Strange things tend to happen with this online medium. Looking around today and following up to see if Jack L. Chalker had released anything new(ish) prior to his untimely demise I noticed that his website hadn’t been updated or even kept running smoothly after his departure.
How I found out about his bout of heart troubles and unfortunate end is also a bit odd. It was in the forward to a book on programming AJAX, one written by someone apparently influenced by the accomplished Science Fiction writer, teacher, and from all accounts good guy. But I digress.
One of the stranger things about all of this is that writings online tend to collect up like so much electronic floatsom washing up on the shore. Even if they’re not officially run by anyone sites stay up long after their authors slip the mortal coil.
Writings on forums get cataloged forever.
With all it’s various archives no antagonistic Usenet statement about someones affiliation with fascism or resemblance to mustached dictators will ever be lost. Just forgotten.
Postings about Usenet I find particularly funny, as they’re always written in the present tense. The reason that’s funny, for those of you who don’t use, don’t know about, and have no inclination of ever using Usenet news forums is that they’re all dated circa the late nineties.
And always proclaim that their subject matter, alt.fiction.literature or whatever, is still a vibrant community of writers that’s just waiting for you to drop in. There’s still people loitering on Usenet mind, it just hasn’t scaled. In fact, it appears to have shrunk quite a bit since the endless deluge of AOL users back when (see Eternal September on wikipedia).
Speaking of which the font of Cyber Punk genre fiction at the Tea Bowl mirror being maintained by Joel Benford. Ken Stone seems to have disappeared, washed under the tide of data. Or maybe just forgotten by Google. He ran Anime.net back at the dawn of time.
I’ll mirror it once again when Villa-Straylight is back online or Doombook’s main page gets cleaned up. Just to keep it from getting too dusty.
Because that’s all that happens. For a medium with such a short shelf life on “new” content it’s funny how things are starting to disappear less as the network spreads out. Although it’s freaky to see someone’s last writings lingering around with no tidy closing notice put on them.