Pluralistic: A year in illustration, 2023 edition (21 Dec 2023)

Today's links

A one-bit MacPaint tool palette, blown up.

A year in illustration, 2023 edition (permalink)

I am objectively very bad at visual art. I am bad at vision, period – I'm astigmatic, shortsighted, color blind, and often miss visual details others see. I can't even draw a stick-figure. To top things off, I have cataracts in both eyes and my book publishing/touring schedule is so intense that I keep having to reschedule the surgeries. But despite my vast visual deficits, I thoroughly enjoy making collages for this blog.

For many years now – decades – I've been illustrating my blog posts by mixing public domain and Creative Commons art with work that I can make a good fair use case for. As bad as art as I may be, all this practice has paid off. Call it unseemly, but I think I'm turning out some terrific illustrations – not all the time, but often enough.

Last year, I rounded up my best art of the year:

And I liked reflecting on the year's art so much, I decided I'd do it again. Be sure to scroll to the bottom for some downloadables – freely usable images that I painstakingly cut up with the lasso tool in The Gimp.

A remixed version of David Trampier's 'Eye of Moloch,' the cover of the first edition of the AD&D Player's Handbook. It has been altered so the title reads 'Advanced Copyright Fuckery. Unclear on the Concept. That's Just Not How Licenses Work. No, Seriously.' The eyes of the idol have been replaced by D20s displaying a critical fail '1.' Its chest bears another D20 whose showing face is a copyright symbol.

The original AD&D hardcover cover art is seared into my psyche. For several years, there were few images I looked at so closely as these. When Hasbro pulled some world-beatingly sleazy stuff with the Open Gaming License, I knew just how to mod Dave Trampier's 'Eve Of Moloch' from the cover of the Players' Handbook. Thankfully, bigger nerds than me have identified all the fonts in the image, making the remix a doddle.

Hansel and Gretel in front of the witch's candy house. Hansel and Gretel have been replaced with line-drawings of influencers, taking selfies of themselves with the candy house. In front of the candy house stands a portly man in a business suit; his head is a sack of money with a dollar-sign on it. He wears a crooked witch's hat. The cottage has the Tiktok logo on it.

Even though I don't keep logs or collect any analytics, I can say with confidence that "Tiktok's Enshittification" was the most popular thing I published on Pluralistic this year. I mixed some public domain Brother's Grimm art, mixed with a classic caricature of Boss Tweed, and some very cheesy royalty-free/open access influencer graphics. One gingerbread cottage social media trap, coming up:

A pair of legs and feet traversing a plank, high over a city street. The street below has a hypnotic spiral. The feet are blurred. The plank has a subtle “Matrix Waterfall” effect worked into its grain. The end of the plank fades into nothingness.

To illustrate the idea of overcoming walking-the-plank fear (as a metaphor for writing when it feels like you suck) I mixed public domain stock of a plank, a high building and legs, along with a procedurally generated Matrix "code waterfall" and a vertiginous spiral ganked from a Heinz Bunse photo of a German office lobby.

A picture of a white-out dust storm at Burning Man. A giant tulip rises out of the dust. Its petals are suggestive of a vulva. A giant bottle of Johnson and Johnson baby powder enters the frame from the top right corner.

Finding a tasteful way to illustrate a story about Johnson & Johnson losing a court case after it spent a generation tricking women into dusting their vulvas with asbestos-tainted talcum was a challenge. The tulip (featured in many public domain images) was a natural starting point. I mixed it with Jesse Wagstaff's image of a Burning Man dust-storm and Mike Mozart's shelf-shot of a J&J talcum bottle.

Tweedledee and Tweedledum, standing at the bottom of Humpty Dumpty's wall. Dee and Dum have the logos for Google and Bing on their chests. Humpty is about to fall and is being held up by a motley collection of panicking businessmen.

"Google's Chatbot Panic" is about Google's long history of being stampeded into doing stupid things because its competitors are doing them. Once it was Yahoo, now it's Bing. Tenniel's Tweedle Dee and Dum were a good starting point. I mixed in one of several Humpty Dumpty editorial cartoon images from 19th century political coverage that I painstakingly cut out with the lasso tool on a long plane-ride. This is one of my favorite Humpties, I just love the little 19th C businessmen trying to keep him from falling! I finished it off with HAL 9000's glowing red eye, my standard 'this is about AI' image, which I got from Cryteria's CC-licensed SVG.

A woodcut of a weaver’s loft, where a woman works at a hand-loom. Out of the window opposite her looms the glowing, menacing red eye of HAL 9000 from Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.’ On the wall behind her is the poster from Magpie Killjoy’s ‘Steampunk Magazine’ that reads, ‘Love the machine, hate the factory.’

Though I started writing about Luddites in my January, 2022 Locus column, 2023 was the Year of the Luddite, thanks to Brian Merchant's outstanding Blood In the Machine:

When it came time to illustrate "Gig Work Is the Opposite of Steampunk," I found a public domain weaver's loft, and put one of Cryteria's HAL9000 eyes in the window. Magpie Killjoy's Steampunk Magazine poster, 'Love the Machine, Hate the Factory,' completed the look.

A vast castle surrounded by a stately brick wall bearing an ornate gilt-framed sign reading 'Small, non-profit school,' in gothic lettering. Atop the wall is a caricature of Humpty Dumpty, looking distressed. He has a SVB logo over his chest. He is being restrained by tiny, top-hatted bankers.

For the "small, non-profit school" that got used as an excuse to bail out Silicon Valley Bank, I brought back Humpty Dumpty, mixing him with a Hogwartsian castle, a brick wall texture, and an ornate, gilded frame. I love how this one came out. This Humpty was made for the SVB bailout.

A modified vintage editorial cartoon. Uncle Sam peeks out over a 'frowning battlement' whose cannon-slots are filled with telescopes from which peer the red glaring eyes of HAL 9000 from '2001: A Space Odyssey.' Topping the battlements in a row are Uncle Sam and three business-suited figures with dollar-sign-bags for heads. The three dollar-bag men have corporate logos on their breasts: Facebook, Google, Apple. Standing on the strand below the battlements, peering up, is a forlorn figure with a Tiktok logo for a head. The fortress wall bears the words 'RESTRICT Act.'

The RESTRICT Act would have federally banned Tiktok – a proposal that was both technically unworkable and unconstitutional. I found an early 20th century editorial cartoon depicting Uncle Sam behind a fortress wall that was keeping a downtrodden refugee family out of America. I got rid of most of the family, giving the dad a Tiktok logo head, and I put Cryteria's HAL9000 eyes over each cannonmouth. Three Boss Tweed moneybag-head caricatures, adorned with Big Tech logos, rounded it out.

John Milton's 'Fall of Lucifer,' modified so that God's light emanating from heaven is coming out of the Flickr blue-and-red-balls logo.

When Flickr took decisive action to purge the copyleft trolls who'd been abusing its platform, I knew I wanted to illustrate this with Lucifer being cast out of heaven, and the very best one of those comes from John Milton, who is conveniently well in the public domain. The Flickr logo suggested a bicolored streaming-light-of-heaven motif that just made it.

A disembodied hand, floating in space. It holds a Univac mainframe computer. The computer is shooting some kind of glowing red rays that are zapping three US Capitol Buildings, suspended on hovering platforms. In the background, the word NO is emblazoned in a retrocomputing magnetic ink font, limned in red.

Old mainframe ads are a great source of stock for a "Computer Says No" image. And Congress being a public building, there are lots of federal (and hence public domain) images of its facade.

An altered image of Clarence Thomas, standing in gilded judicial robes on the steps of the Supreme Court. Looming over the court is a line-drawing of a business-man with a dollar-sign-emblazoned money-bag for a head.

When I wrote about the Clarence Thomas/Harlan Crow bribery scandal, it was easy to find Mr. Kjetil Ree's great image of the Supreme Court building. Thomas being a federal judge, it was easy to find a government photo of his head, but it's impossible to find an image of him in robes at a decent resolution. Luckily, there are tons of other federal judges who've been photographed in their robes! Boss Tweed with the dollar-sign head was a great stand-in for Harlan Crow (no one knows what he looks like anyway). Gilding Thomas's robes was a simple matter of superimposing a gold texture and twiddling with the layers.

A complex mandala of knobs from a modular synth. In the foreground, limned in a blue electric halo, is a man in a hi-viz vest with the head of a horse. The horse's eyes have been replaced with the sinister red eyes of HAL9000 from Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey.'

"Gig apps trap reverse centaurs in wage-stealing Skinner boxes" is one of my best titles. This is the post where I introduce the idea of "twiddling" as part of the theory of enshittification, and explain how it relates to "reverse centaurs" – people who assist machines, rather than the other way around. Finding a CC licensed modular synth was much harder than I thought, but I found Stephen Drake's image and stitched it into a mandala. Cutting out the horse's head for the reverse centaur was a lot of work (manes are a huuuuge pain in the ass), but I love how his head sits on the public domain high-viz-wearing warehouse worker's body I cut up (thanks, OSHA!). Seeing as this is an horrors-of-automation story, Cryteria's HAL9000 eyes make an appearance.

An old caricature of John D Rockefeller, depicted as a tyrant with a huge crown decorated with the icons of the industries he controls, standing atop a gilded podium. The image has been altered so that Rockefeller is toppling, pushed from below by a group of workers whose upraised fists have combined to make a single large fist.

Rockefeller's greatest contribution to our culture was inspiring many excellent unflattering caricatures. The IWW's many-fists-turning-into-one-fist image made it easy to have the collective might of workers toppling the original robber-baron.

The mastodon mascot tangled in a snarl of thread.

I link to this post explaining how to make good Mastodon threads at least once a week, so it's a good thing the graphic turned out so well. Close-cropping the threads from a public domain yarn tangle worked out great. Eugen Rochko's Mastodon logo was and is the only Affero-licensed image ever to appear on Pluralistic.

A lab-coated scientist amidst an array of chemistry equipment. His head has been replaced with a 19th-century anatomical lateral cross-section showing the inside of a bearded man's head, including one lobe of his brain. He is peering at a large flask half-full of red liquid. Inside the liquid floats the Capitol building.

I spent hours on the sofa one night painstakingly cutting up and reassembling the cover art from a science fiction pulp. I have a folder full of color-corrected, high-rez scans from an 18th century anatomy textbook, and the cross-section head-and-brain is the best of the lot.

An anatomical cutaway of a man’s head in cross-seciton. His brains have been replaced by a computer mainboard. In the center of the board is a virtuous circle diagram of three arrows pointing to one another. Each arrow features a flailing silhouetted figured whose head has been replaced by the glaring red eye of HAL 9000 from Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.’ In the center of the circle is the multicolored G Google logo.

Those old French anatomical drawings are an endless source of delight to me. Take one cross-sectioned noggin, mix in an old PC mainboard, and a vector art illo of a virtuous cycle with some of Cryteria's HAL9000 eyes and you've got a great illustration of Google's brain-worms.

A toddler playing with toy cars. The cars are Irish police cars. The toddler's head has been replaced with the menacing, glowing red eye of HAL9000 from Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey.' The toddler's knit cap is decorated with the logos for Apple, Google, Facebook and Tinder.

Ireland's privacy regulator is but a plaything in Big Tech's hand, but it's goddamned hard to find an open-access Garda car. I manually dressed some public domain car art in Garda livery, painstakingly tracing it over the panels. The (public domain) baby's knit cap really hides the seams from replacing the baby's head with HAL9000's eye.

The Washington State flag; the circular device featuring George Washington has been altered so that it is now the head of a naked man clothed in a barrel with two wide leather shoulder straps.

Naked-guy-in-a-barrel bankruptcy images feel like something you can find in an old Collier's or Punch, but I came up snake-eyes and ended up frankensteining a naked body into a barrel for the George Washington crest on the Washington State flag. It came out well, but harvesting the body parts from old muscle-beach photos left George with some really big guns. I tried five different pairs of suspenders here before just drawing in black polyhedrons with little grey dots for rivets.

A desert ruin. In the foreground is a huge Amazon box, with an EU flag in place of its shipping label. Atop the box are the feet and partial legs of an Oxymandias figure.

Illustrating Amazon's dominance over the EU coulda been easy – just stick Amazon 'A's in place of the yellow stars that form a ring on the EU flag. So I decided to riff on Plutarch's Alexander, out of lands to conquer. Rama's statue legs were nice and high-rez. I had my choice of public domain ruin images, though it was harder thank expected to find a good Amazon box as a plinth for those broken-off legs.

The interior of a luxury car. There is a dagger protruding from the steering wheel. The entertainment console has been replaced by the text 'You wouldn't download a car,' in MPAA scare-ad font. Outside of the windscreen looms the Matrix waterfall effect. Visible in the rear- and side-view mirror is the driver: the figure from Munch's 'Scream.' The screen behind the steering-wheel has been replaced by the menacing red eye of HAL9000 from Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey.'

God help me, I could not stop playing with this image of a demon-haunted IoT car. All those reflections! The knife sticking out of the steering wheel, the multiple Munsch 'Scream'ers, etc etc. The more I patchked with it, the better it got, though. This one's a banger.

An altered image of the Nuremberg rally, with ranked lines of soldiers facing a towering figure in a many-ribboned soldier's coat. He wears a high-peaked cap with a microchip in place of insignia. His head has been replaced with the menacing red eye of HAL9000 from Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey.' The sky behind him is filled with a 'code waterfall' from 'The Matrix.'

To depict a "data-driven dictatorship," I ganked elements of heavily beribboned Russian military dress uniforms, replacing the head with HAL9000's eye. I turned the foreground into the crowds from the Nuremberg rallies and filled the sky with Matrix code waterfall.

A scene out of an 11th century tome on demon-summoning called 'Compendium rarissimum totius Artis Magicae sistematisatae per celeberrimos Artis hujus Magistros. Anno 1057. Noli me tangere.' It depicts a demon tormenting two unlucky would-be demon-summoners who have dug up a grave in a graveyard. One summoner is held aloft by his hair, screaming; the other screams from inside the grave he is digging up. The scene has been altered to remove the demon's prominent, urinating penis, to add in a Tesla supercharger, and a red Tesla Model S nosing into the scene.

The best thing about analogizing DRM to demonic possession is the wealth of medieval artwork to choose from . This one comes from the 11th century 'Compendium rarissimum totius Artis Magicae sistematisatae per celeberrimos Artis hujus Magistros.' I mixed in the shiny red Tesla (working those reflections!), and a Tesla charger to make my point.

An anatomical drawing of a flayed human head; it has been altered to give it a wide-stretched mouth revealing a gadget nestled in the back of the figure's throat, connected by a probe whose two coiled wires stretch to an old fashioned electronic box. The head's eyes have been replaced by the red, menacing eye of HAL 9000 from Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey.' Behind the head is a code waterfall effect as seen in the credits of the Wachowskis' 'The Matrix.'

Yet more dividends from those old French anatomical plates: a flayed skull, a detached jaw, a quack electronic gadget, a Wachowski code waterfall and some HAL 9000 eyes and you've got a truly unsettling image of machine-compelled speech.

An animation built around an image of dark, menacing storm clouds. Peeking through the clouds is a 386 motherboard, which slowly crossfades to a Code Waterfall effect from the credit sequence of the Wachowskis' 'The Matrix.' The animation crossfades back and forth in an endless loop.

I had no idea this would work out so well, but daaaamn, crossfading between a Wachowski code waterfall and a motherboard behind a roiling thundercloud is dank af.

A mechanical credit card imprinter (AKA 'zipzap') emblazoned with a US flag Punisher logo. It is imprinting a blank credit-card slip with a red Visa card bearing the GOP logo. It sits on a weathered wooden plank table, stained a dark brown.

Of all the turkeys-voting-for-Christmas self-owns conservative culture warriors fall for, few can rival the "banning junk fees is woke" hustle. Slap a US-flag Punisher logo on and old-time card imprinter, add a GOP logo to a red credit-card blank, and then throw in a rustic barn countertop and you've got a junk-fee extracter fit for the Cracker Barrel.

An image of the Hindenburg, mid-explosion. The Verizon logo has been added to the side of the doomed zeppelin. To its left looms the person of Paul Marcarelli in his guise as Verizon's 'test man' from the 'Can you hear me now?' ads.

Putting the Verizon logo on the Hinderberg was an obvious gambit (even if I did have to mess with the flames a lot), but the cutout of Paul Marcarelli as the 'can you hear me now?' guy, desaturated and contrast-matched, made it sing.

Tux the Penguin, posed on a Matrix credit-sequence 'code waterfall.' His eyes have been replaced with the menacing red eyes of HAL 9000 from Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey.'

Note to self: Tux the Penguin is really easy to source in free/open formats! He looks great with HAL9000 eyes.

Norman Rockwell’s ‘self portrait.’ All the Rockwell faces have been replaced with HAL 9000 from Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.’ His signature has been modified with a series of rotations and extra symbols. He has ten fingers on his one visible hand.

Rockwell's self-portrait image is a classic; that made it a natural for a HAL9000-style remix about AI art. I put a bunch of time into chopping and remixing Rockwell's signature to give it that AI look, and added as many fingers as would fit on each hand.

A CCTV observation room, in which a blurry male figure watches a large bank of monitors. Each monitor is displaying a laughing clown, whose nose has been replaced with the menacing red eye of HAL 9000 from Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey.'

The West Midlands Police were kind enough to upload a high-rez of their surveillance camera control room to Flickr under a CC license (they've since deleted it), and it was the perfect frame for dozens of repeating clown images with HAL9000 red noses. This worked out great. The clown face is from a 1940s ad for novelty masks.

Three side-by-side pinball machines. The backboards have been replaced. The leftmost one is called UNION BUSTERS and features an ogrish tophatted capitalist dangling the Wall Street Charging Bull from his gloved thumb and forefinger. The middle is called CLASS WARS and features a tophatted pig atop an alarm clock whose minute-hand is a saber, on the verge of decapitating him. The right is called SLICEY BOY and features a guilltone superimposed over an interior from the Palace at Versailles. All three machines are displaying TILT messages. A Gilded Age cartoon of Roosevelt as a 'big stick' wielding trustbuster stands on the middle machine. His big stick reads 'Obey the Laws.' The wall behind the machines bears the crest of the National Labor Review Board and a framed official portrait of NLRB general counsel Jennifer Abruzzo.

I spent an absurd amount of time transforming a photo I took of three pinball machines into union-busting themed tables, pulling in a bunch of images from old Soviet propaganda art. An editorial cartoon of Teddy Roosevelt with his big stick takes center stage, while NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo's official portrait presides over the scene. I hand-made the eight-segment TILT displays.

A paint scraper on a window-sill. The blade of the scraper has been overlaid with a ‘code rain’ effect as seen in the credits of the Wachowskis’ ‘Matrix’ movies.

Working with the highest-possible rez sources makes all the difference in the world. Syvwlch's extremely high-rez paint-scraper is a gift to people writing about web-scraping, and the Matrix code waterfall mapped onto it like butter.

Two men in suits seated next to each other. The younger man is pointing at a brochure. The younger man's head has been replaced with a whole roast chicken. The older man's head has been replaced with a large beef roast. The brochure has been replaced with vintage meat ads. The background is a cropped section of of a high-magnification scan of a US $100 bill, colors faded and shifted.

This old TWA ad depicting a young man eagerly pitching an older man has incredible body-language – so much so that when I replaced their heads with raw meat, the intent and character remained intact. I often struggle for background to put behind images like this, but high-rez currency imagery, with the blown up intaglio, crushes it.

An American flag, its blue and red elements replaced with shimmering gold. Before it is a gilded version of the US Capitol Dome. From behind it loom a giant, zombified Uncle Sam and an impatient man in a business suit, starting at a sheaf of papers.

I transposed Photoshop instructions for turning a face into a zombie into Gimp instructions to make Zombie Uncle Sam. The guy looking at his watch kills me. He's from an old magazine illustration about radio broadcasting. What a face!

A young man in a smart suit is grinning at an older man seated next to him while gesturing at a brochure. The gesturing young man has been altered to give him a long Pinnocchio nose. He wears a golden poop-emoji badge on his lapel. The brochure has been replaced with the cover for Ayn Rand's 'Atlas Shrugged.' The background has been replaced with a dark, smoldering hellscape from Bosch's 'Garden of Earthly Delights.'

The mansplaining guy from the TWA ad is back, but this time he's telling a whopper. It took so much work to give him that Pinnocchio nose. Clearly, he's lying about capitalism, hence the Atlas Shrugged cover. Bosch's "Garden of Earthly Delights" makes for an excellent, public domain hellscape fit for a nonconensual pitch about the miracle of capitalism.

Hieronymus Bosch's painting The Conjurer. The head of the conjurer has been replaced with Jeff Bezos's grinning head. There's an Amazon logo on his table, and another overhead. Every hand visible in the image has had numerous extra fingers painstakingly manually added to it in the hopes of goading a moralizing scold into complaining that this image is AI generated so that I can make fun of them.

There's no better image for stories about techbros scamming rubes than Bosch's 'The Conjurer.' Throw in Jeff Bezos's head and an Amazon logo and you're off to the races. I boobytrapped this image by adding as many fingers as I could fit onto each of these figures in the hopes that someone could falsely accuse me of AI-generating this. No one did.

A hellscape from Bosch's 'Garden of Earthly Delights,' with every face replaced by a smiley emoji.

Once again, it's Bosch to the rescue. Slap a different smiley-face emoji on each of the tormented figures in 'Garden of Earthly Delights' and you've got a perfect metaphor for the 'brand safety' problem of hard news dying online because brands don't want to be associated with unpleasant things, and the news is very unpleasant indeed.

A vintage advertising image of a boy holding up a Kellogg's mini-cereal variety pack. The image has been altered: the boy's head has been replaced with a snarling gorilla wearing a helmet with a satellite dish sticking out of it; the Kellogg's wordmarks have been replaced with a distorted, lime-green version. The boy's hands have been modified to add several extra fingers to each hand. The gorilla's eyes have been altered to add extra pupils: one eye has two pupils, the other has three. The background is a mix of abstract blue shapes. The image has been modified to include shopworn tropes of 'generative AI' 'art,' as bait for moralizing scolds who live to shout at strangers for using Midjourney without e.g. reading alt text. The multilayer version of this image is available at

I really struggle to come up with images for my linkdump posts. I'm running out of ways to illustrate assortments and varieties. I got to noodling with a Kellogg's mini-cereal variety pack and I realized it was the perfect place for a vicious gorilla image I'd just found online in a WWI propaganda poster headed 'Destroy This Mad Brute.' I put so many fake AI tells in this one – extra pupils, extra fingers, a super-AI-esque Kellogg's logo.

A vintage postcard of the Federal Reserve building by night, a full moon overhead. The building is spattered in blood. In the foreground is a medieval woodcut of two doctors bleeding a patient. The patient's head has been replaced with that of Uncle Sam. The doctors' heads have been replaced with those of Larry Summers and Jerome Powell.

Bloodletting is the perfect metaphor for using rate-hikes to fight inflation. A vintage image of the Treasury, spattered with blood, makes a great backdrop. For the foreground, a medieval woodcut of bloodletting quacks – give one the head of Larry Summers, the other, Jerome Powell. For the patient, use Uncle Sam's head.

A giant robot attacking two cowering people captured in bell jars, by shooting lasers out of his eyes. He has a Google logo on his forehead. A 'Move Fast and Break Things' poster hangs on the wall behind him, and overhead is Apple's 'Think Different' wordmark.

I killed a long videoconference call slicing up an old pulp cover showing a killer robot zapping a couple of shrunken people in bell-jars. It was the ideal image to illustrate Big Tech's enshittification, especially when it was decorated with some classic tech slogans.

A giant glowing green Cartesian plane, receding into the distance. In the foreground are Tenniel's illustrations of Tweedledee and Tweedledum, pulling their hair in rage. Each has a glowing HAL9000 eye from Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey' on his belly. In the background, Tenniel's Beamish Boy confronts the Jabberwock, whose eyes have also been replaced with HAL9000's eye.

There's something meditative about manually cutting out Tenniel engravings from Alice – the Jabberwock was insane. But it was worth it for this Tron-inflected illustration using a distorted Cartesian grid to display the enormous difference between e/acc and AI doomers, and everyone else in the world.

Multilayer source images for your remixing pleasure:

(Images: Heinz Bunse, West Midlands Police, Christopher Sessums, CC BY-SA 2.0; Mike Mozart, Jesse Wagstaff, Stephen Drake, Steve Jurvetson, syvwlch, Doc Searls,, Chatham House, CC BY 2.0; Cryteria, CC BY 3.0; Mr. Kjetil Ree, Trevor Parscal, Rama, “Soldiers of Russia” Cultural Center, Russian Airborne Troops Press Service, CC BY-SA 3.0; Raimond Spekking, CC BY 4.0; Drahtlos, CC BY-SA 4.0; Eugen Rochko, Affero; modified)

A Wayback Machine banner.

This day in history (permalink)

#10yrsago Celebrate the crossword’s centenary with EFF’s NSA-themed crossword puzzle

#10yrsago Politwoops! Which US politicians deleted the largest number of social media posts in 2013?

#10yrsago US Department of Defense’s public domain archive to be privatized, locked up for ten years

#10yrsago Jaunty, Xmassy steampunk assemblage clock sculpture

#10yrsago Royal Society appoints a Wikipedian-in-Residence

#10yrsago Prisoner on literary censorship in Guantanamo Bay

#5yrsago Syracuse cops falsely accuse man of rectal dope-stashing and take him to hospital for nonconsensual anal probe; now he must pay $4600 for the procedure

#5yrsago Bryan Adams to Canadian parliament: extending the term of copyright enriches labels and other intermediaries, not artists

#5yrsago Facing unpaid overtime, cuts and austerity, French cops threaten to join Gilets Jaunes protesters

#5yrsago Congressional Democratic establishment wants to replace “Green New Deal” with a climate committee of oil money recipients

#1yrago How Apple could open its App Store without really opening its App Store

Colophon (permalink)

Today's top sources:

Currently writing:

* A Little Brother short story about DIY insulin PLANNING

* Picks and Shovels, a Martin Hench noir thriller about the heroic era of the PC. FORTHCOMING TOR BOOKS JAN 2025

* The Bezzle, a Martin Hench noir thriller novel about the prison-tech industry. FORTHCOMING TOR BOOKS FEB 2024

* Vigilant, Little Brother short story about remote invigilation. FORTHCOMING ON TOR.COM

* Spill, a Little Brother short story about pipeline protests. FORTHCOMING ON TOR.COM

Latest podcast: The Internet’s Original Sin

Upcoming appearances:

* Internet Con (Peculiar Book Club), Jan 11

Recent appearances:

* Enshittification: A Monopoly Story (Macro n Cheese)

* Science Fiction and the Future of Science

* AI needs to work with humans — not replace us (CBC IDEAS)

Latest books:

* "The Lost Cause:" a solarpunk novel of hope in the climate emergency, Tor Books (US), Head of Zeus (UK), November 2023 ( Signed, personalized copies at Dark Delicacies (

* "The Internet Con": A nonfiction book about interoperability and Big Tech (Verso) September 2023 ( Signed copies at Book Soup (

* "Red Team Blues": "A grabby, compulsive thriller that will leave you knowing more about how the world works than you did before." Tor Books Signed copies at Dark Delicacies (US): and Forbidden Planet (UK):

* "Chokepoint Capitalism: How to Beat Big Tech, Tame Big Content, and Get Artists Paid, with Rebecca Giblin", on how to unrig the markets for creative labor, Beacon Press/Scribe 2022

* "Attack Surface": The third Little Brother novel, a standalone technothriller for adults. The *Washington Post* called it "a political cyberthriller, vigorous, bold and savvy about the limits of revolution and resistance." Order signed, personalized copies from Dark Delicacies

* "How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism": an anti-monopoly pamphlet analyzing the true harms of surveillance capitalism and proposing a solution. (signed copies:

* "Little Brother/Homeland": A reissue omnibus edition with a new introduction by Edward Snowden:; personalized/signed copies here:

* "Poesy the Monster Slayer" a picture book about monsters, bedtime, gender, and kicking ass. Order here: Get a personalized, signed copy here:

Upcoming books:

* The Bezzle: a sequel to "Red Team Blues," about prison-tech and other grifts, Tor Books, February 2024

* Picks and Shovels: a sequel to "Red Team Blues," about the heroic era of the PC, Tor Books, February 2025

* Unauthorized Bread: a graphic novel adapted from my novella about refugees, toasters and DRM, FirstSecond, 2025

This work – excluding any serialized fiction – is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. That means you can use it any way you like, including commercially, provided that you attribute it to me, Cory Doctorow, and include a link to

Quotations and images are not included in this license; they are included either under a limitation or exception to copyright, or on the basis of a separate license. Please exercise caution.

How to get Pluralistic:

Blog (no ads, tracking, or data-collection):

Newsletter (no ads, tracking, or data-collection):

Mastodon (no ads, tracking, or data-collection):

Medium (no ads, paywalled):

Twitter (mass-scale, unrestricted, third-party surveillance and advertising):

Tumblr (mass-scale, unrestricted, third-party surveillance and advertising):

"When life gives you SARS, you make sarsaparilla" -Joey "Accordion Guy" DeVilla