit AI is the adversary in a computer game environment. What happens when you kill it (in-game)? What happens when you get tired of the game and delete it?
Hint: some fun background reading would be Ted Chiang's "The Lifecycle of Software Objects".
Have you ever used unused (or used) ideas from your D&D days in your stories, or vice versa? No. My D&D days are 30 years gone; it'd be a rare idea to survive from that long ago.
If you could meet any dead science fiction author for a day, who would you meet and what would you do? Roger Zelazny. And probably a pub crawl then a curry.
How hard was it for you to break into the US market? If I'd known how easy it would be, I'd have done it earlier!
If you could choose between The Merchant Princes becoming a video game, a movie series, a TV series, and a limited HBO TV series, what format would you choose? Who would you pick for a director and some of the leads? Would you want to do the screenplay yourself? None of those are media formats I consume, so I have no opinion on the options. (Nor do I have any idea who the currently interesting directors or actors are.) If I wanted to be in movies, I'd have gone into scriptwriting: the fact that I write novels should be a big hint about what I prefer to do!
(Final Q: I dislike Dr Who and Star Trek, so I shan't comment further.)
"I dislike Dr. Who and Star Trek..." This is like finding out your dad really can't beat up everyone else's dad. They've achieved cult following through character development, but as SF they both have gigantic structural flaws at the plot and tech level; great gaping internal inconsistencies! (Although I'm kind of fond of the meta-theory that explains Star Trek as being propaganda intended for external consumption by the Federation, which is actually the Soviet Union in Space in the 24th century.)
Next you will tell me Nutella doesn't really taste good. Damn you Charles Stross! Damn you to hell! I will still read your books, but I will do so with a smug expression of annoyance ;) Nutella is okay, but Marmite rocks as a sandwich topping!
You must try Vegemite. I like vegemite too.
(Alas - this may be TMI - I have a mild yeast intolerance; if I consume too much wheat beer or marmite or vegemite and my next morning will be exceedingly interesting, in a most unpleasant way.)
I saw that you started writing at the age of 15, novels at that. I'm a younger person myself, and for me and the rest of novel-aspiring-youth, what do you have to tell? Tips, motivation, etc.? Write. Every day, if possible.
Finish stuff.
Send it out, and when it comes back, send it out again.
Step 3 may be a bit premature if you're thinking about professional publication, but at the very least: workshop with other writers, learn to critique their work, learn to understand and listen to their criticism of your work, then apply the skills you learned dissecting other folks' writing to your own stuff.
Do you ever read something someone else has written and think "damn, now I cant do that". Who do you read? (if you have time) Yes, I sometimes get the "Damn, too late, [X] got there first" idea. But seriously? I have time to write 1-2 novels per year, and get roughly novel-sized ideas every month. I have to perform triage on my own writing impulses. So it's usually quite easy to shrug and write something else instead.
What I read: while I'm writing, I tend to go off reading fiction for relaxation -- especially the challenging stuff. It's too much like the day job. When I do get to chow down on a book, I try to read ones that are nothing like what I'm writing. So, as I'm currently working on a space opera (of sorts) I'm mostly indulging in urban fantasy.
Wow, I didn't realise the ideas flew in so fast. Is it morbid to ask if you worry about getting it all written before you die? (Im thinking of Terry Pratchett here...) Yes, I worry about that. I'm 47. I reckon I can count on 30 more writing years, averaging a book a year (I can't keep up the 2-2.5 a year I used to do these days). And these days I've gotten round to wondering, for each new idea, "do I want to be remembered for this?" before I get to the point of spending a year on it.
Asimov or Clarke? Neither, although I'm marginally less averse to Clarke's style.
Out of curiosity, what about Heinlein? (As a writer, at least - let's leave politics aside for the moment.) I have written a Heinlein tribute novel.
In general, who in sci-fi/SF inspired you, and/or inspires you now? (Unfortunately, while most authors who do that -- Scalzi, Varley, Robinson, et al -- pick Heinlein juveniles, I went for a dirty old man Heinlein tribute novel. Hence "Saturn's Children" and a novel that hinges on the word spung!).
Have you ever been afraid to actually publish a book for fear of what your fans may think? And how do you deal with writers block, or just actually getting the damn thing started? And lastly, do you read books that aren't in your current genre? And if so, what's your favorite? Publishing is the final step in making a book; if I was afraid to publish one, I wouldn't write it in the first place. (But in general, a little controversy isn't harmful: if anything, it gets people interested. I don't think most of my opinions, political or social, are so far outside of the mainstream that they'd cause massive outrage on a scale liable to provoke death threats or referrals to prosecutors for outraging public decency, so why worry?)
Writers block: when I get it, it's because my subconscious spotted that I'd make a huge structural mistake in constructing a novel before my conscious mind became aware of it, and threw on the brakes. So I've learned not to sweat it: take two days off, then back up a chapter, read through, and try to work out why I'm suddenly uneasy about continuing.
While writing a novel I almost completely stop reading books in the same sub-genre for the duration.
Hi there, funnily enough i just finished the Atrocity Archives, which i bought because i bought the Laundry RPG a while back. Awesome book. Loved it. Can't wait to run the game. So do you play Call of Cthulhu or the Laundry at all? Or are you just into the writing side? Strictly writing side. I was heavily into AD&D in my teens (late 1970s-early 1980s) but fell off the RPG habit in the mid-80s and have never gone back to it; my lifestyle today isn't very compatible with having a regular gaming group (too much travel).
Which do you enjoy writing more; the Laundry series or harder scifi like Glasshouse and Accelerando? That's a very hard question.
If I write too much of anything for too long, I burn out on it. So it helps to vary my output from year to year. That's partly why the Laundry books are coming out at 2-5 year intervals rather than every 12 months.
As someone who grew up reading Ian Fleming and HP Lovecraft, I think they're well worth the wait! (Just pre-ordered the latest iteration) Also, do you find it difficult to write your more abstract stories like Accelerando? I tried to explain it to a friend once, but failed miserably. Accelerando was murder. It took me more than five years, in the shape of nine stories. One of which (#5) was so difficult that by way of finding an excuse to dodge having to work on it I accidentally barfed up the first two volumes of the Merchant Princes series.
I am a huge fan of yours. Three of my favorite short stories are Missile Gap, A Colder War, and Unwirer. Well, I guess I just really love the whole "Wireless" collection. What inspired you to cross Lovecraft with The Cold War? Fear of nuclear annihilation. I'm a child of the cold war: I didn't live more than 10 miles from a major WarPac nuclear target until the Berlin Wall came down and the CW ended. Knowing you can die horribly at any moment because of decisions made by alien intelligences thousands of miles away who don't even know you exist -- there's something Lovecraftian about that, isn't there?
At what age did you start writing novels? I began my first novel when I was 15. It went through three drafts, of around 40,000 words each. If I find it, I'll burn it. (If you read it, you'd thank me :)
Hahahha I'm 15 now. Every time when i have to do an assignment for school, i don't really know how to start, could you give me some advice, please? Nope. Because I'm nearly a third of a century older than you, and any advice I could give you about school assignments would be slightly out of date ...!
The modern solution is to just wikiwalk until inspired. Or tropeswalk! Actually, no, don't do that. You'll get sucked into TVTropes and suddenly notice that the sun's peeking through your window, you're knee-deep in villain archetypes, and the assignment's due in three hours. Your warning comes too late. Actually, I was semi-immunized to TVTropes by being sent a copy of the Turkey City Lexicon by Bruce Sterling at an impressionable age: Link to www.sfwa.org
What do you think of TV Tropes, in general? Like all good things, it's possible to overdose on it.
But for someone who is starting out on developing their critical skills, just being aware of its existence is great: it can make the difference between trying to write a story around a cliche or an original idea, and better still, studying it can eventually clue you in on how to breathe new life into tired tropes.
One of the things that I liked about Halting State and Rule 34 was that they are set in a plausible near future where technology has made individuals much more productive than people from 50+ years ago. Given that with technological assistance one worker can now supervise many machines working to produce goods do you think that there will be a resurgence of a leisure class in the first world? Do you think that we are getting to the point where instead of overpaying people to do manual factory work there is room for another model that still resembles modern life? I have no answer to this question. Keynes asked it more than fifty years ago; something has clearly gone wrong, given that the folks with jobs seem to work endless hours while many people can't get a job at all.
Nice to see a bit of social marketing, it will be interesting to hear how it compares to the publishers' marketdroid efforts in terms of sales (if you can tease out the stats). Now the important question, favourite beer? My regular session beer is Deuchars IPA (Link to www.caledonianbeer.com) It's not an American-style bitterness wars IPA; it's a light, Scottish ale with just enough hops to tell you what it is, and it's weak enough that you can keep drinking it continuously for hours without any risk of waking up in a puddle with KICK ME tattooed on your bum.
Any other writing aids? Link to www.antipope.org
What's your policy/opinion on adverbs? I ask because guys like Stephen King encourage writers to murder every adverb before it ever hits the page, whereas guys like William Gibson (my favorite author) use them liberally. I have no policy, for or against: only a personal style. (Which is to say, I use them when I think it's appropriate to; for example, an internal monologue by a locquacious and verbose narrator is more likely to be larded with adverbs than an exchange of instant messages between cops at a crime scene.)
I'm a new but big fan. The first book of yours that I read only a few months ago was Accelerando and it absolutely blew my mind! Not only that but it made me very excited for the near future, I see Google Glasses as being a very exciting tech that leads into your vision. Bitcoin: probably not, but it's intriguing enough to be at the root of an entire interstellar finance system in "Neptune's Brood" (due next July, 2013).
PS I'm really looking forward to seeing you when you come to Perth West Aus next year. Maybe I can buy you a beer! Perth, beer? Sure!
Bitcoins as... urrrrgh. Okay. I'll have to read that, then. Hope you got the failure conditions right! I hybridised it with Chaum's digicash. With the added twist that participants in exchanges had to be in different solar systems. It's called "slow money" for a reason ...
How do you make sure you aren't "inadvertently plagiarizing?" I think up ideas a lot but am sure they have already been done somewhere or that I am ripping something off I have read and cannot recall specifically. Original creativity seems difficult. First: plagiarism requires you to copy someone else's words. You can avoid this by, er, not copying! Writing your own story around the same ideas is not plagiarism; at worst, it's being unoriginal.
thanks for the books...I love science fiction and appreciate the work that goes into putting out novels to entertain us. Having said that, you're right: coming up with truly new ideas is hard. But I've got a method: I look for a couple of obvious ideas that have been done before (try: folks who can travel at will to parallel universes; in their home world they're the aristocracy, because: magic powers) and then look for the second-order side effects: stuff that other authors didn't dig into (for example: wrt. the previous idea, what are the consequences of these folks' ability for the ongoing economic and political development of their world? Can it have negative consequences? If so, what are they?)
How long did it take you to become comfortable writing in the second person? I finished reading Rule 34 and it was the first novel* i had read in this style. It took me about a hundred pages of "Halting State" to get the hang of it, and another hundred pages to feel comfortable. I also needed a reason to start doing it (2nd person is the natural voice of the text adventure game -- "you are in a maze of twisty passages, all alike").
A trilogy? Does this mean that a third book is on contract, or that you just have it kicking around in your head? EDIT: Nevermind, you answered this already. Looking forward to it! "The Lambda Functionary" is on contract for delivery on July 1st, 2013 and publication around July 3rd, 2014. And I haven't even begun writing it yet. Ulp.
Connected intelligence (as in, human intelligence augmented by online sources) seems to be on the perpetual 'five years out' list - do you think projects like Google Glass will finally make this a reality? What sort of timescale would you envisage for mass-adoption? (crosses fingures for a 'yes') Hmm ... what's wrong with a smartphone with always-on 3G or 4G data and google/wikipedia? Doesn't that qualify?
How much pre-planning would you say that you do before starting on a new book? Or do you subscribe more to the "Let's just start writing and see where it takes us" camp? Both :)
No two books come out the same way. Some I write by the seat of my pants; others are planned in minute detail.
The one thing that does happen, every time, though, is that I never get to write a book until I've already been thinking about it for a period of months to years. Unless it's "Glasshouse" (time from initial idea to starting writing: 9 days).
Rule 34 was one of my favorite reads last year, but I found the title to be a bit of a red herring since (without spoilers) neither memes nor porn ended being a big part of the story's resolution (other than the department Kavanaugh is in when she started). Was that intentional? What is ATHENA if not a meme with legs? (The relative lack of porn I'll grant you ...) Link to www.antipope.org
Hi Charles, I'm Chinese and I live in Asia and most of the sci fi actually comes from the west. Is this due to cultural reasons, literacy or how technology/future seems to resonate more if written from a western perspective? Also, how can one become a successful sci fi/fantasy writer outside of Europe/America? I have no idea, frankly ...
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Bitcoin: The Future of Digital Currency Financial Systems ... CoinSummit London 2014 - The future of Bitcoin Storage The Future of BitCoin The Future of Bitcoin  The Future of Bitcoin and Math-Based Digital Currencies ...

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