Saturday, June 23, 2007 to remove its fiction archive

I'm not a big fan of reading fiction online, but sometimes that's the only avenue available, especially for "niche" categories like sci-fi.

So, I'm sad that is nuking its fiction archive, as reported by Boing Boing. The reasons cited being rights issues, and low traffic.

Among the notable stories in the archive is "The Ugly Chickens" by Howard Waldrop, which is one of my favorite stories, and where the name of this blog comes from. Incidentally, the story won a Nebula award for best novelette in 1980, and also a World Fantasy Award for Short Fiction in 1981.'s archive is about the only website that is (was?) legally hosting a copy of the story. The story is still accessible as I write this (June 23), but may not be for long.

Most of Howard's stuff is out of print, and in fact, you can only get "The Ugly Chickens" in print if you buy Waldrop's short story collections, such as "Things Will Never Be the Same: A Howard Waldrop Reader" (2007) or "Howard Who?" which came out last year, and which itself is a reprint of a 1986 title. Try this Amazon search for Howard Waldrop books

Now I own a copy of "Howard Who?", plus I even have "The Ugly Chickens" in another short story collection. But I still snuck a peek at's page, so I must be one of the people they logged. In hindsight, maybe I should have visited a couple hundred times more ;-)

So, read it while it's still available online, "The Ugly Chickens" by Howard Waldrop.

You might also want to view the Howard Waldrop entry on Wikipedia.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Proton: Let it die

The former PM's pet project, which was already unravelling even during his tenure, has now completely transformed into a black hole for taxpayer's money.

Even if Proton could magically produce better cars tomorrow, who in their right mind would buy a car from a dying company? And yes, a RM591mil loss for FY07, and declining profits since 2003 certainly qualifies as "dying".

For that matter, which well-run, profitable car company would want to partner with someone like Proton, which is bleeding cash, is poorly managed, and has too many workers?

Let's drop any pretence of being a "car-manufacturing country", and just let Proton die, as it seems very intent to do so.

The govt should remove the trade barriers to foreign cars, and stop paying out subsidies and bailout money to Proton.

The money should instead be spend on proven economic drivers such as roads and highways, telecoms infrastructure, public transportation, and education.

Consumers: Vote with your wallet and do not support this embarrassment to Malaysia. Don't buy a Proton car. Don't mistake "wasting money" for "patriotism".